You know that when you study and live in a new country, you'll be exposed to a variety of cultural differences that you're not used to. Over time, these unspoken rules become the norm and after a few weeks you'll be settled in and not even give them a second thought. But what happens to these new mannerisms when you return home? You might start to experience a phenomenon called "reverse culture shock", which is what happens when you find yourslef struggling to adjust to going back to old habits and places. Since it may take time to get used to your old (yet new) surroundings, we came up with 10 ways to help you acclimate to no longer being abroad.
1. Continue to do activities that you did while abroad
If you started playing a sport such as badminton while you were abroad, try to find somewhere where you can continue to play it. If you took up singing, join a choir at home! Whatever the activity or hobby is, don’t just give it up because you're not abroad. It is likely that you’ll be able to continue in a local club, or at your university.
2. Speak to your family about your experiences abroad
Your family will be the best way to help you settle back in to your home. Although some of them may get tired of hearing the same incredible stories over and over (they just wish they were there, too!), it’s important to talk about your feelings from your time abroad and make your family aware that you perhaps aren’t settling back in as smoothly as you had hoped.
3. Be ready for changes in yourself
While you were abroad, it's likely that certain traits you had or didn't have changed. When you return home you will undoubtedly be different than when you first left. Study abroad has the ability to make many students find out something new about themselves personally, professionally, and more. The sooner you recognize that you have changed as an individual, the more fluid your transition back home will be.
4. Be ready for changes at home
Even though your semester abroad won't seem long, it is possible that things at home may have changed. Relationships may be different between friends or family, which may change the dynamic of your social scene upon your return. It may be something as silly as your family getting a new pet, but it's possible that you’ll come home to something different than when you left. Once again, the sooner that you realize this, the less shocked you’ll be and the easier it will be to have a smooth transition.
5. Meet up with friends from home
Although it is more than likely that you would have made many new friends abroad, it is important not to forget your friends from home! They will be a great resource for telling all your fun study abroad stories to, and they’ll help you keep your mind busy when you return.
6. Reflect on your experience abroad
Although you are returning home, it's important to never forget your experience abroad. Be sure to look through pictures and reflect on what was likely an incredible experience. Be thankful that you had the opportunity to travel and study in a different part of the world, however be mindful that you are now back home and back to reality.
7. Make a change!
While you are abroad you will notice a whole bunch of changes between your home nation and the country you are studying in. If part of your reverse culture shock is that you see faults in your home nation, do your best to change issues. If your experience abroad opened your eyes to a whole new level of environmental sustainability, for example, then make your voice heard and take action!
8. Stay in touch with your friends abroad
While it is important to speak to and hang out with your friends from home, it is also important to stay in touch with the friends you made abroad. Video-chat them, text them, friend/follow them on social media; do whatever you can not to lose touch with the people that you made so many memories with.
9. Plan a trip back to where you studied
If you miss it so much, make plans to travel back to your study abroad home. Of course you should get used to living back home first, but if you really miss your abroad nation then book or at least look at flights! It’ll give you a lot to look forward to while hopefully pushing you to succeed back home.
10.Live in the present!
Although it’s great to remember how incredible your study abroad experience was, it may be a little depressing coming back home. Of course it’s important never to purposely forget your time abroad, however it is certainly important to live in the present. Think about what you have going on today rather than the wonderful trip you had three months ago. Similarly, don’t dread next week when you still have today to look forward to.
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