Everyone who moves to another country will experience some form of culture shock. Like jet lag, it is almost impossible to avoid but subsides over time. Culture shock affects each student differently, but it is common to feel tired, homesick, nervous, or unhappy for a short period of time.
Counseling Services employs trained counselors as a resource for students-- you can stop by even if you just need someone to talk to. Additionally, many international students find the other international students to be good resources as they have also experienced culture shock.
You can expect culture shock and your mood to come and go in a cycle. The best way to cope is to stay active, talk with others about what you are feeling, and be patient. In addition to the Elon counselors, feel free to come and talk to the international student advisors in the GEC.
The culture of the U.S. university classroom is probably different from university classrooms in your home country. Each class will provide you with a syllabus describing the expectations of the professor, your assignments, and your homework. You will be expected to attend EVERY class. If you can not attend a class because you are sick, or for another reason, you should contact your professor in advance by email and bring proof from Health Services if necessary. The professor’s email address will be on the syllabus.
Most professors will expect the students to participate in the class. Very few classes are simply lecture and note-taking, so be ready to speak in class. You may also be asked to work in a group of classmates on a project. Professors will also have specific office hours indicated on the syllabus, and they expect you to come and see them if you have any questions. Faculty are very happy to meet with students and help them, so do not hesitate to contact your professors at their offices.
You will find the faculty, staff, and students of Elon to be open, welcoming, and typically informal. Students are very active and involved in many activities outside of the classroom. We hope you will be involved as well. There are many clubs and organizations that provide opportunities to meet students with interests similar to yours. There are opportunities to participate in sports or to watch the University’s sports teams compete against other universities. The best way to learn about U.S. culture and to adjust to Elon is to be active and to participate in a few of the many opportunities available. We also hope that you will share your culture with the Elon community. We think you will find your classmates and the university community are very interested in learning from you about your home and culture.
Both in the U.S. and at Elon it is expected that those who need assistance will ask for it. If you have a question, are lost, don't feel well, or don’t understand something, ask someone to help you. Elon University offers many student support services. American students will use these services, and you should do the same. Some of these services can be found on the Quick Links page.