Your decision to pursue your studies in the U.S. is a major one that presumably involved serious thinking and preparation for consequences that you may encounter following your decision. Adjusting and settling into any new environment–be it a new home, a new job, or a new country–is a process that takes time and energy and affects both the mind and body. The variations in climate, geography, religion, food, social mores, politics, and general way of life may make a newcomer feel somewhat “lost”, confused, or even just physically ill during the first few weeks in the new environment.
Some tips on cross-cultural adjustment are provided in this section. ISSS advisors will be willing to sit down with you and discuss any feelings of discomfort or concerns with the new environment that you may have. Should the ISSS advisor feel you are undergoing some serious adjustment problems, you may be referred to an office that can better assist you.
Programs, services and organizations that may help include:
- International Student Club (ISC): This student organization exists just for you! Members include both international and domestic students, but the club’s purpose is to celebrate the diversity of nations represented at FIU and to serve as a resource and advocate for international students on campus. Participation in this club’s events and activities is a great way to meet people from all over the world, learn new things, and hopefully find a place where you feel welcomed, relaxed and at ease in your new environment. To find out more about the International Student Club at each campus, check out their Facebook page.
- Department of Campus Life: In addition to ISC, there are many other student organizations and societies for both undergraduate and graduate students at FIU as well as other ways you can get involved and become a more active member of the university community. The Department of Campus Life (GC 2240 at MMC and WUC 122 at BBC) is the place to learn more about these organizations and to find out what’s going on and what’s new on campus. This department sponsors many special events that are free to students, so don’t miss out!
- FIU Counseling and Psychological Services Center: This office provides individual and group counseling at no additional cost to FIU students (this service is covered by the health fee). Their professional staff is always willing to meet with you to discuss any concerns you may have.
The entire FIU community welcomes you and hopes that you will feel at home soon enough. We are trying our best to reach out to you as well as to every other student enrolled in the university. However, we can only do so much. You will have to do your part as well by taking advantage of the many programs and services offered, participating in clubs, or looking into other opportunities for student involvement.
Cultural adjustment takes time and patience. It takes effort. It need not mean that you fully assimilate to the new culture and forget your own. It means learning to understand the new culture as well as holding on to yours. You will notice similarities as well as differences. Learning to adjust accordingly to the differences and to understand that there will be certain aspects you cannot change in your new environment can only serve to enhance your experiences here in the U.S.