The overall wellness and health of our students is our first priority. As a small program, we are able to provide personalized care for our students. We give considerable attention to the reality of culture shock; it takes time for students to adjust to a new society and culture. As background to this issue, we require incoming students to read Writing Across Culture: An Introduction to Study Abroad and Culture Shock prior to departure. Issues raised in the book are followed up on during Orientation Week.
Students often feel some disorientation soon after arriving in Stockholm. Parents can be surprised when they initially talk to their son/daughter and he or she sounds upset. Please know that such anxiety or homesickness is completely normal. Of course, students who feel this way will, more than usual, stay “connected’ with their friends and family via phone and social media. Ironically, constant contact may only prolong their feelings of disconnection with their new culture. Students are more likely to overcome their initial culture shock when their focus is on the new cultural environment; only then do study abroad students start to gain confidence in their ability to navigate their new society. Please encourage your son or daughter to focus on their adjustment rather than attaching themselves to their phone during the orientation period.
If you believe your son and daughter is having a difficult time adjusting, please urge him or her to reach out to our staff in Stockholm. Of course, you are also more than welcome to call us — either in Stockholm or in the U.S. — if you feel that your son or daughter is experiencing adjustment problems or needs psychological/emotional support for any reason. In such a case, we want you to know that if you call us with information that refers to the well being of your son or daughter, we cannot hold that information in confidence. Rather, we act on such information by contacting your student and discussing the issue.