Culture shock

Studying abroad is an enriching, exciting experience, but the experience of coming to a new culture can be overwhelming.

Aerial photograph of students in Clement House

'Culture shock' is a popular term used to describe the impact of moving from a familiar culture to one that is unfamiliar. Here are some ways to deal with it:

  • Remember that culture shock is a normal experience and that it should pass.
  • Prepare yourself for your new environment by doing some research in advance.  For example, Prepare for Success offers activity-based learning resources to help you learn more about academic life in the UK.
  • Keep in touch with your family and friends and keep familiar things around you that have personal meaning, such as photos.
  • Find a supplier of familiar food. For details of local shops try searching on TimeOut London.
  • Join a club or society with the LSE Students' Union. This is a great way to make new friends - from your own culture and others.
  • Take advantage of the Welcome events provided by the School and by your department at the beginning of the academic year and LSE LIFE throughout the year. 
  • Visit International Students House (ISH) - a social centre for overseas students situated in central London.  ISH offer a Christmas programme for students staying in London over the Christmas holiday.
  • Link with a faith community if appropriate. The Faith Centre may able to put you in touch with a local place of worship or religious community and there are several religious student societies.
  • Meet other International Students from universities, colleges or language schools in the London area for monthly meetings and social events. Try social events, such as those organised by Meet Up.
  • Get involved in HOST UK, a volunteer organisation of UK residents who welcome adult international students into their homes for weekend or Christmas visits. HOST volunteers give you insight into UK life, while they learn more about the cultures of their guests. Please note that there is a joining fee and you will need to cover your own travel costs.

If culture shock persists

Don't forget that if feelings of isolation or disorientation persist, or if you are feeling unwell, there are people here who can help you. We want you to get the most out your time here and to enjoy the experience.

Tell someone how you are feeling and make use of the wealth of support services that are available to you.

The Students' Union also has an International Students Officer. You can email them at

Contact us


Telephone +44 (0) 20 7955 6167



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Student Services Centre, (Ground Floor) Old Building, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE