5 Tips to Manage Reverse Culture Shock
Many International Student alumni returning home face a significant challenge—learning how to re-adjust to their home country. Here are our tips for managing reverse culture shock.
Not a case of better or worse
It is not a matter of one country being better than the other in any way. It’s a matter of expectations—or lack of them, in fact!
Reverse culture shock as experienced when returning to a place that one expects to be home but actually is no longer, is far subtler, and therefore, more difficult to manage than outbound shock precisely because it is unexpected and unanticipated,’ Dean Foster, founder and president of DFA Intercultural Global Solutions, said.
When you packed your bags and left for your new home, you knew life there would probably be very different. You expected a certain degree of culture shock. On `re-entry’ to your home country, that expectation disappears.
And as an alumni returning you’d probably never anticipated that certain type of behaviours and cultural patterns that once appeared to be normal and acceptable, would now seem foreign and difficult to live with.
Reverse culture shock is unexpected, and it can cause severe feelings of alienation and frustration.
Managing reverse culture shock
Here are some ideas to manage this reverse culture shock on re-entry into your home country:
- Share your thoughts with others. While it might feel like you are alone in your new environment, you are in fact, surrounded by people who care. Try to express your honest feelings in person or even in writing if that works better for you. Why not start a blog to share what you are going through? You’d be surprised how many people as experiencing exactly the same!
- Don’t give up your new `you’ to fit in. Erasing all those experiences and memories lived while overseas in order to fit right in would be equal to erasing your new cultural baggage for good. You don’t have to, and others don’t expect that of you. Be flexible and patient, just as you were when you came to your new home.
- Reconnect with family and friends. Try to recognise that everyone has moved on with their lives. Seek to understand each other and share the experiences that have enriched your lives while you were apart.
- Tap into your ‘international skills’. Use the skills you have learnt to get through this transition. Stay connected with the global community you are now a part of.
- Connect with other International Alumni to share your experiences, your return home and to offer advice and resources—chances are your peers are feeling the same as you are. You can join the IAJN community at http://community.ia-jn.com/new-register-now/
If you are finding it hard to cope with your re-entry after studying as an international student, talk to people you trust and take care of yourself. Draw on your experience of arriving in your new home previously, and know that you can weather this bump too.
This article original appeared on the Australia Global Alumni page and can be viewed at