Cultural Adjustment and Stress
The University of Toronto is an international and multicultural community. As an international student, you face the challenge of adjusting to life in a new cultural and educational environment. Due to the possible cultural differences between your home country and Canada — e.g., variations in climate, geography, food, social customs, politics, social network and general way of life — you will most likely need to make some cultural adjustments in order to be functional in your new environment, to feel comfortable in Canadian culture and to succeed in your program at the university. During this transition period, you may experience adjustment stress and have to deal with challenges arising from cultural differences between yourself and your family, friends or other members of the University. In such circumstances, you may become vulnerable to depression and other mental health issues.
CIE programming aims to promote cross-cultural learning and intercultural communication among all U of T students — both domestic and international. By getting involved in CIE events and programs you can improve your own intercultural skills and help your fellow students improve theirs too.
If you are having difficulty with the transition to U of T or just want to speak to someone with specialized knowledge about this type of transition, Dr. Jian P. Su at U of T's Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is a dedicated cross-cultural counsellor. Dr. Su provides individual students, groups, couples and families with professional counselling for emotional, interpersonal and/ or motivational difficulties that arise due to cross-cultural adjustment and intercultural conflicts. Dr. Su has training and expertise in cross-cultural counselling and is experienced in counselling students from diverse cultural backgrounds, whose difficulties may include one or more of the following:
- personal and family difficulties
- intercultural relationship issues
- race, ethnicity and minority issues
- cultural and sexual orientation concerns
- adjusting to Canada and university life
- marital counselling for ethnic and intercultural couples
- depression, anxiety and prolonged stress
- self-esteem and confidence concerns
- disturbances and distress resulting from trauma, abuse and assault
- grief and mourning, and other difficulties, etc.
Dr. Su can help you to recognize your personal strength, improve your coping strategies and generally assist you in your cross-cultural adjustment and personal development.
This is a confidential service available to full- and part-time students across the university. Where appropriate, referrals will be made to other specialists within or outside the university.
Counselling Contact Information:
To make an appointment with Dr. Jian P. Su, please contact U of T's Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) directly. This can be done in person or by telephone only.
CAPS contact information:
214 College Street, Main Floor, Room 111
Koffler Student Services Centre
- Community Safety Office
- Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
- Accessibility Services
- Family Care
- Health Service
- Sexual Harassment Education, Counselling and Complaint Office
- Student Crisis Response Programs
- WalkSmart Service
- Gerstein Centre
- Toronto Distress Centre
Living in Toronto means living in a city of vibrant neighbourhoods. You can imagine Toronto as a quilt with different cultures contributing to its fabric.