Adjusting to Change — Cultural Adjustment

Welcome to University of Indianapolis, and Indianapolis, Indiana

Every year, University of Indianapolis welcomes many undergraduate and graduate students who are from different areas of the state, country or world. Moving to an urban mid-western city can be an adjustment for many students depending on their cultural, social and personal backgrounds.

What is cultural adjustment?
For many students, arriving in a new place can be both exciting and anxiety-producing. This may be a common reaction for any student moving to a new community. Special challenges face students who are also moving to a new and possibly radically different culture.

What is cultural shock?
Most students will experience a challenging period of adjustment after moving to a new culture or place. The language, weather, geography, food and ways of relating to others may seem strange and even inferior to those you are accustomed to. Others will go through a "honeymoon period" where they feel everything is great, almost perfect. They may begin to experience symptoms of culture shock later. It is important to realize that the signs of culture shock are normal for students in a new place, regardless of when they occur.

Cultural Shock: Signs and Symptoms

When should you consider counseling?

Important to remember: Counseling is a confidential process. Your counselor will not release any information about you to anyone, except as required by law when protecting human life is at stake.

Helpful Tips

Ways to cope with acculturation

Can someone from the United States experience a period of cultural adjustment when coming to U of I?

Yes! Many new students may be from a more rural setting, a more diverse setting, or an environment that looks and feels very different from this one.

Just because you may be from the U.S. or from Indiana does not mean that your own cultural experiences will match the ones that you may encounter in Indianapolis. Cultural adjustment and culture shock can affect students of various backgrounds - international students as well as those from the United States.

Resources on Campus

There are many groups available for students to join such as the Muslim Student Association, African Student Association and various others. To find groups, log into the My UIndy page and click on the Groups icon. Groups will be listed under various headings (academic, common interest, cultural). Click on the group you are interested in and information will appear as to how to contact group members.