Moving home isn’t always easy – many who repatriate feel different and utterly out of touch. This article explains what happens when culture shock is reversed, what to expect, and how to cope with its effects.
Just like expatriation, repatriation has its psychological phases that are unexpected and daunting. Most notably, encountering reverse culture shock when returning home is a surprising situation that’s overlooked by both expats returning and their businesses calling to come home.
You will undergo…..
- No one wants to listen
- You can’t explain
- Reverse homesickness
- Relationships have changed
- People see ‘wrong’ changes
- People misunderstand you
- Feelings of alienation
- Inability to apply new knowledge and skills
- Loss/compartmentalisation of experience
Share your experience with others
Although you might feel like no one wants to listen, there will be close ones who will support you with open ears and honest interest.
Start a blog, contact friends you made as an expat, or write articles – find new ways to incorporate your urge to share stories with an audience who will listen intently.
Maintain your style and stay international
Things might be different, people (including yourself) might have changed, but this doesn’t mean a ‘repat’ should give up character and interest learned from abroad just to fit in. Maintain your lifestyle, from the food you ate abroad to the nature of your evolving personality.
“Remember that being flexible and expecting the unexpected helped you get through the difficult times abroad. The same attitude can help you back home,” says the Office of International Studies at Northeastern University.
“Reverse culture shock is a transition, and an important learning experience. Use this time to rebuild relationships, interests, and your new worldly self.”
Keeping an international perspective is a special skill not to take for granted or put away. Read international magazines and foreign newspapers, or access news from your host country via websites and forums.