Cultural transition

It can take time to adjust to a new culture—feeling homesick or unhappy is a common reaction to moving to a different country.

Moving to a new country is a big deal, and it can feel overwhelming. You might find your emotions are a bit of a roller coaster—up one minute, down the next—and how you feel about your new life might change day to day, or even hour to hour. 

It’s different for everyone, but most people will experience some form of what’s called “culture shock”. This can include:

  • happiness and sadness at the same time
  • confusion
  • depression
  • loss of appetite
  • tiredness
  • anger
  • loneliness
  • inability to make decisions
  • wanting to return home.

The good news is that culture shock does eventually go away and you feel normal again. The most helpful thing you can do is know what to expect and understand the different stages of the adjustment process.

For more information and helpful advice, see the International Student Handbook, especially the sections called “culture shock” and “what to expect in your first Trimester”. There’s also useful information in the Victoria Student Guide, and of course you can always talk with your International Student Office (ISO) advisers.