Many students find that returning home can be even more difficult than going abroad. Reverse culture shock, the companion to culture shock, is the phenomenon of feeling foreign and uncomfortable within your home environment. The following tips may be helpful in overcoming reverse culture shock:
- Get involved with your school's study abroad office
- Keep in touch with Lexia and other alumni on our facebook and twitter pages
- Plan your next study abroad with Lexia at a discounted rate
- Stay in touch with friends and homestay family members
- Continue with language classes at your school, with friends or via an online program
- Get involved with the immigrant community from your host country
- Go to local cultural festivals
- Check out the language-, culture- and travel-related clubs at your school
- Find a job or internship involved in study abroad or travel
- Keep a blog, journal, or scrapbook of your thoughts on your time abroad and how it has changed you since you've returned
- Attend a re-entry conference, like those run by NAFSA
- Apply to international scholarship programs
Remember, stay patient with your family and friends. They missed you and want to hear your stories, but they may have difficulty understanding your time away. Try not to dominate the conversation with stories from when you were abroad, and listen to their stories from the last semester as well. Finally, consider rediscovering your community by becoming a tourist in your own city or town. This will be a great way to reconnect with your friends and family, and it will help you see your home with fresh insights from your time abroad.
"Seeing how other cultures live obviously has an effect upon you, and the way you think about your own life/culture. I think the most interesting part for me was to see how very socially minded these people were in general – the way they think about themselves in terms of how they function in society, as opposed to the much more invidualistic-mindset of Americans."