Reverse Culture Shock
When you first arrived in your host country for your study abroad experience, you may have experienced culture shock, and there are all sorts of ways to understand and deal with this. However, what some of TALK international students are not prepared for is a similar experience when they return home after a period of studying abroad, i.e. reverse culture shock. Just like culture shock, there are stages of reverse culture shock that international students may experience when they return home.
Stages of Reverse Culture Shock
- Everyone is excited to see you. Life is great.
- You are happy to see familiar faces, places, and everyone that you have missed during your time away.
Reverse Culture Shock Sets In
- You may become depressed, sad, critical of your home, angry, and suddenly feel a kind of reverse homesickness.
- You may feel confusion and want desperately to return to your host country.
- You will start to replace any negative feelings towards your home country and people with positive feelings
- You will find that you feel at ease with your surroundings, and become more settled as the memories and feelings associated with your host country – although still with you – start to fade.
Ways Reverse Culture Shock can Affect International Students
Extreme Jet Lag – When you travel back to your home and a different time zone, you may experience jet lag, especially when you have been away for a long period of time.
Surprise at What Has and Hasn’t Changed – Because you have been away for a long period of time, you may have all sorts of different expectations of how life is at home. Because of this, things about home and what has and hasn’t changed may surprise and possibly disappoint you.
Feeling Misunderstood – Because of the period of time you have spent in another country, you would have learnt new ways to look at life, new mannerisms, new attitudes that will be obvious to those around you. As a result of this change that you have undergone, you might feel misunderstood by your old friends or family. Keep in mind that the people around you haven’t been to your host country before. Over time this feeling of being different or misunderstood will pass as you learn how communicate your adventures in a new and exciting way but which others understand.