Personal Concerns

Coming to the U.S. & Culture Shock

Our office can provide assistance with adjustment issues. All of these things may contribute to “culture shock.:” 

  • You may occasionally feel confused, unsure and uncomfortable in the United States.
  • People may have different values and new ways of doing things that seem strange to you.
  • You may feel that everything has changed, including your immediate support system of family and friends. 

To minimize the shock, you will probably want to keep in touch with family and friends back home—but it is important to also identify new sources of support.

  • Open yourself to new experiences; be prepared to learn, not only in the classroom, but in your interactions with new people everyday.
  • This short video presentation from an international student at Columbia University in the USA is a fantastic viewpoint on "Culture Shock" and the phases you go through as an international student.

U.S. Classroom Culture

Among the things that will be different, your experience in classes and in the academic setting will be different than you might be used to, at home.

  • Don’t be shy.  Speak in class as much as possible!  Here, students are expected to speak during class.
  • If you don’t understand part of the lecture, ask the professor to clarify.
  • If the professor asks the entire class a question and you know the answer, raise your hand and answer the question.
  • Don’t worry if you are not a native English speaker! 
  • If you are not comfortable asking questions during class, make sure to ask the professor your questions immediately after class or during the professor’s Office Hours*.
  • Make sure to attend all of your classes regularly

Additional Resources

  • Letters certifying enrollment and expenses or requesting postponement of military service are also provided by our office. 
    • Request for Letter of Invitation-  The Office of International Programs and Services prepares letters on behalf of Purchase students and scholars who would like to invite family members, relatives, and/or friends to visit them in United States.