Phases of Culture Shock

As mentioned in this week’s lecture notes, international students typically go through a “culture shock” phase upon arriving in their new temporary (or potentially permanent) country. Not only are they starting fresh in a new country but they are starting fresh at a new institution this is completely different from what they are accustomed to. Given this culture shock it seems vital that institutions should make it a top priority to provide additional or more services to these students so that not only the institution can help international students acclimate better in their new environment but also increase, promote and provide a more diverse community to enhance the educational experience.

Upon doing some research on higher education institutions and how they are accommodating international students, one college that really stood out the most was the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan provides international students with a specific orientation for them that includes multiple workshops ranging from the banking process in America, cultural differences within the classroom, driving, tax forms, certain U.S. polices such as alcohol use in the states, the numerous things that are illegal within the state/country, etc. All of these topics and presentations will be very helpful to any international student as it gets them one step closer to feeling some form of comfort in their new surroundings.

It might also be a good idea for each international student to have a mentor during their first year. It could be a student, staff, faculty, just anyone who is already familiar with the country/institution that can help them get acclimated and progress throughout their first year. Ultimately, I feel as this will again, help the student feel more comfortable and have a sense of being welcomed and wanted in their new culture. This welcoming environment can help lead to retention in international students and hopefully increase international student graduation rates.





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Alisha McCracken

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