Culture Shock

Culture Shock: Adjusting to Life in the United States

Now that you are finally here in the U.S. attending classes, making new friends and learning about the American culture, you are probably noticing a lot of differences. These differences can be good and bad, and at first you may love everything about your new life abroad. However, it is common for students to feel “culture shock” when moving to and living in a new country.

What is culture shock?

When moving to a new country everything is unfamiliar; from the weather, language and food, to the fashion, values, and customs. Culture shock is a normal part of study abroad, and shows that you are aware of and experiencing the differences between your home country and that of the American culture. Some students go through culture shock and others may not experience these differences, everyone adjusts to new environments and culture in their own ways.

There are four stages when adapting to a new culture. Some people go through the process quicker and with less stress, while others go through the stages slower and find it difficult to adjust to the differences.

Stage I: The Honeymoon – Initial euphoria and excitement

You feel you are able to handle anything, some characteristics include:

  • Excitement about new sights and surroundings.
  • Engaging in tourist-like activities in the host culture.
  • Intrigue with both similarities and differences between the American culture and your home culture.
  • Lots of interest in learning, very motivated and open-minded.

 Stage II: Anxiety | Culture shock – Frustration and hostility towards differences

The novelty of the American culture has worn off. Your feelings in this stage may include:

  • A focus on the differences between your new culture and your home culture. Stereotypes and prejudices surface.
  • Small issues feel like major catastrophes; you become overly stressed out by small problems and feel helpless and frustrated.
  • Homesickness; missing your family and friends from home.

Stage III: Adjusting – Finding humor and perspective

In this stage, you decide to make the most of your experience. You may also have the following reactions:

  • Increased familiarity with the new culture, its logic and values.
  • Adjustment gradually occurs.
  • A return of your sense of humor about differences.
  • Recognition that you like some parts of the American culture better than that of your home country.
  • Deeper learning about life abroad.
  • Questioning of your previous assumptions about the world.

Stage IV: Acceptance | “Feeling at Home” – Adaptation

You now exhibit a new-found appreciate towards certain aspects of the new culture, and critique others. Common reactions at this stage include:

  • Feeling at home in the “foreign” country.
  • Feeling a sense of understanding and association with the new culture.
  • No longer being negatively affected by differences in culture.
  • Living, studying and working to your full potential.
  • Feeling satisfaction in adjusting and surviving a semester abroad.

Ways to Diminish Feelings of Culture Shock:

  • Make plans for keeping in touch with family and friends. Having a set “date” to talk to friends and family can help you get through a difficult week.
  • Find excitement and enjoyment in sharing your experiences. Update your Facebook with all your exciting adventures so that you can share your stories and excitement about being abroad.
  • Dive” into your host culture fully and wholeheartedly. There is no better way to adjust than to dive right in!
  • Keep an open mind; it is natural to have preconceived ideas and beliefs that come into question while abroad. You will learn much more if you keep an open mind to new experiences.
  • Join a sports team or athletic activity! Joining a team sport helps you meet new people and exercising in general boosts your bodies’ happiness.
  • Get to know other student at Millersville, join a club or organization and become involved on campus
  • Make a local friend with whom you can discuss your frustrations and encounters with, share the good stories and the bad.
  • Learn as much as you can about your host culture. The more you know, the more you appreciate the differences and similarities.
  • Keep a journal. Record your impressions of new experiences and the transformations that are occurring within you. You will have something fun to read later in life to reflect on your time abroad!

Share your Mother Tongue with MU Students

Do you want to share stories about your home culture? Would you like to meet current Millersville students studying French, German or Spanish? Are you interested in joining one of our language clubs?

Then consider attending one of the language club meetings!

Millersville University offers three languages; French, German and Spanish, and each department has their own student-run club for interested students. The language clubs are entirely organized by students, so the students decide what they want to talk about and do each week. This means that you can participate and give input as well, or just share stories about your local history and culture!

Club members include students of all language levels, from beginners just learning the language, to students that are near fluent. Clubs meet every week and plan events that allow other Millersville students to participate, such as having movie nights that show foreign films, cooking traditional food and teaching students about the culture and traditions of that country, and much more.

Language students are always interested in meeting the new international students, so why not stop by and say hello, introduce yourself, and make new friends!

French Club Meeting Times:

When: 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month at 12:30-1:00pm

Where: McComsey Hall, room 206

Special Events:  French films (with English subtitles) are shown in McComsey Hall 201 from 5 until 7 p.m.

    • September 17   Black Shack Alley
    • October 8 The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
    • October 29 The Elegance of the Hedgehog
    • November 19  Jean de Florette

Facebook Page:

Spanish Club meeting Times:

When: Wednesday, September 9th at 4 pm. This is the first meeting of the semester.

Where: McComsey Hall, room 253

German Club Meeting Times:

When: Tuesdays from 12:15 – 1:00pm.

Where: McComsey, room 236.

Special Events: Oktoberfest Celebration

    • Saturday, October 19th. More details to come.


Check here for more information:

Getting Involved on Campus

Are you interested in getting involved on campus? Want to join a sports team or be a part of a club?

Great because we want YOU to attend Organization Outbreak!

What is Organization Outbreak? Only the biggest gathering of campus clubs and organizations of the year! Our campus has a selection of 150+ student organizations to choose from that let you “Get Involved” with and explore what our campus has to offer.

The clubs and organizations range from academic and professional to spirituality focused and multicultural, allowing you to explore your interests and become involved with your fellow students. Joining a campus club or organization is a great way to meet Millersville students that share common interests and make lifelong friends. No matter what your interests are, there is a student organization for YOU.

If you would like to learn more about the clubs Millersville has to offer before the event, check out our Get Involved website where you can browse the list of clubs and learn a little more about what they are all about. Visit or click the ‘Get Involved’ Link on the right side of this page to learn more.

Do you play soccer? Are you interested in learning how to play American football? Maybe you like to play volleyball or run?

What better way to meet new friends and have fun being active than joining a club sport or participating in Millersville Intramural sports. Come to Organization Outbreak and meet some of the students that run our Millersville Intramural and Club Sports here on campus and learn how you can join a team or create your own team today!

If you missed the event on September 3rd, don’t worry! Head on over to Organization Outbreak at the Student Memorial Center (SMC) on Thursday, September 16th from 5:00pm to 7:00pm to see how you can join. The event will be held outside the SMC on the Promenade, and inside the SMC in the MPR room if it rains.

Social Security Number

Social Security/ On-campus Employment Workshop


Monday, September 14th 9:00 am – 10:00 am

 Tuesday, September 15th 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Social Security Runs:

Must attend one of the workshops

Thursday, September 17th 10:00 am | 2:00 pm (These times may  change)

Wednesday, September 23rd Time TBD

Friday, September 25th Time TBD


Getting a Social Security Number

In order to be authorized to work, receive money for work, pay taxes, get a driver’s license, or open up a bank account at certain banks in the United States, you need a Social Security number.

Social Security Number also known as a Tax Identification Number is a code the the government uses to track and report on a person’s wages. Although many companies and services may ask you to give your Social Security number, you generally aren’t required to provide one if you don’t have to. For some services, a Social Security number is required.

How do I get a Social Security Number? 

If you want to get a Social Security number please attend one of our workshops (dates listed above). At the workshop you will get more detailed information and instructions. At the workshop you will also sign up for a Social Security Run later that week. The Office of Global Education will drive students to the Social Security Office during certain times. This process can take a long time depending on how busy the office is. Please sign up for a time when you are available for at least 2.5 hours (it may not take the whole 2.5 hours).

What do I need to bring with me to the Social Security Office? 

Please bring with you:

  • The Application for a Social  Security Card( Form 22-5) – This will be given to you during the workshop.
  • Two original documents proving your identity, immigration status, age
    • Passport or foreign birth certificate
    • I-20
    • I-94
  • Sponsorship letter from The Office of Global Education – This will be given to you.


Fall 15 Orientation

Wednesday, August 19th: Arrival Day!

Get your MU ID Card – available until 2:30 pm

Check-in for on-campus residents

6:35 pm – Welcome Dinner (Bolger Conference Center, University Room)

Thursday, August 20th: Bring your passport, SEVIS I-20 and visa

8:30 am – Breakfast with the Office of Global Education

9:15 am – University Student Code of Conduct

10:30 am – Paperwork and Immigration Documents

11:00 am – Academic Adjustment at MU

12:30 pm – Lunch & Walking Tour of Campus

2:00 pm – Meal Plans & How They Work

2:30 pm – Health Services and Immunization Process

3:00 pm – Wal-Mart and Park City Mall  – Shopping for Necessities

8:30 pm – First Residence Hall Meeting (Mandatory for on-campus students)

9:30 pm – Residence Hall Socials (on-campus students only)

Friday, August 21stBring your passport, SEVIS I-20 and visa

7:30 am – Breakfast at the Upper Deck in Gordinier (Off-campus students breakfast on your own)

8:15 am – Undergraduate Degree Student Department Meetings

9:00 am – Get your MU ID Card if you did not get it on Wednesday

10:15 am – Professor and Staff, Meet and Greet

11:30 am – Technology and Printing at MU

12:30 pm – MU Campus Information Fair and Lunch

1:45 pm – Library Research and Resources

3:00 pm – Life at and Around MU

– Immigration Regulations, On Campus Employment, and other F-1 Visa Issues

4:45 pm – Student Social Activities – Fast Friends, Marauder Treasure Hunt, Pizza Party

Saturday, August 22nd:

10:30 am – Depart for Downtown Lancaster

1:00 pm – Lunch at Good N’ Plenty Restaurant

2:30 pm – Amish Tour

8:00 pm – Optional Evening Activities at SMC, Marauder Courts, and MU Pond

9:30 pm – Glow Party at SMC, MPR

Sunday, August 23rd:

2:00 pm – 6:00 pm – Quad Fest at Brooks Field




Welcome to all new and returning international students at Millersville University — we are glad you are here. We hope you had a good summer, and that you are looking forward to the new fall semester—I know we are!

This web-blog is the Office of Global Education’s International Student Newsletter. The Global Ed E-Blast is a weekly news blog for international students (and their families) and friends. The newsletter gives an overview about what’s happening in the University, in the local area of Millersville and Lancaster, and other useful information that will help international students adjust to American college life.

We encourage you to stop by our office if you are experiencing any issues with classes, if you want tips on getting involved at MU, and even just to say Hello! We hope you enjoy your time at Millersville and we look forward to seeing you at our regular social activities this semester.

International Student News

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