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Handling Reverse Culture Shock

Reverse culture shock is a very common reaction after returning home from time abroad. It can range from feeling that no one understands 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. As you go through this transition period, you may find the following tips helpful:

  • Recognize possible symptoms of revers culture shock: restlessness; boredom; depression; uncertainty; confusion; isolation; wanting to be alone; missing the people; places; attitudes or lifestyle of your host country; changes in goals and priorities; negativity or intolerance towards the U.S., including American behavior, attitudes, customs and common social practice.
  • The coping skills and strategies that were successful in helping you adjust to your host culture will be just as helpful as you return home: get involved; identify a support group of other students; suspend judgment until you understand a situation; keep a journal; and always keep a sense of humor.
  • Many of your values and beliefs may have changed. Learn to incorporate new and meaningful values and beliefs in your life.
  • Understand that your friendships and relationships might have changed as a result of your new experiences. Explore new places and people with whom you can share your international experiences.
  • Find ways to take care of yourself and ease into your surroundings.

More resources to help with reverse culture shock can be found on the Travel & Safety Returning to Campus page.