Adjusting to Your New Home

It’s normal to feel stress when you’re adjusting to a new culture, climate, food, and language. Culture shock is a feeling of disorientation and anxiety that can make you feel homesick, bored, withdrawn, excessively tired, sad, irritable, and sometimes, sick. But remember—it’s normal, and as time passes, you’ll begin to feel like yourself again.

Generally there are four stages of adjustment:

  • Honeymoon stage: everything is new and exciting
  • Anxiety stage: the culture shock symptoms begin to develop and you may wonder how you will cope
  • Rejection or regression stage: you begin to encounter small problems that may overwhelm you
  • Adjustment stage: you learn to cope, accept differences, and embrace your new environment

Ease the Transition

There are a lot of things that you can do to make the adjustment easier.

Here are a few to get you started:

  • Attend your orientation! You’ll make new friends and adjust faster.
  • Remember that you aren’t alone. There are other students feeling the same way.
  • Learn as much as you can about Canada.
  • Participate in campus life. Join a student society or a sports team.
  • Be positive. If something seems strange, difficult, confusing, or threatening, try to find a positive reason for why it might be happening. The International Student Centre can direct you to a huge range of student supports at Saint Mary’s.
  • Eat well and get lots of exercise.
  • Try to find someone you can talk to. Perhaps a Canadian student, someone who has lived here for a long time, an international student advisor, or the residence assistant.

You’re never alone at Saint Mary’s. Contact the International Student Centre for support.