Reverse cultural shock and how to overcome it

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Reverse cultural shock is unanticipated and also unexpected. It is an experience that nobody looks forward to and is surely more difficult to handle than outbound shock. One actually experiences reverse cultural shock when coming back to a place like home, after a long time spent on the road. The initial joy of seeing friends and family members again, wears off after some time, and it is at this moment you discover that you are out of place and not at home at all.

The first time I experienced reverse cultural shock was when I came back to Delhi after an year in Bandung, Indonesia. I wasn’t expecting it at all and it hit me like a bomb. With no prior experience in living abroad or a nomadic lifestyle, I felt stuck and suffocated at home all the time. It was a confusing and depressing few months until I found my ground again. Sadly, I didn’t have any help but I am here to help you with some tips on how to get over it quickly, based on my own personal experience.

In reality, experiencing reverse culture shock when coming back home is somewhat expected in your subconscious, but is usually overlooked. This is probably due to the phase of shock you are in. At first the excitement of seeing friends and family members takes centre stage. With passage of time, you realize that both the culture and home have changed, and you begin to feel as if you are in unfamiliar surroundings.

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The best way to combat reverse culture shock is to maintain your style and not give up the character and interest gained from your trip abroad. This is a transition phase, as well as an important learning experience, and retaining your international perspective is a skill in itself.

Meet your friends and those you were close to before leaving your hometown. Even if you feel like simply sitting at home sulking, make it a point to go out everyday and meet people you enjoy talking to. If you have lost all friends in this phase, go out and make new friends – join couch surfing events or meetups in town. Join any hobby class like zumba, kick boxing, Pilates or even a sport you are interested in. This will help you get back into a routine and meet like minded people, keeping your mind off your woes.

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Invest in yourself by following your dreams. Is there something you always wanted to do? If you want to head back and explore more a remote lifestyle might be the key to your woes! Think about your life goals, manifest your dreams and work on them to make them happen. This will keep you busy and focused – plus you will achieve results and eventually live the lifestyle or travel to your heart’s desire. Starting my travel blog helped me a lot and now it has given me the freedom to be location independent and follow my passions, no matter which part of the world I am in.

Ensure you continue travelling – even if its a weekend getaway or a short trip with family or friends. Keep travelling as that will make you happy and keep depressing thoughts at bay.

Ultimately, the whole changeover requires patience and an open mind, as each person re adapts to his home culture in a different way, though the patterns may be alike. By giving yourself ample time, makes it easy to readjust when you return home. Remember, that travelling overseas is an enriching experience, and should be totally enjoyed irrespective of the two minor setbacks caused by reverse culture shock and regular culture shock. The experience and education gained from travelling abroad, far outweigh these minor problems in the long run.

Author: Jyotsna Ramani

Jyotsna is a passionate globetrotter who loves to explore offbeat locales and inspires others to do the same. Traveling solo, enjoying new adventures, trying local cuisines are all part of her escapades. Follow in her footsteps as she takes on the world – one country at a time.

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