Feeling Alone In A Crowd
You thought you’d be so excited, relieved, and grateful to be in your home country—and you are… sort of. Return from ESL study abroad often comes with a reorientation period known as “reverse culture shock”. Though your family and friends are celebrating having you home, and you’re smiling and laughing along, it can all somehow feel off. Your jokes don’t land. Your stories are met with a tepid response. It just seems like no one gets you anymore.
You’re Not Alone—You’re More Aware
This sense of “otherness” can lead to depression. You miss the friends you made while studying English abroad. AND, oddly enough, your native country feels foreign to you. You miss the US! It’s hard to share the memories of the good times you had in the US with your new friends. No one back home wants to hear it, and worse yet, people think you’re judging them or criticizing your own culture. That’s not your intention, but… maybe you are?
It’s natural to compare places, cultures, customs, and social mores after you’ve experienced a wider view of the world. You’re a different person than the one who boarded the plane to study ESL abroad. You’re going to question how this new you fits in back home.
“It’s a funny thing about comin’ home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You’ll realize that what’s changed is you.”
When no one back home gets you, reach out to the friends you made during ESL abroad, especially the other international students. They’ll be feeling just the way you do, and will be bursting at the seams to share memories of the good times you all shared. Time will take care of the fit in your native country, or it won’t. Maybe the new you is a globetrotter. Who knows? Take the time to figure it out, and rest assured there’s always a place for you at home.