Skip to main content

Moving to a new country and attending a new college are big changes in your life and it is normal to feel some stress from all of the changes. Being well rested, eating healthy food and getting exercises are good ways to stay healthy and enjoy your new life in Spokane. The adjustment when you arrive can be very challenging, because almost everything is different – food, water, weather, cultural interactions, your schedule, and language barriers.

What is Culture Shock?

Culture shock is how we react to a new place or surrounding. When we travel, we bring with us our own habits, beliefs and cultural comforts, which to us feels and is very normal. Culture shock is what happens when we notice how our cultural habits and norms can be very different from others.

To have the best experience and be successful, you must learn to take new experiences with an open mind and lots of patience. Experiencing some culture shock is very normal and almost everyone experiences this when they travel.

Phases of Culture Shock


Living in the USA is so great! I love everything about it – it is so exciting! This phase of excitement may last a week up to a month or two.


You miss your family and friends, and you miss the food a lot. Small things seem like big problems and you feel sad and worried, tired and confused. You are focusing on how different everything is in the USA compared to your home. In this phase you will experience home sickness and have a negative attitude toward USA.


You start to feel better, and things are getting smoother and more natural for you. You understand how to get to school and to get around Spokane, you are making friends and are experiencing new things and people. In this phase you begin to feel more comfortable in your new surroundings and daily tasks.

A second part of adjustment phase you may experience is feeling like you are missing your home again, but this time you feel more disconnected from your family and friends at home. You find it hard to go out and meet new people here and may feel sleepy and unhappy.


You are feeling better and you feel like you fit in well in all of your surroundings. You have a great network of friends, you are doing well in college and you know the city and venture out for social activities regularly.

Things to remember

  • Eat well, rest well, and stay active – even if you don’t feel up for it.

  • Explore, walk around – talk to people and make new acquaintances.

  • Relax and give yourself a break! Reducing your stress will help ease frustration, take time to relax.

  • Stay in touch with family, they know you best and support you no matter the circumstance.

  • Reach out if you are feeling sad – you have a network of people here in Spokane that are ready to help you and care about your well-being.

What should you do if you have a very personal problem that does not involve college or classes?

Talk to someone that you are comfortable with – not just a friend. Speak with an advisor or teacher, especially if you are feeling depressed. Advisors or staff can connect you with great resources to help you feel better!