An international student’s guide to culture shock

What is culture shock?

Arriving to Mexico for my study year abroad, I suddenly found myself on the other side of the world feeling totally overwhelmed by unfamiliar places, strange university procedures and new transportation systems. I navigated my way through these experiences, confusing and amusing the locals with my minimal Spanish that also made it difficult to make friends and connect with other people. I was suffering from culture shock which, for me and many other people, is the anxiety that results from the experience of living and/ or studying in a new country with an unfamiliar culture, language and cuisine.

Culture shock and the UK

There are many weird and wonderful reasons why people experience culture shock in the UK but here are a few things that current international students at the University of Brighton told us they found different about UK life and culture:

“Shops and cafes often close around 6pm and restaurants at 11pm.”

“People often say ‘thanks’ to the bus driver when leaving the bus.”

“In the UK people use the French words for the vegetables ‘courgette’ and ‘aubergine’ but in my country and many other English-speaking countries we say ‘zucchini’ and ‘eggplant’.”

International student

Tips for surviving culture shock

As you become familiar with the university and life in the UK, the effects of culture shock should be reduced bit by bit. However, there are things you can do to help with the transition process. Here’s our top tips for surviving culture shock:

Get involved in university life

Try the Student Union for societies and events to meet new friends and learn new things



In particular, we recommend joining the International Student society on Facebook to meet students from your own country or share similar experiences with students from many different countries.

Be prepared!

Read up and research about living and studying in the UK before you arrive so you know what to expect. UKCISA is a useful website for advice and guidance for international students: https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/


Keep in contact with friends and family at home

Make sure you keep your loved ones up to date with your progress so that they can support and advise you if needed. You may find it helpful to create a group on a messanger service, such as Whatsapp, to communicate with family and friends.


Find ways to improve your level of English and academic study skills

Many international students can find the transition to a higher level of study challenging. If English is not your first language and you want to improve your level, check out the University’s International Academic Study Kit (iASK) for dates of academic English workshops and study weekends.  http://about.brighton.ac.uk/ask/internationals

Be patient and kind to yourself

Finally, remember that it takes time to adjust to a new culture and that the University’s support services are here to help you have an amazing experience living and studying in the UK.

Contact International Student Support Officers Candice Armah and Sarah Digon at: orientation@brighton.ac.uk

Further reading:

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA)

Guardian newspaper article on culture shock

Written by Shona Luton


Sarah Digon • September 11, 2017

Previous Post

Next Post


  1. kavsm May 16, 2022 - 12:28 pm Reply

    That’s so great, very useful.
    شركة تنسيق حدائق بالرياض

  2. David78 August 8, 2022 - 10:39 am Reply

    Students like me often face many problems while visiting cross culture countries. From being confused about the local culture to feeling uncomfortable in new surroundings, these challenges can be quite daunting. In this guide, you’ve revealed many interesting secrets and provided the tips. I found AssignmentHelper here which are professional enough to complete my assignment on time.

  3. Katy C. Nix August 14, 2022 - 4:27 pm Reply

    At Cold Feet Studios, we know that producing great on-screen content is a complex and demanding process. That’s why we provide you with all the tools and support you need to create fabulous content and also check green screen studio london there. From pre-production to post-production, equipment and crew hire, we got you covered! We also have years of experience in the industry, so we can help you achieve the results you’re looking for. Contact us today to learn more about our services!

  4. betmate August 17, 2022 - 6:52 am Reply

    뱃할맛이 나는곳 먹튀검증 안전한메이져

  5. waffle game August 18, 2022 - 4:46 am Reply

    I really enjoyed your article. It’s similar to the waffle game I’m playing. I was hooked on it, would you like to try it?

  6. Robert Brown August 24, 2022 - 2:39 pm Reply

    Hello! Student really need help and given that most of the papers written here are academic in nature, it is important that the supporting data biology interesting topics read more be made up of scholarly issues

  7. Adam Dever September 30, 2022 - 11:41 am Reply

    I need to encourage you to focus on assignment masters uk – it saves a great deal of time and nerves. By and by, I don’t have any idea how to compose papers and this choice suits me – proficient journalists compose excellent composed works without literary theft and on time utilizing genuine sources

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published / Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar