Reverse Culture Shock – Get ready! – Tips from Shivani
Studying abroad can be the best time of your life, and until you find an excuse to move abroad, there will come a time when you will have to go home. After your time abroad, you would be pretty used to living out of your comfort zone, getting used to different languages, customs, and doing everything possible given the fact that you were abroad for a limited amount of time. But what happens after you come home after investing so much time into making a life abroad?
Reverse culture shock. It’s the mental adjustment of returning home after a long time abroad, and it’s going to be a mixed bag of intense emotions until you get back into the groove of things, so get ready!
Here are couple things that should make the reverse culture shock a little less, well, shocking.
- Eat at your favourite places. Chances are there are some things about home you missed, such as the food. As a native Vancouverite, I never go too long without eating my favourite cheap and delicious sushi. However, a couple weeks into my time in France and I discovered I would have to wait until I returned to get good quality, cheap sushi. The first couple bites into the first roll I had in months were definitely worth the trip home.
- Catch up with friends. As strange as it is, life at home moves on without you and there’s a lot to catch up on. That, and you are probably bursting with amazing stories. If you can, try and see multiple friends at once so you don’t have to repeat yourself too often. And make sure to be sensitive to your friends – not everyone finds your stories as interesting as you do, and you don’t want to be a snob and insult how things are done at home too much. But seeing all your friends again is another great reminder of why it’s great to be home, so throw yourself a coming-home party and celebrate!
- Keep in touch with your new friends! Facebook and Skype are beautiful things.
- Stay positive. Of course there are things you will miss about the country you just came from, but home is far from terrible – you are familiar with the language, the customs, your way around the place, good places to go out, etc. Now that you’re back you can take the time to rediscover your home with the new perspective you have acquired abroad J
- Keep the buzz going! Just because you’re home doesn’t mean you can’t stop doing the things you loved to do abroad, like travel! There are always new areas that you’ve never explored, new restaurants or cafes to try. Another way to live like a foreign student at home is to find the foreign students studying at home, and show them around town! Now that I’m at home after studying in France, I met up with some French students studying here in Vancouver – and asked to be language partners with them so they can improve their English and I can keep up my French skills. Win-win!
So never fear, soon enough you’ll get back in the swing of things!
Yours and only slightly traumatized by culture shock,