“Where once I was surrounded by friends, I now had to make ‘appointments’ to see them. When I did meet my friends, it was clear that their lives had veered in a direction totally opposite from mine .. .” Have you ever had the sentiments like the quote above? Have you ever felt like you are a stranger with your friends, or worse, your family after a homecoming? If yes, bet you were experiencing “reverse culture shock. ” What is “Reverse culture shock”? Reverse culture shock is the shock suffered by some people return home after a number of years overseas.
This can result in unexpected difficulty in adjusting to the culture and values of the home country, now that the previous familiar has become unfamiliar. As we know, culture shock happens to immigrants and foreign students when they enter a new culture. They will be shocked because there is something absolutely strange. However, reverse culture shock happens when people return home after a number of years overseas and they feel that it is difficult for them to readjust to the culture and values of home country. In addition, re-entry shock can sometimes be so much more intense than culture shock because it’s not expected.
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Students typically do a lot of planning ND preparation to go abroad, and are usually prepared for some of the difficulties they will initially face in a new culture. However, they tend to do less preparation for returning home. 2. What are the stages of reverse cue True shock? There are 4 main stages of reverse culture shock that can be found in any expatriates: STAGE 1: Disengagement This stage happens while the returnee is still abroad and he begins thinking about moving back home and moving away from his overseas experience and friends.
This stage is characterized by a brief, or an extended, time of euphoria over being back home. As a result, the returnee begins to distance myself from his friends and host country. STAGE 2: Initial Euphoria This stage usually begins shortly before departure, and it is characterized by feelings of excitement and initial euphoria about returning home. This feeling may last a few weeks, and then give way to feelings of loneliness or “homesickness” for friends and experiences abroad. Reverse culture shock may be so intense that the returnee may criticize his home.
STAGE 3: Alienation Pollock (1999) suggests two different ways this stage is experienced. * Anger: Different and bad Some returnees see those differences as bad because it is not the same with heir foreign sojourn, or because what they see and experience violates his new values and beliefs. The returnees responds by being angry at their own cue True or people. * Mockery: Different and Foolish Sometimes the returnee’s response is mocker towards some aspects of the home culture. He may see some practices as unnecessary. STAGE 4: Gradual Readjustment The returnee makes him peace with what was “different” in the home culture.
Things will seem a little more normal again, and he will probably fall back into some old routines, but things won’t be exactly the same as how he left them. He has most likely developed new attitudes, beliefs, habits, personal and professional goals as well. 3. Why do we have reserve culture shock? Below are some reactions which can contribute to the unexpected feeling of disconnectedness that characterizes reverse culture shock: * An Unrealistic Perception of One’s Own Country Long-term expatriates can feel out of sync with developments and changes in their own country.
Especially during stressful times, they hold onto the image they left behind, of their safe, stable familiar environment, where ‘things are better’. This image can be shattered upon return, naturally exulting in disorientation. * Lack of excitement There is a certain excitement about being a foreigner. Expatriates do not feel the same social restrictions or social controls that they experienced at home, that they had been socialized into. Moreover, once you step outside the national bubble, you find your own way, and almost, in a sense, make your own rules.
Then, upon coming home, after the initial excitement on arrival, boredom appears, and a general lack of interest in life sets in. * Social Isolation Firstly, expatriates long to share their stories with their loved ones, but they soon realize, nobody cares. They re tired of hearing stories of places that they’ve never been to. For sure, you will feel rejected, neglected or misunderstood. Then, former friends try to treat you as if you haven’t changed. But deep inside you know something, they may not yet realize.
You have changed, and it’s beginning to dawn on you that you can’t go back, to those people you once knew, who were your closest friends, and the family you grew up with. In a sense, they are strangers. The place you thought you were returning to doesn’t exist anymore, except in your memories. Restlessness Having come through the challenges of adapting overseas, you find a curious ND unexpected restlessness coming on. Obviously, some people fret and fume over a lost world, the world of their past, which is now gone, and will never come back.
Others look at it in a more light-hearted way, making the best of things as they are now. It all depends on the way you look at it. How have you learned to cope with the challenges of life, while on assignment? Are you able to reorganize your thinking, and call on the social skills you developed overseas, and find an emotional stability that you can live with, at the feeling level that is personally satisfying? 4. What are the solutions for his issue – reverse culture shock? * Be grateful to be home: enjoy your family and friends. Remember how fortunate you are to have a place to return to.
Think of what you’ve missed, and try to catch up. * Integrate the best of the two cultures: make a list of the things you would like to retain either because you liked them or just because you think they are good for * Keep in touch with your friends: you’re returning home doesn’t mean you. You’ve disappeared off the planet. You should try to email the many friends you’ve met on the road or invite some of them to stay with you when they ravel your way. Sharing your return trip impressions with them and finding out where they’re headed to are good ideals. Have a big party: you should invite all your friends over – and don’t talk about your trip, talk about them and their lives instead. Most people have probably heard enough about it while you were on the road or when you first came home. You should find out what you’ve missed and what’s changed. It’ll help rebuild your sense of community. * Get involved: you should try to get involved in new things as quickly as possible for example: join new clubs, take courses, visit a church, ND meet new people even though you may feel foreign.
Many returning students find it very helpful and fulfilling to connect with the International community at their school. In the end, be good to yourself. Allow yourself to feel confused and give yourself time to transit to your home culture. You most likely became a “new person” because of your life abroad experiences, and now this new person must adapt to a new culture. You may have also developed new personal and professional goals; give yourself breathing room and don’t chastise yourself if you can’t meet your goals within your desired time frame.