Settling In – cultural and personal adjustment

Life in the UK may be very different to life in your country in many ways, for example:

  • The weather
  • Manners and behaviour
  • Food
  • Accommodation
  • Language

It can take some time to get used to living in the UK, especially if you have never lived outside your own country before. This process is known as cultural adjustment. Each student’s experience of UK culture is unique, and your own adjustment will depend on many different factors. It is important to recognise that language is only one aspect of UK culture – even if your English is very good, or you are a native speaker, there will be aspects of UK culture that you will need to get to know.

Many of these aspects of culture are not obvious and you can only get to know these by living here. Getting to know the way of life in the UK will be part of your learning experience.

Here are some steps you can take to assist your adjustment to UK culture:

Two students standing outside a university building talking to each other

Before you arrive:

  • Speak to friends, colleagues and other students who have lived in the UK before to get an idea about what to expect
  • Read news from the UK on-line ( for example) and read the University’s web site for information about life on campus before you arrive
  • Pack some personal belongings (such as photographs, postcards and ornaments) to make your accommodation feel more familiar.

After you arrive:

  • Keep in touch with family and friends who will keep you up to date with news from home.
  • Look into what’s on around the University. Find leisure pursuits that interest you.
  • Join some clubs and societies at the Union.
  • Make friends with other international students but don’t miss out on friendships with students from the UK.
  • Find a supplier of familiar food; many supermarkets stock food from around the world. Continental Foods Stores, located at 52 Baker Street, Stirling, sell Halal food and will order any fruit or vegetable if they do not have it in stock.
  • Make use of support services such as Student Development and Support Services and theStudents’ Union.

Do not isolate yourself. If you are feeling isolated and alone, contact the Counselling and Wellbeing team, part of the Student Development and Support Services, and staff will be happy to offer assistance and advice.

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
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