Adjustment to a New Culture
Living in a new culture can be personally rewarding and provides a rare opportunity to know another society from within. But it can also be frustrating and involves certain responsibilities. The most obvious one is to adapt to the customs and expectations of the host country.
People usually experience many emotions while adapting to a foreign culture. The difficulties that you could experience can be a result of what is termed ‘culture shock’. Culture shock is inevitable in one form or another. But adjusting to a foreign culture and living through difficult times of change can be a satisfying experience, one worth the occasional discomfort and extra effort.
Phases of Cultural Adjustment
Preliminary stage: This phase includes awareness of the host culture, preparation for the journey, farewell activities.
Initial euphoria: The initial euphoria phase begins with the arrival in the new country and ends when this excitement wears off.
Irritability: During the irritability phase you will be acclimating to your setting. This can produce frustration because of the difficulties in coping with the elementary aspects of everyday life when things still appear so foreign to you. Your focus will likely turn to the differences between Lithuanian culture and your home, and these differences can be troubling. Sometimes insignificant difficulties can seem like major problems, but remember, you are going abroad to get to know the host country, its people, culture, and language.
Gradual adjustment: When you become more used to the new culture, you will slip into the gradual adjustment stage. You will begin to orient yourself. The culture will become familiar to you.
Adaptation: Eventually you will develop the ability to function in the new culture. Your sense of “foreignness” diminishes significantly. You will be more comfortable with Lithuanian culture.
Re-entry phase: The re-entry phase occurs when you return to your homeland. You will be excited about sharing your experiences, and you will realize that you have changed.
Tips to Ease Cultural Adjustment
- Do not expect to find things as you have them at home . . . for you have left your home to find things different.
- Read as much as you can about the culture, history, social customs, religions before your departure.
- Talk to other students who have gone to Lithuania to learn what problems you may encounter.
- Do not take anything too seriously . . . for an open mind is the beginning of a fine international experience.
- Ask for help when you need it . . . those who have gone before you have good advice to share.
- Adjusting to a new culture does not mean that you have to change your own values, but it is important to respect those of other people.
- When you find yourself in an unfamiliar situation, allow yourself to be curious about the way things are perceived and done in this new environment.
- A Lithuanian friend (or another international student who has been in Lithuania for several years) can be a great consultant on cultural expectations.
- Try to find an activity that you enjoy and make it part of your routine. Being physically active can help reduce your stress level.
- It is natural to feel anxious or frustrated sometimes. The key is to remind yourself that these feelings are normal and are likely to be situational and temporary.
- Remember: when life at the university gets tough, you don’t have to be alone. Don’t hesitate to contact your mentor, your study coordinator or the psychologist for international students Jevgenij at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 868631579.
What is the Purpose of Mentor Programme?
The purpose of the Mentor programme is to facilitate adaptation of the first-year students at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU) through the support of experienced students who serve as mentors.
What is a Mentor?
Each group of first-year students gets two or three mentors. A mentor is an older student who is volunteering to help their assigned group of students by answering their questions. The mentors are there so that mentees could turn to them when they need help – when they don’t know how to get to a particular class, want to receive tips on how to prepare for a certain exam, or are simply curious where to have a good lunch in Kaunas.
When and How Mentors Are Communicating With Mentees?
Mentors set up group meetings. During the first week of September mentors and mentees exchange contact information and mentors show campus to the first-year students. Mentees are able to ask mentors questions and listen to their advice on the university life. Mentors meet theirs groups twice in September, once per month in October, November, December, January and February and then they will continue keeping in regular contact with their mentees via e-mail, SMS, Facebook, Skype and etc. If a mentee wants to meet in person and mentors are available, they can also do that.
Do Mentors Have to be Always Able to Help?
Mentors are also students. If they are unable to help or are studying for an important exam, mentee can always come to the international office and ask any questions he might have. Also, if mentors don’t have sufficient knowledge to answer mentee’s questions, they will most likely direct them to the international office, too.
Would You Like to Be a Mentor?
If you want to become a mentor you can apply for this programme from the end of April. Mentors are chosen by motivational letter and by individual talk. Selected candidates are invited to participate in the mentor programme courses with a formal letter. All lectures in the mentor programme courses have to be attended. Successfully finished courses allow a student to become a mentor. In June mentors get certificate about participation in the mentor programme signed by the Dean of International Relations and Study Centre.
The coordinator of the mentor programme is Jevgenij Razgulin. Do not hesitate to write at email@example.com
Peer tutoring is an opportunity to connect with a student who has previously done well in some courses. Most tutoring is one-on-one, but occasionally tutors can also work with small groups of students.
International students often seek peer tutors in order to:
Solve problems arising during the study process
Better understand the topic taught
Prepare for an exam
Build confidence in understanding course materials
Learn in a supportive environment with a fellow student
Peer tutors receive training, understand challenges and want to help the other students to learn what they know. A peer tutor may be available to any international student who wants to get help with one or another course. It is up to the student and the tutor to make contact and set a time for tutoring. Students can meet with a tutor in a convenient public place such as a library or a dorm common area. Peer tutoring is free. After meeting the tutor should update the short online journal of tutoring session management.
Would You Like to Become a Tutor?
If you want to become a tutor you have to submit an online application at the end of April. Successful applicants are invited for the interview. Selected candidates are invited to participate in the peer tutoring programme courses. Completed courses allow a student to become a tutor. On graduation, tutors get a certificate about participation in the tutor programme signed by the LSMU Rector.
Tutoring is an excellent opportunity to build communication and teaching skills, keep up knowledge of completed coursework and help others. It can also help build resume for future jobs. The best tutors will be awarded exceptional training programmes by the International Relations and Study Centre.
If you have any questions regarding peer tutoring please write an e-mail to programme coordinator Jevgenij firstname.lastname@example.org or call him +37068631579.
If you need someone to talk, don’t wait any longer! Psychological counseling is offered to all international students studying at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, who want to talk and find solutions.
When You Might Need Consultation?
When you: want to know yourself better;
want to develop your academic and personal potential;
want to successfully adjust to a new culture;
strive to overcome your fear of failure in examinations and burnout;
want to learn stress-coping strategies;
feel lonely and depressed;
have relationship issues.
How Psychological Counseling Can Help You?
We often find it helpful to talk problems through with a friend or family member, but sometimes it doesn’t work for us and we need to talk to a professional therapist. Talking therapy gives you the chance to explore your thoughts and feelings and the effect they have on your behavior and mood. Understanding all this can help you to make positive changes by thinking or acting differently. Talking therapy can help you to take greater control of your live and improve your confidence. The counselling will begin with a single session but in most cases further sessions may be appropriate.
Consultations may be held in English, Russian and Lithuanian languages.
It is free of charge!
Why Can You Trust a Psychologist?
The psychologist is a right person to trust, because the information you provide is confidential.
How To Make an Appointment?
Do not hesitate to write or call. You can make an appointment by phone +37068631579 or e-mail: email@example.com.
The psychologist office is located at LSMU Medical Academy, Mickevičiaus 9 (the central building), room 128.