12 Oct 2023 | Location: Sheffield, Nottingham

Culture shock is a normal feeling when you move to a new place. Whether you’ve moved to university from a different part of the UK or from abroad you’ll still be experiencing lots of things for the first time. How does the bus service work here? Where is the local shop? What is the nightlife like? When you first move to university this can initially seem exciting, but it can also be overwhelming and a little bit scary.

This is normal.

We’ve put together some ideas that can help you to settle in and reduce the impact of culture shock.


If the food is new to you and you’re missing food from home, why not look for a supplier of similar food? Or you could share your culture with your new flatmates to help them understand your background. 

Food can be a great way to make friends and meet new people. You might be able to find a student society at the university that is based on your culture or food. Societies can help you to connect with other students, learn something new, or discover a new skill.

Discover more about societies:

Sheffield Hallam activities

University of Nottingham activities

Familiar things

Your room is your home away from home whilst you’re staying with us, so make sure you make it feel cosy and yours. Print off pictures from home and surround yourself with familiar things so that when you’ve had a long day at university, you’ve got somewhere you feel happy and safe to come back to.


Joining a sports club is not only a great way of keeping fit and healthy but also a way of meeting new people.

You can find out more about the sports clubs at your university through the Students Union:

Sheffield Hallam sports

University of Nottingham sports

Make friends

Making friends can help you feel more connected to the place you’ve moved to. If you’re an international student making friends with others, even if their culture is different, it may help you as they’ll understand how you’re feeling.

Keep in touch with people at home

Speaking a new language all the time can be tiring. Keeping in regular contact with people at home can help you stay in touch with those you love, whilst you also get to speak a language you are more comfortable with. But it’s important to make sure this is a balance. Speaking to home too often can make you feel more isolated in your new place. If you live close to home, then going home regularly can make you feel disconnected.

Don’t forget we’re here to help too. If you have any questions, then just get in touch with the team or head to reception where they’ll be happy to help.

back to blog list