By NOD Student & Host Family Advisor Cory Brathall
You’re getting ready to return to your home country; your bags packed, bedroom cleaned, and your mind is full of interesting things to share with friends and family back home. You are almost there!
Just one more thing: remember hearing about culture shock or culture shift before coming to the USA? Well, many exchange students also experience reverse culture shock after returning to their home country. Just like when you first came to the USA, it might take time to readjust to being back home. Let’s learn some more.
Signs of Reverse Culture Shock
At first, students are excited to return home. They see their home and their culture from a new perspective and are very excited to share all about their exchange; you might feel like Wonder Woman or Superman.
Eventually, the excitement goes away. Friends and family are less interested to hear about the USA as you thought. Maybe you forgot some words in your native language, or speak with an accent. You might begin to feel bored, sad, angry, or lonely. You might even feel homesick for your family in the USA.
But things get better as you merge your home culture with your new culture.
Ways to Readjust
Find ways to keep in touch with your host family and friends in the USA. Consider sending messages or sending photos to them when you get home. They will be happy to hear from you.
Find ways to express yourself and share your experience; cook your favorite dish from the USA to share with family. Find other former exchange students to make new friends, and practice your English skills.
Reverse culture shock is normal and is different for everyone. For more information on reverse culture shock, or preparing for your return home, read your student handbook (there’s even more helpful tips in there!)