While having had the time of your life living abroad, you likely expanded your values and habits, and now settling into life as usual at home may have its challenges.
Some returning expatriates call it reverse culture shock, while others can’t put into words the malaise they feel after an initial happy homecoming. While having had the time of your life living abroad, you likely expanded your values and habits to include those from your host country. In this way, settling into life as usual at home may have its challenges. Here are our tips for beating the repatriation blues.
1. Seek Closure Before You Go
Celebrate the friendships and experiences you’ve had while you’re still abroad. Throw yourself a Bon Voyage party, have an intimate farewell dinner with host-country friends and visit your favorite places in your host city one more time.
2. Make Plans to Meet Again
Whether it’s on Skype or in your hometown, make firm plans to connect with your closest host-university friends in the future.
3. Celebrate Your Homecoming
Your family and friends missed you while you were overseas. Time is now to get together and remember what makes life at home so great. When all else fails, try experiencing your hometown as if you were a tourist. You may re-discover its charm.
4. Eat the Food You Missed
Let’s face it— that “authentic” restaurant near campus is not nearly as tasty as your hometown spot. Grab some friends and dine out (or in the family kitchen).
5. Talk with Other Returning Students
Chances are you’re not the only globetrotting academic in town or maybe even in your circle of friends. Get together with likeminded people and swap stories of your study abroad experiences.
6. Embrace Your New Worldview
Based on research from the famous professor Geert Hofstede, intercultural specialists at the Hofstede Centre have compiled personality profiles of hundreds of countries. Comparing the traits of where you're returning to with where you’ve been may help you better manage those moments of reverse culture shock. Here’s to a happy homecoming!