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3 Ways to Ease Culture Shock

Tips from an international student graduating from UMKC
A group of international students from different countries sit on steps on the UMKC campus.

Culture shock can be hard. It’s okay! I have been through it too, and you will survive.

Personally, the best thing for me has been to keep an open mind and enjoy every part of the ride. Here are three additional tips that helped me transition to life in the U.S. and Kansas City.

1. Get to know your sports.

Most Americans are sports fans. Don’t be surprised to see your peers walking around in their jerseys and having deep conversations when it's football, soccer or baseball season. Kansas City has world-class teams, so join in and have some fun!

I enjoy Kansas City Royals baseball games a lot. They play at Kauffman Stadium, which is a must see, and the games are exceptional; not to mention they won the 2015 World Series and got the city going crazy. The baseball season begins late March and goes until October.

Sporting Kansas City is the major-league soccer team. Their fans go crazy during the games, which creates a really exciting atmosphere. If you have time, you can spend the afternoon at The Legends outlets and then cross the street for the game. Soccer season goes from March until December.

Did you know Kansas City has the loudest stadium crowd in the world? Arrowhead Stadium, the home of the Kansas City Chiefs (American football) has claimed those bragging rights. You seriously can’t miss this—gear up and get ready to make some noise! Football season begins in September and playoffs go until February. In the 2018 season, the Chiefs were really close to making it to the Super Bowl, so you your fellow fans are very excited!    

2. Diversity is everywhere.

If you are concerned about being the only “different” one, and if you are thinking you won’t fit in, believe me, it most likely will not happen. The U.S. has people from a variety of backgrounds, which leads to different beliefs, attitudes, customs and traditions. In my time here, I have met people from all over the world, and that has probably been the most amazing part of my time here in the U.S. I have truly appreciated spending time with people who have taught me new customs, traditions and even a new language. Have an open mind all the time!

3. Make your solo debut.

Being self-sufficient is highly valued in the U.S. It is very common that people leave their homes and become independent after they turn 18 years old. A lot of students you will meet will have internships during their studies. Take advantage of the opportunities, because — let me tell you — there are a lot! I have had two internships that have been truly exceptional and allowed me to put into practice skills learned in the classroom. I highly encourage you to consider these opportunities!

This is another great approach to the American culture: learn a bit more than simply life as a student. I learned the hard way to do laundry, clean, cook and even put air in my tires. It is a learning process, so when you make a mistake, get a good laugh and learn from it. And, hey, don’t worry too much. These days we have the ease of Google and YouTube tutorials for just about everything—so learning can’t be THAT bad … right?

Published: Jun 6, 2019