Foreign exchange students
go through stages of cultural adjustment. The level of the curve and the length of the cycle vary, but
adjustment tends to follow a general pattern.
Stage 1: How exciting! The recently arrived Student is the center of
attention and excited about everything.
Stage 2: The Thrill Is Gone. Routine sets in,
the "guest" relationship is over, and the
hard work of adjustment begins.
Stage 3: How Can They Live Like
That? Letters from home seem slow to arrive, the food is so different,
and homesickness sets in. Sometimes the Student feels "our
ways are better" or "Iím tired of trying." This is normal
Stage 4: Letís Get On With It.
Spring arrives and they want to make the most of
the time remaining. The Student becomes more accommodating, enjoys new
social relationships, and no longer feels threatened with respect to his or her
Stage 5: I Feel "At Home." Adjustment has taken place and
This final stage is not reached by all students, but for some they begin to
feel and act "like an American".