Culture Shock! What to Do If You Find Yourself in Unfamiliar Territory at School

For some students, college is a new world from where they come from—unfamiliar weather, challenging living situations and, yes, even different cultures.

Whether your school has a variety of different types of cultures or not, chances are, you’re going to run into at least one person who may seem unconventional from you.

Not sure how to approach them? Here’s some helpful steps you can take on how to approach students of unfamiliar backgrounds:

1. Decipher communication.

Learning how to communicate with people of other cultural backgrounds is vital. This can help you understand their values and attitudes style. What may humor you can be offensive to someone else. So talk to one another and find out what’s appropriate and what’s not.

2. Approach the person as a person, not a stereotype.

Morality can teach us how to befriend people based on their personalities not on their cultural stereotypes. Whether their culture upholds positive or negative cliches, people are capable of exceeding them.

3. Generate empathy.

Show the person that you are capable of understanding how they feel and how they view certain things. Imagine yourself as a translator and try to help the other person comprehend the things that they don’t understand.

4. Eliminate all assumptions.

Certain gestures may come off as unfriendly. Don’t assume that the person is trying to disrespect you. After all, “yes” can mean “no” and vice versa.

Remember, we all come from different cultures. If we are willing to expand ourselves, in the long run, we can be beneficial to one another. Besides, who knows what kind of opportunities can come out of befriending someone different.

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