What is Reverse Culture Shock

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What is Culture shock.

Culture shock is the feeling you get when you feel overwhelmed in a new Country. A person may experience culture shock when moving to a different Country or cultural environment.

It is also the personal upheaval a person may feel when experiencing a different way of life. This may be due to immigrating or visiting a new country or moving between different social environments or even a different type of life. What are the signs of Culture Shock.

The Signs of Culture Shock.

People in strange environments are one of the most common causes of culture shock. At least one of four distinct phases of culture shock can be identified as the honeymoon period, the negotiation period, the adjustment period, and the adaption period.

It might be best shown in this graph.


So What is Reverse Culture Shock?

Well, Reverse culture shock is the opposite. After you have spent some time in another country you may wish to return home .At the start you are excited and everything feels great. Let’s delve deeper.

The sense of distress after spending a large period of time abroad is known as reverse culture shock. The reasons for feeling this way are much the same as those that cause culture shock. Your new circumstance may lack the familiarity, comfort, and routines to what you have grown used to..

Aside from the absence of familiarity, there are a few other elements that often play a role in reverse culture shock:

You can find out more about Culture shock from Wikipedia.

Signs of Reverse Culture Shock.

Your friendships have shifted.

Your buddies have moved on and had completely different experiences than you while you were away. This doesn’t necessarily imply that your connections will end, but the dynamics may be different than they were before you moved.

And you may feel as if there isn’t anything left to talk about. Specifically because,  you, too, have changed and had different experiences.

You’ve evolved.No matter how far or close your time away from home took you, spending a considerable amount of time overseas transforms you.

You were forced to adjust to a new lifestyle and culture and venture outside of your comfort zone when you first moved to another country. You met new people, and traveled to new places.  Perhaps you have spent a large amount of time alone before returning home.  And you will have formed new relationships, on your travels, with people who have different ideas from your old friends.

Your perspective of your home has shifted.

Traveling increases our awareness of the world around us and, as a result, may cause us to reconsider our long held beliefs and behaviors. Many expatriates find it difficult to adjust to some features of their home country when they return, such as the fast paced pace of life, consumerism, or narrow-mindedness that they were previously unaware of.

Readjusting to this life can be difficult, and it can even lead to feelings of actual misery and alienation. You may feel nobody wants to listen to your experiences.

Different feelings.

One or more of the following symptoms are likely to arise as a result of feeling misunderstood by friends and relatives, missing the life you left behind, and having difficulty readjusting. You may have one, two or three or even all of these feelings.:




Feeling isolated and alone.

 A feeling of rootlessness 

Sadness or even Depression


Time Frame and Severity.

The severity of any of these symptoms is determined by a number of factors

It can be determined by whether it is planned or unplanned re-entry. For example this Covid outbreak has forced a lot of ex-pats to return “home”.

Your age can be a determining factor. Reentry is sometimes simpler for older adults who have experienced more life changes.

However, it could be difficult for the older Ex-pat if their foreign lifestyle was based on a cheaper cost of living. Thus forcing them to return to the workforce in their own country.

If you have returned home before , it may be easier to adjust as you have kept in contact with relatives and friends, on your visits, over the years.

The longer you have stayed in a Foreign country the longer and the more difficult it is to re-assimilate.

If you had strong ties with the culture and the country you were staying in, it will be more difficult to leave behind the friends and friendships you have formed..

Reverse Culture Shock Graph.

Overcoming Reverse Culture Shock

The fact that it has a name already indicates that you are not alone in experiencing reverse culture shock. It’s natural to experience feelings of shock and depression after returning home, and it’s crucial to be gentle with yourself.

Allow yourself time to settle back in and perhaps let go of the life you had. Keep your memories alive by looking at photos and videos and reminiscing with the people you met or the person you traveled with. Keep in contact with your foreign friends with social media.

Decorate your house or apartment to make it feel like a new home for yourself, and enjoy the simple things you can have now that you couldn’t have previously.

Another thing I recommend is don’t do it alone. Admitting it is the first step. Read about it and find help if you need it.

Also. I highly recommend this book to help you settle down again in your home Country. 

The Art of Coming Home by ” Craig Storti”.


Expecting that the home will be the way it was when you left? Are you instead shocked to discover that both you and home have changed? The Art of Coming Home offers the solid advice you need to reduce the stress of making the transition home.

Kindle Version | $13.99 From Amazon.

Paperback version | New; $20.10 From Amazon

Paperback version | Used; from $5.55 At Amazon

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Moving abroad presented obstacles and returning home will present new ones. The strength and flexibility you showed by moving out of your comfort zone in the first place will almost certainly assist you in returning home.

Remember, you can choose a different City or town if you want new life experiences. Returning home does not mean you have to return to the exact same place you left.

And if nothing else works and you’re truly out of place, start planning your next move and figuring out what kind of life you’d like to live abroad.

I truly hope this helps you on your journey home. Or your next adventure.


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2 thoughts on “What is Reverse Culture Shock”

  1. Wow, I’m glad you mentioned that the strength and flexibility that someone demonstrated by stepping outside of his/her comfort zone in the first place will almost certainly help him/her return home. In my case, I’ve been back in my homeland since 2018. For six years, I lived and worked in one Asian country and experienced “Reverse Culture Shock” in the form of uncertainty, a sense of rootlessness, and restlessness. Returning to my homeland was a huge miracle for me.

    Excellent article.

    1. Thanks Lionel, These days with a lot of uncertainty about living abroad during COVID a lot of people are exiting their foreign home and returning to their homeland. Sometimes people are not aware that it can be just as difficult returning as it was leaving. Great to see you integrated back into your home environment. Thanks for sharing.


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