Reverse culture shock can surprise students who return home after they study in America. Who thought you would need to readjust to your native culture?
But you changed while you lived in the US– as would anyone who spends several months (or years) in another country. Readjusting to home can be as difficult as it was to adjust to America.
The symptoms of reverse culture shock begin before you even leave America. As your time in the US begins to dwindle, you will start to disengage and think about returning home.
When you step off the plane you are excited to be back, but that tapers as you find out your friends and family don’t seem as interested in your experiences as you had hoped. That turns into disappointment and loneliness as you realize your home country isn’t as idyllic as you remembered. You may feel like a stranger in your own country.
Gradually you’ll readjust, and your home culture will again feel normal. If you spoke a foreign language while studying abroad, you’ll find that your native language will have improved by this time.
The better you adjusted to American customs and culture, the worse you will find the reverse culture shock. You’ll miss your new friends and may find your conversation a mesh of your native and foreign languages.
A few weeks before you return home, start reading articles in online newspapers from your home country. This will provide you with an update on current events at home.
When you return, keep in contact with other students who have studied in another country. They’ll understand what you’re going through, and you can exchange stories about your overseas adventures and your American education.
While you were gone, your old friends may have moved away or your city could have changed. Expect differences and adjust to them in the same way you adjusted to living in America.
Studying abroad has taught you new skills and made you more independent. Remember that as you readjust to living in your home country again and overcome reverse culture shock.