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Reverse Culture Shock

Cross Cultures: Reverse Culture Shock

Here's a post from OnSugar blog My DISFunkshion.

Studying abroad in Europe is definitely a life-changing experience, chock-full of nonstop activities and explorations. But what happens when you come home only to settle into your old routine in your old hometown?

We’ve all heard of culture shock – the sudden realization that, when in a foreign country, everything around you is new and strange. People experience in varying degrees, some with a sense of excitement, others feel helpless in the face of the changes. Similarly, the same can happen upon returning home. You had just settled into your new country, your new city – what’s the deal with all this American culture now?

One friend described a particularly specific moment of her "reverse culture shock" when she went food shopping in her hometown’s food market. When she was having trouble weighing her produce, she asked a store attendant for help … in Italian. My friend instantly became upset and frustrated in the face of having to balance the old and new cultures she had come to know.


What can one do to remedy this said reverse culture shock? Realize you need to expect it. Things change after a period of time away, but at the same time, they stay eerily the same. When first embarking on our journey abroad, my fellow students and I were warned endlessly of the culture shock we were bound to encounter, but not so much on our return home. Knowing to expect it helps to quell any shock no matter which direction you’re traveling.

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Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
jojijoja jojijoja 7 years
A good movie to see on this subject is "L'auberge Espanole". Netflix it. They also made a sequel "Russian Dolls"
skigurl skigurl 7 years
i find this question right up there with: my wallet is too small for my 50s, and my gold shoes are too tight i have had this problem too, and i always find myself saying thank you in Italian when i get back from Italy etc. but i mean, get over yourself this is your biggest problem?
starbucks2 starbucks2 7 years
I experienced that too. I spent a year in Oregon going to high school and then went back to Germany. You know, when you go to a foreign country you just expect everything to be different, so you're prepared. But when you go back to your own country you think you'll feel right at home and that you're surprised it takes getting used to...
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 7 years
I've never been abroad for long periods of time, so I can't relate, but a good friend of mine studied abroad and she said the reverse culture shock is one of the weirdest things.
roseate roseate 7 years
I and many of my friends experienced this when returning from studying abroad. My experience with it was very mild--I'm from the U.S., and I studied abroad in Australia--but there were still little things that I had to readjust to. For example, I would veer to the left when almost bumping into someone, which resulted in a collision since the American reaction is to veer to the right.
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