Settling in a new environment is a process that takes time and energy and affects the mind and body. Due to variations in eating habits, climate, religion, social mores, political thoughts, and basic life styles, it is common for a newcomer, like you, to experience “culture shock” when adjusting to a new environment, a common phenomenon characterised by the feeling of being lost, confusion, home-sick, or even physical illness.
UM will assist you in different ways to adjust your mentality and adapt to the new environment and university life. However, the adjustment takes time, the process and duration of which vary from person to person. It is important that you open up yourself, adopt a positive attitude, and be brave to take the first step to try out new experiences and challenges. We hope that you can adjust to the university life within a short period of time and enjoy all the new experiences that UM brings you.
Probably one of the main reasons why you have decided to be a student in a foreign place is that you want to experience something different. Regardless of your background, Macao will inevitably be a different environment from what you were used to. When you encounter cultural differences, remember that this is one of the goals for studying abroad. Having an open mind and willingness to meet and embrace these differences will make your time in Macao a successful and unique experience.
Try to participate actively in school activities. The Student Affairs Office, Students’ Union, and its sub-organisations organise various programmes and activities regularly throughout the year. The more activities you get involved in, the more you will learn about Macao and its culture, and the quicker you will make friends and feel accepted, enriching your university life.
People in Macao might sometimes seem a bit withdrawn; yet, many of them actually enjoy making new friends. Therefore, be friendly and active. If others seem reserved, give them a little time. They will eventually become more open to you. It may feel strange and awkward at the beginning, but the rewards of friendship and new experiences will make your effort worthwhile.
Though you may already be very open-minded and willing to make new friends, it is not uncommon that you may still feel moody, irritable, lonely, and even sad while you are adjusting to a new environment. When you start feeling perturbed or uneasy, remind yourself of these important points:
- These feelings are normal reactions and can be overcome;
- This is part of the new experiences that you have been looking forward to;
- Do not blame anyone for these feelings, not even yourself;
- These feelings will change as each day brings new experiences;
- Try to get sufficient rest, nutrition, and exercise;
- Plan things that you enjoy doing and invite new friends to join you;
- DO NOT ignore these feelings, but talk to your friends, classmates, or university staff.
The Psychological Counselling Centre offers counselling service to students to help them work through the challenges of cultural adjustment as well as other life issues. The service is free of charge and confidential. You are always welcome to make appointments with our psychological counsellors.
Student Counselling Section
Student Affairs Office
Location: Room 2009, 2/F, Student Activity Centre (E31)
Tel.: 8822 4681