Reverse Culture Shock

It will be exciting to come home and see your family and friends and to return to your home institution. Be prepared, though, to find that the more “familiar” the surrounding and situation you return to, the more you may suffer from a new and quite unexpected form of culture shock! Having adapted to a different way of doing and seeing things, you will find many aspects of American life irritating, constraining, or unenlightened. Your friends and family will not have changed as you have; not having shared your experiences, they will seem not to appreciate the importance of your experience.

Women in Traditional Costume, Hangzhou, China

Women in Traditional Costume, Hangzhou, China

For some students, the difficulties of readjusting to the home culture are even greater than the first weeks in the host country. To help you get through this unsettling experience, we suggest that you spend time with other students who have just returned from abroad and try to build on your shared experiences: organizing a photo exhibit, helping to prepare others for their study abroad experience, or writing about your stay are some ways of getting over reverse culture shock—or coming to terms with the idea that you can now make some claim to two cultures. Students are always welcome to come to International Programs to discuss their experiences.

 

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