Miami is unique. It has a distinctive culture that sets it apart from the rest of the world. Mirriam-Webster defines culture shock as “a sense of confusion or uncertainty sometimes with feelings of anxiety that may affect those that are exposed to a foreign culture without proper preparation.”
Going to any foreign country can be overwhelming, and coming to Miami is no exception.
Everyone goes to college with preconceived notions of what things are going to be like when they get there. Culture shock can be caused by something as simple as the university or city not being what they expected and already mentally prepared for.
Harriet Allcock, a junior exchange student from Oxford, said she experienced culture shock when coming to the University of Miami.
“One of the things that I wasn’t expecting was the beauty and nature on campus,” she said. “Since UM is in the middle of a city, I expected it to reflect that. I also expected Miami to be more like England because there are many similarities between the English and American cultures, but I have encountered some differences in being understood because we use different words for certain things.”
Students experiencing culture shock can have headaches, trouble sleeping, and irritability. They may also suffer from withdrawal.
It will get better once you are able to adjust to your new surroundings. It may be difficult at first, but adapting to the culture in Miami is very possible. To me, the best way to get over culture shock is to meet new people and embrace the new experiences. If adjusting is still posing a major challenge, there is always the counseling center where trained professionals are available to speak with you confidentially.
Culture shock can disorient you and throw you out of your comfort zone, but sometimes the best life experiences come from trying new things.
Taylor Duckett is a sophomore majoring in economics.