Greater Western Sydney has one of the most diverse cultural communities in the world. This places Western Sydney University in a unique position, providing opportunities to explore and embed a rich cultural dimension across all aspects of the University’s activity.
The University draws 77% of our students from the region and has an established history in celebrating and promoting the diversity and inclusion of many different cultures. This has been reflected in the recent Time Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings where the University was ranked first in the world overall for our commitment to sustainable development and more specifically, fourth for reducing inequalities.
The process of adjusting to a new country and culture is called 'culture shock'. Culture shock occurs gradually and takes time and effort to process and overcome.
Understanding Australia's culture, people and law can go a long way to helping you adjust. You can learn about these topics on the Australian Government's Live in Australia website.
What is culture?
Culture is the beliefs, attitudes and behaviours that we share within a particular group. It often includes language, locality, skin colour, religious beliefs, traditions, and values.
What is culture shock?
Culture shock is caused by an accumulation of stresses that occur from having to meet every day needs in an unfamiliar environment - by not having the cultural and social skills and knowledge of the culture you're in. It is not a breakdown of normal healthy psychological functioning.
Differences between your home culture and the new culture can prove challenging to navigate and naturally lead to feeling confronted or confused. It's very common to feel shy and be afraid of speaking in case you offend someone. Culture shock can be triggered by differences in everyday experiences including language, religion and religious expression, educational expectations and attitudes towards learning and even climate and food.
How will culture shock affect me?
You may find that culture shock doesn't happen straight away, but develops over time. Your reaction will depend on whether you've had previous experience with the new culture and the amount of help available.
There are a lot of different feelings you might have as a result of culture shock. Some commonly reported effects are:
Culture shock isn't permanent. The length of time it lasts for is different for everyone, but most report living in Australia-culture shock is resolved within a few months.
Where can I get help?
There are some practical things you can do to help yourself settle in Australia. There are also some free services available at Western Sydney University that you might find helpful: