Is Reverse Culture Shock Real
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Health and Wellness

Reverse Culture Shock Is A Real Thing

Give yourself time to readjust to being home.

Reverse Culture Shock Is A Real Thing
Madelyn Neal

I recently returned home from eight weeks abroad, and while I both never wanted to leave Europe and was relieved to come home, I was surprised by the adjustment that it took to come home! I'm not just talking about jet lag; I wasn't expecting to notice some aspects of my own culture that I took for granted before.

Don't get me wrong, I was so happy to be home, but riding around in cars (that drove on the right side of the road) and having everyone understand the language and the accent I spoke with on the first try felt as surreal as finding out I could spend six weeks studying in London and two weeks afterward with my own mini-tour of Europe.

I was exhausted, and I was a little disoriented when I came home. I was both sleeping too much and not at all, all while being so frustrated with myself for not being able to jump back into productivity. Those first few days, and even some now, the motivation to get started on those summer projects I assigned myself was lacking, to say the least.

I think this is the thing that no one really tells you about coming home from a tremendous, amazing, eye-opening experience like this. Just like you had to give yourself time to get into the groove of a new city, of a new school year, of just a new environment altogether, you also have to give yourself time to come back home, both physically and mentally.

Being in a daze is normal and rational; it seems incredibly difficult to just be able to slide back into your daily routine as if you hadn't just spent eight weeks running around like a chicken with its head cut off, catching train after train, plane after plane, to go on adventure after adventure.

This may be one of the dorkier examples I'll use, but it's like when Frodo comes back from saving Middle Earth, or when Harry Potter returns to the Muggle world after a school year that ended up being a life or death, hell in a handbasket type situation: there is always this moment when our heroes seem to realize that their home continued living life without them, and now it is their turn to assimilate back into it. And no, I'm not saying that studying abroad is anything like a fantasy world, but it is the same sort of idea.

Give yourself time, and make sure you understand that what you are feeling is normal. You'll have plenty of time to get back into the swing of things after you acknowledge that what you've experienced is life-changing and once-in-a-lifetime. It is important to take some quiet and restful time to reflect on the new person that you are (as well as getting over that pesky time difference). You are a slightly different and better citizen of our planet now, and you can bring that change home. So don't mourn the things you've left behind, look forward to what you have been brought by study abroad!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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