Reverse Culture Shock

It was a pleasure having the opportunity to meet you all during the “Stars & Stripes” Re-entry workshops. Just like the Culture Shock you experienced when you came to the U.S., you will most certainly experience reverse culture shock when you return home in a few weeks. julia in sessionYou changed a lot during your time in the U.S. and it will take a few weeks or even months to adjust to life at home again. The re-entry process can be made easier by preparing yourself, your family, and your friends, and thinking about how you will handle different situations when you return home. During the reverse culture shock session we discussed the concerns and worries UGRADers have about returning home and ways to manage those fears.

Here are a few of the worries and concerns that many shared and strategies that you can use when you return home:

1. I worry that I will be behind in school: Set realistic goals for yourself, and tackle one school project at a time so you are not overwhelmed. Speak with your teachers and see if they have suggestions.  Also, speak with your friends who are now one year ahead to figure out which classes were most fulfilling and which professors were best. By tapping into your friends’ experiences, you can leverage yourself for an even better year ahead.

2. I worry that my friends have forgotten about me:  Contact your friends before you go home. Tell them you can’t wait to see them and hear all about their year. Some people back home may not be excited to hear all about your time abroad if you are not willing to hear about their time back home.

3. I will want to stay out later and dress differently than my parents will like:  Remember that while you may have changed a lot, your family may not have. Take things slowly. Speak with your parents about allowing you to have a little more leeway on your curfew or house rules as a trust tool.

4. I worry that I will be unhappy with many things back home, and miss the U.S.:  Set a Skype date with some U.S. friends for a week or two after you arrive home. Allow yourself to talk with them about those things you miss.

–          Julia Slocum

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