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
- Becoming frustrated not being able to communicate the significance of your time abroad
- Desires to only associate with students who were abroad with you
- Becoming critical of customs, values, or beliefs in the U.S. that didn’t bother you before you left
- Feeling 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 other schools 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
For more information, read our Tips for Dealing with Reverse Culture Shock.