Reverse Culture Shock
By now you have probably realized one of the great truths of study abroad: just as you had to adjust to living abroad, you will also have to re-adjust to life at home. Most people think that because they are coming home, there is nothing to worry about! This expectation that you will slide right back into your life exactly as you left it can sometimes create tension for you and friends and family. You have changed as a result of your experience abroad, and become a person with new skills and perspectives that may not be recognized or appreciated by those closest to you. Your friends and family may also have changed while you were gone, continuing with their lives even as you were off adventuring through new countries and cultures. A common experience for students is that the initial excitement at seeing friends and family, eating American foods, and visiting favorite places quickly fades, leaving behind a feeling of emptiness or anxiety. You may begin to miss key parts of your life abroad: your friends and host family, local foods, speaking the language, visiting museums and monuments, and the excitement of facing the everyday challenges of living in a different culture. You may start to think about how you can get abroad again – as soon as possible! The important thing to keep in mind through all this is that everyone goes through this, because it is a completely normal part of any study abroad experience. In the online API “Toolbox”, we offer you the following resources to make the process easier:
- Comments and advice from other students and sojourners on what they faced coming home
- General information about the reentry process
- Strategies you can use to learn from the challenges of coming home
- Ways your study abroad experience can help you in your future academic and professional career (including links to scholarships, fellowships, etc.)
- Ways to stay involved with the international arena
Just log in to the “Toolbox” using the same username and password you used to access the online orientation before your session abroad. We don’t cancel student accounts, because we want you to have access to this information when you need it most – whether it’s a few weeks or a few months after you get back from abroad! Go to the “Orientation” link and read the pages in the “Coming Home” section at the bottom of the page. If you need API to send your login information to you again, please contact vija @ apistudyabroad.com.