Cultural Adjustment

Cultural adjustment is a process that happens over a long period of time. The process is different for different people, but there are certain stages to the process that most people go through as they adjust to a new culture. Learn more about Cultural Adjustment in the United States below.

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Cultural Adjustment in the United States

When you move to the United States, you may feel excited and nervous. As you settle into your new life in the United States, you will feel different phases of adjustment.  

There are four phases of cultural adjustment. The length and intensity of each phase are different. You may experience the same phase more than once or skip a phase. 

Honeymoon phase: You feel excited and happy about your life in the U.S. 

Culture shock phase: You feel worried and confused as you navigate a new and different community. 

Adjustment phase: You feel more stable in your new community. You are comfortable with everyday activities.   

Mastery phase: You feel more comfortable with your new life and culture. You still may have difficult periods, but you have a sense of belonging. 

Cultural Adjustment

As you adjust to your new life in the United States, use these tips to help you cope with stress and culture shock.

  • Learn English to help you find a job, meet new people, and make friends. 
  • Find connections with others by going to community events, playing sports, or volunteering. 
  • Practice and share your cultural traditions. For example, cooking meals from your culture, practicing your religious beliefs, or playing music. 
  • Recognize that family dynamics may change. For example, children may adjust faster. Be patient and communicate openly and honestly with your family members. 
  • Learn some American social norms. For example, did you know that most Americans believe eye contact during a job interview shows respect?  
  • Be tolerant and respectful. In the United States, there are different races, religious views, cultures, and sexual orientations. It’s important to respect others, even if they are different than you.  

It’s important to remember that cultural adjustment is a process. It will take time to adjust to life in your new community. If you need more help, ask your Resettlement Agency.  

Cultural Adjustment: Self sufficiency and self-advocacy
Cultural Adjustment: honeymoon phase

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