Reverse Culture Shock

(Adapted from GlobaLinks Abroad’s “Reverse Culture Shock and the Re-Entry Experience”)

Upon returning from abroad, experiencing reverse culture shock is extremely common and may include any combination of the following emotions:

  • Boredom, restlessness
  • Reverse homesickness – missing people and places from abroad
  • Change in goals, plans, or priorities
  • Change in relationships with people from home
  • Feelings of alienation, withdrawal, or depression
  • Insecurity, uncertainty, confusion, frustration
  • Fear of losing the memories and experience abroad
  • Need for excessive sleep
  • Critical or negative views of your own culture
  • Feelings of resistance toward family and friends

There are many ways to overcome reverse culture shock. Some suggestions include:

  • Be flexible and open-minded as you view your home culture and country through new eyes
  • Stay in touch with fellow study abroad students and share your re-entry experiences
  • Share your stories and photos with friends and families, but be understanding if they have difficulty relating to your experience
  • Discuss your academic experience with your adviser, especially if you are considering a new career path
  • Get involved in cultural or international activities in your community or on your campus
  • Keep up with your host country through news coverage, media outlets, and relationships you formed while abroad
  • Stay connected to the world through global news networks and newspapers with an international/global focus
  • Journal your thoughts and emotions about returning to your home culture
  • Share your experience through writing contests, photo contests, being an active alumni, etc.
  • Plan your next abroad experience, whether it be backpacking through Southeast Asia, teaching English in Eastern Europe, or exploring down under