What is a reverse culture shock and how to deal with it?

Returning to your home country might leave you feeling out of place or slightly disoriented. You might feel the same way that you have felt when you were relocating to Kuwait or leaving it. This is called a reverse culture shock. It is completely normal to feel this way for a while. Read the text below to find out how to overcome this feeling.

A man suffering from reverse culture shock
Experiencing reverse culture shock can be quite frustrating, however, there are thing that you can do.

What are the stages of reverse culture shock?

There are several stages through which you are going to go through after you return from abroad. The degree to which they would affect someone varies from person to person. However, here is a list of all of the stages with their description:

  • Disengagement. – As your move day draws near, you begin to focus on your return home. It is an unusual feeling of being split between your host country and your home country. This is a time when you think about the things that you are going to do when you get home. However, at the same time, you are thinking about how to pack and move, and how to wrap up your time abroad.
  • Euphoria. – You are becoming excited about going home at this stage. Speaking your native language, eating domestic foods, and seeing old friends is what you are thinking about. You either go through this stage when you arrive home or before leaving your host country. For those who have adjusted well to the host country, this can be a brief experience. However, they are less likely to experience return shock beyond this stage if they weren’t happy abroad.
  • Dampened Euphoria. – Shortly after you get back home, you may start feeling like a foreigner in your own country. Feelings of frustration, alienation, and critical thinking about your own culture are not uncommon. Previously ordinary things now stand out to you. The feeling that no one really wants to hear about your experience is also pretty common. What you could do to mitigate this, is to seek out people that have also returned from abroad. They would be able to share their experience and have sympathy while you adjust to your home country.

The last phase of reverse culture shock is a gradual readjustment

After a while, you get less critical about certain aspects of your culture and things are not as shocking. You start focusing on things that you have learned abroad and how to implement them in your daily life. Adopting certain host culture characteristics or habits might be beneficial for your lifestyle back in your home country. This can have a lasting impact on your professional practices and may spread to others if they recognize the same benefits. If you need to move your stuff from or to Kuwait, seek out companies that do cargo shipping to Saudi Arabia for assistance.

Returning to comfortable home routines might seem boring after you have returned from abroad where you were meeting people every single day. However, new ways for channeling your interests are now available thanks to your international experience and language ability. You can still make new friends, join some clubs, and do other activities.

A man looking at the distance in the forest.
Do not despair, you will gradually readjust to your home country.

You are having trouble being understood

Upon your return, you might want to constantly talk about your experiences of life abroad. Yet, people don’t seem that much interested in what you have to say. On the other hand, you might get frustrated with non-specifying questions like “How was it?”. It is hard for people without international experience to relate to yours. There is a chance that they might lose interest once they hear about the highlights of your time abroad. Seek out other returnees, as they will be keener on hearing about your experience, and have theirs to share. Keep your stories brief when discussing your time abroad with less receptive audiences.

Likewise, you might’ve experienced so much abroad that it may be difficult to accurately explain all the feelings you. It can also be difficult to explain all of the sites that you have seen. The feeling that you can’t get people to understand it is quite common. Share your stories with other returnees. Another thing that could help you to better express and explain your experiences is journaling.

Relationships might have changed and you might feel reverse homesickness

You will likely miss the host culture if you grew to love it and if you’ve made good friends. To make this experience less painful, make sure to keep in touch with them via email or an online messaging application. This could also help you to find and befriend people that came to your country from your host country.

You will see that time hasn’t stopped for the people back home. They have likely also undergone some changes as you have abroad. You may also find that you relate to other people in a different way, however positive or negative that may be. This is completely normal. However, do not lose sight of the reasons why you were close to the person primarily.

People might misinterpret the changes you have undergone

Changes in your behavior and ideas might be upsetting to some people. These feelings of negativity are often rooted in inferiority, jealousy, or superiority. To make this phase pass quickly, be prepared to explain these changes in a non-defensive and humble way. On the other hand, you might be thinking more critically when seeing some aspects of your home culture. You might even notice behavior in other people that you haven’t before. Remember that you had to go through the same thing when you have visited your host country. You will gradually realize the strengths and weaknesses of both cultures, and gain a more balanced perspective.

A man walking in the sun
Stay humble when you share your experience with other people, and have the patience to explain to them your new views.

In conclusion

There are a lot of things to take into account when dealing with reverse culture shock. It can be quite draining and lead to emotional distress and is a matter that should be dealt with quickly. To reduce this stress around the move, contact EasyMove KW to take care of your moving needs. They will be able to do most of the moving and packing for you.