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Cultural Adjustment Abroad

Participating in an education abroad program can be life changing and exciting, but it can also be stressful and challenging at times.

Being abroad will be an adjustment for most students as they will be experiencing a new location, new culture, and perhaps a new language. All students are susceptible to varying levels of culture shock, regardless of maturity level, personality type, previous travel experience abroad, or knowledge of their host country. This feeling of culture shock is a normal part of the study abroad process.

If you student contacts you from abroad and is upset or unhappy, it may worry you, as you feel relatively powerless to help them. To assist your student in navigating challenges, encourage your student to rely on the resources and support network available, both at home and abroad. Questions, concerns, and problems can be addressed more quickly if the student goes directly to on-site staff. Remind your student that s/he is not alone and not to be ashamed to ask for help when it is needed. Students can experience unparalleled personal growth when challenged abroad, especially when the right level of support is leveraged. A little pep talk from a family member can go a long way in helping a student remember the value of pursuing an education abroad experience and why it is worth the extra effort to persevere.

If at any time you feel that your student is in a genuinely bad situation, please contact Purchase College’s Office for Global Education (OGE) immediately at (914) 251-6032. After business hours or on weekends, please call the Purchase College University Police at (914) 251-6900; they will get you in touch with a member of our OGE office or the administration.