Cultural Awareness: How to adapt to the UK culture...

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Cultural Awareness

Before you travel to the UK you may want to think about how life in the UK may differ to your life at home and how you will feel when you arrive. The weather, food, language and people will be different, we know that this will be very exciting for you but it is important that you know how this may affect you.

You can get ready for this by reading about the ‘Stages of Cultural Adaptation’, and when you arrive know that we will be available to provide further advice about your move to Coventry and the UK.

Stages of Cultural Adaptation

1 - Honeymoon

When you first arrive in a new culture, everything can seem exciting and intriguing. You are taking time to enjoy your new surroundings, new friends and are feeling fine.

2 - Distress

A little later, maybe a few weeks after induction has ended, you may feel confused and anxious while you adjust to the new environment where the food, weather and general surroundings are so different from your home country, so it is completely normal if you feel like going home after the first two weeks! Just remember as you go through this to keep in touch with friends in the UK and at home, keep active, take some exercise - maybe join the Sports Centre - or come and have a chat with the International Student Support team or your tutor.

3 - Reintegration

Soon, as you get used to the UK and Coventry, you will start to feel more comfortable with your situation. You have made new friends, you know your way around campus, the food isn't too bad and you are getting used to the changeable weather in the UK. 

4 - Autonomy

After a while, you feel like you did back in your home country. You no longer feel as if you are a stranger in the UK and you have a new found independence and confidence. 


5 - Independence

Differences and similarities are valued and important. You may feel a fresh sense of energy and able to trust yourself in all kinds of situations. You enjoy life and feel you can make informed decisions.

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This is just a guide, but we hope that it helps you understand how you might feel for the few months after you arrive in the UK. Just remember to give yourself time to adjust, and don’t worry if you still feel ‘new’ at the end of the first term - this is perfectly normal.

Remember to:

  • Keep in contact with home and have familiar things around you, such as photos or ornaments
  • Make an effort to socialise, not only with people from your own country but also with new British friends. Another way to meet new people is to join some sports clubs and societies at the Students’ Union
  • Take regular exercise during this time: it is a great way to keep well mentally and physically, and also make new friends

Within about three months of arriving, you should begin to feel accustomed to life in your new surroundings, be more confident and generally feel more relaxed. However, it is completely normal to have weeks that feel good, and others when you would rather jump on the next plane home!

If you are homesick, lonely, or just worried about something, please come to see us at the International Office in the Student Centre or contact us at If you're interested in learning more about culture shock, read the information on UKCISA the website.