Reverse Cultural Shock

The Shock of Coming Home

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Reverse cultural shock is the anxiety you may feel when you get back to the United States. When you were abroad you will have changed and grown, but things at home usually stay the same. This is where the anxiety starts. Some of the symptoms of reverse cultural shock are:

Feeling as if no one can understand your study abroad experience

You may become frustrated by not being able to communicate the significance of your time abroad

Desires to only associate with students who were abroad with you

You may become critical of customs, values or beliefs in the U.S. that didn’t bother you before you left

You feel that there is no outlet for you to talk about your experiences


Reverse cultural shock can make coming home bitter sweet. Follow these suggestions on ways to combat reverse cultural shock:

If your school or a school in you area offers a re-entry seminar, TAKE IT

Stay in contact and share your frustration with other students who were abroad with you

Keep a journal or scrapbook of things that pertain to your host country

Join international student organizations

Volunteer to help other students going abroad or foreign students coming to study at your campus

If you learn a foreign language, join conversation groups so that you don’t loose your language skills

If you plan to further your abroad experience by working abroad, begin to search for opportunities

Plan you next trip abroad

Interested in sharing your abroad experience with us? We like to hear all about it.


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