Reverse culture shock, or re-entry, is simply a common reaction to returning home from living abroad. It is an emotional and psychological stage of re-adjustment, similar to your initial adjustment to living abroad. Symptoms can range from feeling like no one understands you or how you’ve changed to feeling panicked that you will lose part of your identity if you don’t have an outlet to pursue new interests that were sparked abroad. Your reactions to re-entry may vary, but common signs are:

  • Restlessness
  • Rootlessness
  • Boredom
  • Depression
  • Uncertainty
  • Confusion
  • Isolation
  • Wanting to be alone
  • “Reverse homesickness”

This process will be similar to the culture shock you may have experienced when you first went abroad, only in reverse. Just as it took time to adjust to a different culture when you arrived there, it may take some time to re-adjust to home.

The coping skills and strategies that were successful in helping you to adjust to your host culture will be just as helpful coming home:

  • Get involved
  • Identify a support group
  • Suspend judgment until you understand a situation
  • Always, always keep a sense of humor

2 thoughts on “Re-Entry

  1. I just wanted to say how much your blog has truly, truly inspired me. I stumbled across it a couple of months ago as I was planning a short trip to Thailand and Cambodia but could not remember the name and stupidly did not have it saved. I’m very relieved to have found it again! I am off on my trip on Saturday and will be taking with me your words and wisdom. Thankyou x

    1. Awww, thank you Collette. I am thrilled that my blog has been useful for you! Have an incredible trip! I’m sure you will fall in love as deeply as I did with both Thailand and Cambodia. Touch base on your adventures. I’d love to hear your impressions. N

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