Marina Milidou

Marina Milidou


Counseling Psychology. Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

During the process of cultural adjustment, we are becoming more open-minded, exactly because we need to acknowledge our own cultural biases and reevaluate what is regarded in daily life as normal. We also become more culturally humble, getting to know another continent's history, its progress and adversities and its way of promoting diversity.

For example, we had to revise how everything works and looks in a house: the light switches, the shower, the weird cauldron, the oven, the air-conditioning systems and the heavy windows.

A really hard decision concerns all the different cuisine options and we go through hunger game debates every day until we choose what to eat.

We have been buying new adaptors for our European cables, we are trying to recalibrate our minds to decide when to cross the street because the traffic lights for pedestrians are no different than those for cars. In addition we try to understand how the subway line routes intertwine and how to survive the bad smells and guilty looks from the homeless people underground.

At least but not last, we use Google Map to discover grocery stores that our eyes cannot seem to recognize as supermarkets at first sight.

During this adjustment phase, there is also an intense sense of loss - that our brains can justify but our hearts cannot comprehend - for all things and people we have left behind us.

We have talked about it in class and it is a common feeling among the freshmen that moved into Philadelphia recently for their studies.

Among freshmen students, signs of the imposter syndrome, where each individual assumes that everybody else, except themselves, know what they are doing and are worthy of their accomplishments, are very real. Our professors emphasize that this anxiety is unrealistic, that we should all feel proud of being selected and that we rightly belong where we are!

Marina Milidou is a Fulbright Alumna of the 2019-2020 Graduate Student Program