Reverse-Culture shock

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Re-entry shock, what it is and how to prepare yourself for returning to your home culture.

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Reverse-Culture shock

  1. 1. Reverse- Culture Shock What to expect and how to prepare for going home.
  2. 2. T.S. Eliot “We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
  3. 3. Living Abroad… • When we are confronted with conflicting values or views of the world we must either accept or reject what we are seeing. • Living in another culture can be a profound experience that causes us to grow rapidly, more so than if we had remained in a familiar environment.
  4. 4. Culture Shock (in host country) Honeymoon phase • Differences seen in a romantic light, fascinated by new culture (enjoy new pace of life, food, local habits). • Associate with host nationals • Full of observation and discovery
  5. 5. Negotiation Phase • Differences between cultures become apparent • Excitement gives way to anxiety, frustration, anger and/or depression due to events that appear strange, foreign or offensive • Students may feel more pressure, lack of parental support • Language barrier or communication difficulties may lead to sleep disruptions and negatively affect relationship formation
  6. 6. Adjustment Phase • Grow accustom to the new culture and develop routines • Concerned with basic living as things appear more ‘normal’ • Develop problem solving skills • Accept new culture with a positive attitude, negative attitudes reduced
  7. 7. Mastery Phase • Able to participate fully and comfortably in the host culture • Biculturalism: integrating with new culture while maintaining important traits from original culture
  8. 8. Re-entry •Consider your expectations: What do you expect will happen when you return home?
  9. 9. Re-entry Shock • An idealized view of home • The expectation of total familiarity (that nothing at home has changed while you have been away)
  10. 10. Coping Styles (Nancy Adler, 1981) • The resocialized students wholly readjust to their home culture rather than incorporate the experiences from their travels abroad. They remove themselves from their foreign experience.
  11. 11. Alienated Coping • The alienated person rejects the home environment and consequently fails to continue to grow from the foreign experience.
  12. 12. Rebellious Coping • The rebellious type reacts to the home environment by trying to control it and change it in unrealistic ways.
  13. 13. Proactive Coping • The proactive individual is one who grows from the foreign experience even after returning home and maximizes learning.
  14. 14. Being proactive means being prepared • Get organized: Keep a calendar with important dates. Schedule time out for exercise, activities unrelated to academics, and for cooking and eating healthy foods. • Journal your thoughts and emotions or share your experience through writing contests, photo contests, being an active alumni, etc.
  15. 15. Symptoms of Reverse- Culture shock • Restlessness, rootlessness • Reverse homesickness-missing people and places from abroad • Boredom, insecurity, uncertainty, confusion, fr ustration • Need for excessive sleep • Change in goals or priorities
  16. 16. Symptoms of Reverse- Culture shock • Feelings of alienation or withdrawal • Negativity towards American behavior • Feelings of resistance toward family and friends • People at home do not appear to think beyond the US bubble
  17. 17. Symptoms of Reverse- Culture shock • You can’t fully articulate your experience
 • Relationships have changed
 • Homesickness for your host country
 • People misunderstand or don’t want to hear
  18. 18. Stages: Disengagement • Begins before leaving when you realize it’s time to say goodbye to new home and friends • Hurried departure may lead to feelings of sadness or frustration with little time for reflection
  19. 19. Initial Euphoria •Begins shortly before departure and is marked by excitement and anticipation about returning home
  20. 20. Irritability and hostility • Frustration, anger, depression, alienation, lone liness, disorientation and/or helplessness (without understanding why) • Feel like a stranger at home and/or less independent • Quickly irritated with others and U.S. culture • Longing to return abroad
  21. 21. Readjustment and Adaption • Begin to fall back into some old routines (but things won't be exactly the same) • See things differently based on new attitudes, beliefs, habits and personal and professional goals
  22. 22. Total Adjustment • Learn to incorporate personal changes into new goals and ideas that don’t negate your own culture’s norms and values • Attain a balance between both cultures
  23. 23. Surviving Reverse Culture Shock One of the best ways to get through reverse culture shock is to anticipate it. Don't think "it will never happen to me." You're going to go through a process of making your new life mesh with your old life. Every country has a different approach to life, and adjusting can be difficult if you're used to a different set of social norms. Integrate the best aspects of your abroad culture with your old culture.
  24. 24. Consider Expectations • Discard unrealistic expectations and try to formulate those experienced by most people when they make major life changes. • You’ve changed, but people expect you to be the same.
  25. 25. Examine your values • Think about your personal values and the values of your home and host cultures. • Activities that help you understand your host culture will also help you understand your home culture better.
  26. 26. Avoid the "grass is always greener" syndrome • It is easy to dramatize how wonderful your return home will be. It is similarly easy, when you've returned home, to over-romanticize your experience abroad. • Be careful not to make a habit of scapegoating: blaming others for your readjustment problems. Neither life here nor there is ever perfect.
  27. 27. Relationships • If parents, siblings, or friends express bewilderment or annoyance with your behavior after you've returned home, this could be a signal that you're either experiencing reverse culture shock or that your personality has changed as a result of being abroad.
  28. 28. Revive relationships • Realize that even if you’ve kept in touch with your friends, they will seem different when you return. You all have changed and had unique experiences during the time you were apart. Maybe she was studying abroad, too. Or maybe he met the love of his life in the university library while you were gone. You may need to adjust to interacting in different ways, but the distance you feel isn't permanent.
  29. 29. Communication reduces Reverse-culture shock • Explain reverse-culture shock to friends and family, and tell them this is what you're experiencing. If they know what is happening to you and that you're simply in the middle of the readjustment process, they can be more supportive and understanding of what you're going through.
  30. 30. Maintain language proficiency • Enroll in a foreign language course or join a conversation club. • Rent Italian movies and foreign films. • Stay connected to the world through global news networks and newspapers with a global focus (The Economist, BBC, Italian newspapers, bloggers and magazines like Internazionale).
  31. 31. Tips & Tactics • Remember the coping strategies you developed overseas and use them. • Consider volunteering as a peer advisor for your home university’s study abroad office. • Join an international club in your community. • Plan your next trip abroad.
  32. 32. Tips & Tactics • Keep your sense of humor. • Be flexible and open-minded. • Focus on the positive aspects of returning home. • Practice patience with yourself and others. • Appreciate the rare privilege of having two "homes."
  33. 33. Surviving Reverse Culture Shock “You may have internalized some of your abroad country's philosophies, which could conflict with U.S. ways of life. When I returned from abroad, I had the hardest time being on time for anything. I was always five, ten, or fifteen minutes late. In Ireland, this was never a problem. In fact, it was expected. I was slightly puzzled as to why my American friends were upset with my lateness. I had forgotten that in the U.S. being on time is highly important. Americans are obsessed with their wristwatches.” -Erin E. Sullivan
  34. 34. Tips & Tactics • You may find that you tire easily, both physically and mentally, so don’t take on too much too soon. • Your old time and stress management tricks may no longer work, so explore other options. • Even if you can roll out of bed and go to class, you may find yourself missing your walk to school each day. So get up and go for a walk before your day begins. • If your values and beliefs have changed, learn to incorporate your new way of thinking into your life.
  35. 35. Surviving Reverse Culture Shock “College libraries were not open on the weekends while I was in Dublin; when I returned home, I decided that I would continue to stay out of the libraries on the weekend. I had adopted the Irish sentiment that visiting a library on a weekend was a ridiculous idea!” -Erin E. Sullivan
  36. 36. Tips & Tactics • Apply new skills that you learned while abroad. • Refrain from bombarding your friends and family with nonstop pictures, anecdotes, or perspectives of your host country. • Talk to others who have studied abroad and have already successfully readapted.
  37. 37. “Forewarned is Forearmed.” •Anticipation of stressful events and specific difficulties can help a person rehearse for the actual situations, should they arise… •Role-plays
  38. 38. Further Resources • The Art of Coming Home, by Craig Sorti. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press, 1997. • So You're Coming Home, by J. Stewart Black and Hal Gregersen. Global Business Publisher, 1999. • Students Abroad: Strangers at Home, by Norman Kauffman, Judith Martin, and Henry Weaver. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press, 1992. • Strangers at Home: Essays on the Effects of Living Overseas and Coming "Home" to a Strange Land, ed. by Carolyn Smith. Aletheia Publishers, 1996.

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