Coping with “Reverse Culture Shock”

What is “Reverse Culture Shock?”

  • “Reverse Culture Shock” is a feeling which can occur when an individual is removed from their native culture for a period of time, exposed to other cultures, and then is reunited with their native cultural environment.  At times, the returning individual may feel out of place or have challenges reintegrating to their former life.  The individual may also notice new components of their native culture that they did not recognize before and may struggle with interpreting these revelations.

Interpreting your Experiences

  • Now that you have operated in another cultural setting, you may feel frustrated with elements of your own culture or how your home nation engages with countries and cultures abroad.  Although these feelings are natural, it is important to consider the positive aspects of both your native culture and your host culture and remember that no one system is perfect.

Re-establishing Relationships

  • Oftentimes, your friends and family members have a static image of you as you were before your international experience.  They may not fully understand how you may have grown or changed as a result of your experience.  It is important to understand their perspective as well and to be patient.  

Discussing your Experiences

  • Do not be surprised if your audience does not seem to understand or relate to your experiences in the exact same way that you do.  They unfortunately were unable to live those exciting moments with you and may need additional explanations or visuals to better understand the experiences you’re trying to share. The use of photos and stories is a helpful way to help your audience better comprehend your experiences and learn how you may have grown or changed from your time abroad.