What Is Reverse Culture Shock? And 3 Tips To Help

Posted by on Aug 21 | 2017

Just as many people feel culture shock shortly after moving overseas, they can also experience reverse culture shock soon after returning home again. This article will take a look at what reverse culture shock is and how to cope with it.

Reverse Culture Shock

What is Reverse Culture Shock?

Reverse cultural shock is not as well known as culture shock, but it poses just as much of a significant psychological and emotional response. It is centered around three primary ideas: home has changed, you have changed, and lastly, adapting to a different way of life again back home is also different. This is often unexpected, which adds to the problem.

Reverse culture shock proceeds along the same ‘U curve’ that culture shock does: there’s a “honeymoon” stage involving enchantment with the idea of being home again, but this is soon followed by disillusionment upon realizing that things are different. This can lead to a period of having negative thoughts about home and experiencing marginality, exhaustion, withdrawal and also depression. Children and teenagers are especially prone to reverse culture shock. The good news, however, is that reverse culture shock is simply an adjustment period and with the following tips, you can help to minimize these negative feelings.

3 Tips To Cope with Reverse Culture Shock

  • Share Your Experience With Others (And Encourage Children)
    For adults, a common thing you will hear about reverse culture shock is that people at home don’t tend to care about your experiences. That said, finding someone to speak about your time abroad – your memories, things you miss – is an important part of confronting reverse culture shock. Whether that means reaching out to a community of people who have also recently returned home, speaking about your experience (and your current feelings) is highly important.

    Children and teenagers should also be encouraged to talk about their time abroad and feelings.

  • Incorporate Aspects Of Your Expat Life At Home
    One reason why reverse culture shock occurs is because things are simply different at home. Don’t hesitate to incorporate aspects of your life into your new home, even something as seemingly simple as making your dinner of choice when you were abroad. Carrying these things over can help to ease the homesickness that is common with reverse culture shock. This is important especially for children as it creates a sense of consistency, but it can be just a helpful for adults.

  • Be Patient (But Also Make an Effort to Create a New Life)
    Recognize that your feelings are a normal part of coming home and give yourself time to get back in the swing of things – be patient with yourself and/or your children. At the same time, you also want to ensure that you’re making an effort to adjust to life at home again.

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