Hello you! I am glad you stopped by this particular blog post. I have taken it upon myself to warn you about reverse culture shock and give advice on how to get through it. It may happen to you, it did happen to me. However, the good news is that it a natural response that passes with time. 🙂
If you have returned from a year abroad/exchange then you have most likely experienced reverse culture shock at some point. When I returned to London from Hong Kong in May 2016 I was at a blissful emotional level that I like to call the ‘honey moon stage’ because at this stage everything is great! It was great to be back home and it was great to see family and loved ones that I had not seen in a very long time (around five months, since I had returned for Christmas holidays). From my personal experience, this stage only lasts around a fortnight. This was because I began to deeply miss the people I had developed friendships with in Hong Kong. In addition to this, I started to miss the sights, sounds, smells and tastes that are unique to Hong Kong. I especially missed the majestic Hong Kong mountains that surrounded the campus and delicious Hong snacks; namely, milk tea and egg puff. There are helpful resources available to you via the internet if you want more info about reverse culture shock. Six main points of advice have really helped me process my reverse culture shock. Here they are…
- Be honest with what your experience was like on your year abroad/exchange and how you are feeling now.
- Talk to people about what you are going through. I found it helpful to talk to people who had been on a year abroad, because we were able to relate to one another’s experience. We also shared interesting anecdotes with each other about our experience.
- Record your thoughts and feelings. At the moment I find blogging quite helpful. Alternatively, you could keep a private journal.
- Stay in contact with friends you have made in the country you were in via Facebook, Skype, Whatsapp, Weechat (used by many of my Chinese friends), Snapchat and Instagram (to name a few).
- Give yourself time to re-adjust back into the lifestyle and culture.
- In time, get back into a schedule so as to re-introduce structure to your day, but remain flexible in case there are inevitable changes to that schedule.
Thanks for reading! 🙂