Culture Shock

Culture Shock:

Culture shock is the cultural adjustment process students go through when arriving in a new country that is foreign to them. Some ways to minimize culture shock:

  • Get involved with your studies
  • Join student organizations
  • Continue religious practices
  • Make new friends
  • Participate in PIC activities (Padnos International Center)
  • Stay connected with family and friends through email, skype, facebook, etc.
  • Live healthy (sleep, diet, exercise)
  • Share your feelings with family and friends
  • Share your feelings with counselors

We will discuss other methods of coping with culture shock during the mandatory orientation sessions.

Helpful Resources:

If you are having difficulty adjusting to life here at Grand Valley, the University Counseling Center is available. The University Counseling Center is a free, confidential service for all students. Offices are located in Allendale, Grand Rapids and Holland. Both personal and career counseling are available.

The Campus Recreation Center offers many different recreational activities for Grand Valley students. Their mission is to “enhance the GVSU experience through co-curricular learning, development, and recreational opportunities that promote health and well-being.” You must have your Grand Valley ID to enter as well as rent equipment.

Visit OrgSync, the Student Life website, to find and join over 300 different student organizations.

Social Life Etiquette:

 

Hospitality

While Americans are friendly, they keep a small circle of close friends.  A difficulty for people from other countries is that even if Americans include them warmly in their personal everyday lives, they do not spend a great deal of time with them. In the United States, entertaining at home and at restaurants are both common, but it is often considered friendlier to invite a person to one's home.

 

Parties

People usually introduce themselves at parties, so don't be shy in doing so.  Although you will see people sitting at parties, the majority will look for an excuse to stand up and start moving around.  When attending big parties, people are expected to move around the room, spending time with different groups.

 

Invitations

You should answer any written invitation as soon as possible. Some will have R.S.V.P. written at the bottom. This is a French abbreviation that means please reply. Such invitations require a response, even if you are not planning to attend. It is not polite to accept an invitation unless you actually plan to attend.

 

When to arrive and leave

For meals: You should arrive within five to fifteen minutes after the time indicated in the invitation. Do not arrive early, and if you are running late, make sure that you call your hosts and let them now.

For Cocktail Parties, Receptions, Teas: Invitation to formal events usually say from X hour to Y hour. This means that you can come at any time that suits you between those hours. It does not mean that you have to leave exactly at the time indicated, but you should leave within half an hour afterwards.

For a Dance: Most people arrive thirty minutes to an hour after a dance starts.

For Concerts and the Theater: Most people arrive at least ten minutes before the curtain time.

For Weddings, Funerals, Public Lectures, and Sport Events: Be there about ten minutes before the event.

 

For Business Appointments: Arrive exactly at the moment of the appointment or a few minutes earlier.

Reverse Culture Shock:

Reverse culture shock is a repetition of the culture shock process that you initially experience during your arrival to the US. Feel free to explore this guide for coping with reverse culture shock.

 

Page last modified August 5, 2013