Dealing with reverse culture shock

Reverse Culture Shock

Many expats returning home after living abroad can experience “reverse culture shock”, where they suffer from emotional and psychological distress and an unexpected difficulty in readjusting to the culture and values of their home country.


The degree of reverse culture shock may be directly proportional to the length of time spent overseas. Just as it took time to adjust to a different culture when you first arrived abroad, it may take some time to re-adjust to your life back home.


Symptoms of reverse culture shock


Feelings can differ from one person to another, but the most common symptoms of reverse culture shock include:


  • Anxiety
  • Frustration
  • Boredom
  • Feelings of rejection and confusion
  • Changes in goals and priorities
  • Negative feelings towards your home country



Top Tips to ease reverse culture shock


To help you adjust to your home country after that assignment abroad, we’ve put together these top tips to ease reverse culture shock.



1- Plan your move back home well in advance


Just like relocating overseas, moving back home brings with it a whole set of new challenges. So planning for your repatriation should begin long before your moving day arrives. Many companies will offer support during the repatriation process, so check with your HR department to see what help is available to make the transition smoother.


2- Manage your expectations


Even though home is very familiar to you, it may feel foreign for the first couple of weeks or even months. Allow yourself the time to readjust to your old way of life and you’ll soon get that sense of connection to your home country again.


3- Reach out to old friends at home


Reconnect with your old friends in your home country in advance of your move back home so you are up-to-date on their lives.


4- Communicate your feeling with family and friends


Expressing your feelings to people around you will help them understand why you aren’t immediately jumping into your “old lifestyle” and will also help you ease the tension within you. 


5- Explore your hometown


Explore your city all over again. Put together a list of all the sights and visitor attractions in your hometown, and invite some friends to accompany you on your tours.



6- Stay in touch with people from your host country


And finally, continue to keep in touch with your friends abroad. These friends can prove to be a very useful support network while you reconnect with your friends and family at home.


It is important to remember that in time, things will slowly fall back into place, and you will eventually feel more at home in your home country.


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