Have you ever come home from living abroad and felt a longing to return? Feeling a bit out of place in your home country? Believe it or not, but this is all too common for those returning home from living in a foreign country. This is often referred to as reverse culture shock. After becoming accustomed to a certain lifestyle while abroad, once you return home, your old ways may seem a bit odd or even foreign to you. What once felt easy, may feel difficult causing you to miss your life abroad. Don’t worry, we have put together a list of ways to deal with reverse culture shock.
Understand that you are different when returning home
While living abroad, so much happens to you that you are bound to change and grow as a person. You become more independent, culturally aware and your priorities may have shifted. This is completely natural and normal! This could also mean the things that were important to you or the things you enjoyed doing before you left aren’t as important anymore. By first accepting and realize this, you can make the changes to focus on the things that you now do enjoy!
Connect with people who relate to what you’re going through
Another great way to deal with reverse culture shock is to talk to other people who are either going through what you are or have been through it. This can be anyone who has lived abroad. By talking to someone about how you are feeling, it will help you to come to terms with it and they will likely have some great advice to help you deal with it. In addition, don’t lose contact with the friends you made while living and traveling abroad! They will help you to keep those memories alive!
Explore your own home
One unique way to help with reverse culture shock is to change your perspective. Rather than look at your return to your home country in a negative way, look at it as a new adventure. Think of your time back home as if it were living abroad and that you only have a few months there, so you need to make the most of it. Go to places you have never been before or try things you normally wouldn’t. By changing your perspective, you can combat reverse culture shock and end up having some great adventures in your own hometown!
Plan your next adventure
For some of us, the desire to move and live abroad never seems to go away. If that is the case for you, then another great way to deal with reverse culture shock is to plan your next move abroad. By having another adventure to look forward to, it will make living at home easier because you know that it is only for a limited amount of time.
Although reverse culture shock is extremely individual and varies from person to person, these tips help anyone dealing with it. If you are one of our previous interns feeling this way, be sure to join our exclusive facebook alumni group to connect with fellow English teachers globally!