Social Life in the US

Adapting to a new culture can be exciting and challenging. International students not only adapt to the culture of the United States, but also to the culture of New York City and even more specifically, to the culture of Morningside Heights and Barnard College. Anticipating culture shock and preparing for ways to acclimate to your new home are essential steps to getting the most out of your Barnard experience. Here are some resources and basic information to help international students not only survive, but thrive as they transition to their new home.

Identifying Culture Shock

Culture shock is inevitable. How an international student prepares for culture shock and reacts to it can affect her cultural and academic success. This video shows one student's response to life in a US university.


Responding to Culture Shock

In this two-part presentation, a Columbia Peer Advisor discusses some common misunderstandings international students face when they are adjusting to a new city, a new school, a new phase of life, and a new culture - all at the same time! The presentation includes some advice on how to handle culture shock

and adjust to your new circumstances. Barnard international students can also take advantage of the resources on campus - talk to an adviser from the Office of International and Intercultural Student Programs (OIIS) or make an appointment through the Furman Counseling Center.


Riding the Subway

The New York City subway system can be intimidating at first, but navigating becomes easier when you are equipped with proper tools. To begin with, the MTA website has information on delays, directions, buses and trains. The video on the left has basic navigation and etiquette tips for riding the subway.


Making Friends

One of the best ways to make the most of your studies abroad is to make friends with students from the local culture. Making friends across cultures can seem daunting, but many times, it is simply a matter of understanding some basic social cues. The video on the left offers some simple tips related to common issues international students face when making friends with people in the United States. Of course, it is important to remember that everyone has unique ways of communicating, and this video offers some general suggestions for getting to know new friends in the US.

Get Involved on Campus

There are many ways to get involved on campus, both at Barnard and Columbia. Get involved with the Student Government Association (SGA) to get to know other students of all classes. Keep up-to-date with the McIntosh Activities Council (McAC) for fun events on campus, like Midnight Breakfast and Big Sub. Volunteer on campus or around NYC, and make new friends while staying healthy through organized sports and intramurals. There are also hundreds of clubs and organizations related to various topics of interest, including a host of Cultural Clubs and Organizations that represent issues and groups from all around the world. If you have an interest that is not represented yet, establish a new club!