Reverse Culture Shock

Some people who used to live aboard and accustomed to the new environment and culture may feel shock when they return to their origin country, because they feel home is no longer home to them. Many things they see in the other land have changed their perspective. Many experiences they got have enriched or changed their thoughts and habits. And all the while, many things have also changed in their native country, it’s not the same place they left before.

People may feel surprised, confused, unfamiliar, disorientated and uncertain going back to the place they used to call home. Their family and friends may not be able to understand what they are going through and that may make them feel even more lonely, rejected and depressed.

This is certainly a culture shock, only it’s reversed.

What to do when you feel this way?

Don’t lock up yourself

Go visit your long lost friends, tell them stories from the land you just left only when they ask about it. If you overdo this you may tire them, and worse, make them envy you. Yes — let’s be honest to ourselves, not everyone can experience living aboard for so many years. When you want to be listened to and understood, why don’t you reconnect with friends from the “second home country”. Friendship is something that is supposed to be enduring and everlasting anyway — it’s not supposed to be stopped just because of the distance, you might know this if you used to live aboard.


Be as global and as open as you can be

Don’t be confused of who you are, you are everything that has come to your mind and dwells in your soul. Maintain the personality that you are.

When you used to live in France, find some french-speaking people in your city or region and meet up regularly to hang out or do sport together, all the while speak French to each other.

It’s the internet age, ladies and gentlemen, you can be connected to the world without leaving on a jet plane. Find new friends you can relate to, maybe they had ever lived aboard too, maybe they share new hobbies or habits you found aboard. For example, if you were American living in Japan, and you miss the food there all the time, why don’t you look for or make a Japanese cooking group in your area. You’ll see “coming home for good” through different eyes with different people, most of the time it’s not as bad as you think.

Don’t lock up yourself and play outside, new perspectives and opportunities can be found anywhere even in an unfamiliar home zone. Enjoy every moment, despite of where you are. You know, the kids say YOLO! You only live once, man 🙂

Write up your thoughts

You must be thinking or criticizing a lot once you arrive in your home country. All the different things you may find, which you never realized was even there all along before you leave the country — may leave you in shock now. The differences make you start to compare the two countries. Instead of bottling it up in your mind (which will lead you to distress and melancholy), you can write it up and share it with people you trust, the ones you think will understand you or just write it as an open letter or just keep it to yourself. Whichever suits you.

Be brave and embrace the new found home one day at a time

Just hold up and keep your personal goals in life. Once you settle back in you origin country, give your self some freedom and liberation to travel a bit domestically. Visit places you’ve never seen before, get to know your native land once again. New point of view always opens up the heart a little bit.

You can always travel aboard, even move back or live in another country again one day — but first, enjoy the place you are in at this very moment. And don’t be so hard on yourself, always one step at a time.


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