Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Reverse Culture Shock: A Personal Disorientation

Now, you are back home. You can hug your family and your friends. You can sleep in your bed. 
You come back to your old life.
But you feel something inside, it’s strange. You feel disorientated.

What is it?
It is called Reverse Culture Shock (a.k.a. "Re-entry Shock", or "own culture shock"). It may take place returning to one's home culture after growing accustomed to a new one. This results from the psychosomatic and psychological consequences of the readjustment process to the primary culture. The affected person often finds this more surprising and difficult to deal with that the original culture shock.

What kind of emotions you may be going through?
You may have a reverse homesickness-missing people and places from abroad. Boredom, insecurity, uncertainty, confusion, frustration and need for excessive sleep. Your goals or priorities changed. Feelings of alienation and of resistance toward family and friends.
Everything seems okay but deeply inside something is not right.
You may feel stuck: you don’t like the same things anymore, the most part of the people you used to know is probably not interested to understand your 
new personality, you may feel misunderstood.
Last but not least, be careful not to drop your travel tales into too many conversations. Nobody (almost) cares about your travels, so be sensitive and choose carefully who you share your experience with.

How long this disorientation last?
It depends on you.
You don’t have to think <<This will never be a problem to me.>> because it will happen anyway. You have to be wise and get ready to face family and friends before leaving the foreign country.
Moreover, there are many tricks to emerge victor:
  1. Staying in touch with fellow study abroad students and sharing your re-entry experiences;
  2. Get involved in cultural or international activities in your community or on your home campus;
  3. Stay connected to the world through global news networks and newspapers with an international/global focus;
  4. Journal your thoughts and emotions;
  5. Share your experience through writing contests, photo contests, being an active alumni, etc.;
  6. Plan your next abroad experience;
  7. Have more than one welcome back party;
  8. Be grateful to be home
To be specific Reverse culture Shock is usually a path of 4 stages that you can find here well described.

In my story, every step happened by the book.
Boredom, confusion, frustration, misunderstandings, feeling stuck…
Thankfully I had some good friends who help me out. Listening a million times my American tales, spending much time to know me better also if I was the same girl they used to appreciate, making me feel loved.
But I unavoidably changed a lot so I lost some friends and habits I had before, sometimes intentionally.
For what concerns the advises described before I realized all of them except one (#2) and I guarantee they helped me to face my new life.



  1. Me l'avevi raccontato bene, ma leggerlo è meglio :D Brava Zucchins!

  2. Thanks Kihoshi! This was very kind of you!

  3. Anonymous12:20 PM

    Same for me... Now I'm confused and want to tell anyone about my experience... but I feel like no one can really understand me! Sooo sad! Hope feel better in a month


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