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Coming back from a foreign country can lead to what is commonly referred to as “return culture shock”. It may take some adjustment to get back to your ordinary routine. The following is information on how to readjust to being back home.
Having a proper goodbye can be essential to ending your trip on a high note. If you want to stay in contact with the new friends you’ve made, be sure to exchange phone numbers and/or emails. Emailing can be an easy, cost-efficient way to stay in touch.
Capturing the memory of the people and places on your trip can make leaving easier. Take a picture with the people you’ll be leaving behind as a memorable souvenir.
Pictures aren’t the only souvenirs. Buying little trinkets and memorabilia during your trip can be a good way to keep the experience with you.
Return Culture Shock
Return culture shock is the psychological, emotional, and cultural aspects of reentry. It can cause symptoms such as: boredom, reverse homesickness, feelings of isolation, and more. Learning to deal with reverse culture shock will get you back on track with your life in America.
If you are feeling down or alone, NWACC provides free counseling to students.
Taking your new interests from your trip and incorporating them into your life at home can bridge the gap between there and here. Join a new club, take a new class, or master a new hobby.
One club that you can join is the Citizens of the World club. You’ll get a chance to talk to people from all over the world as well as other study abroad students. Speaking to other students that have the same experiences as you can give you a chance to share your stories.
Sharing Your Experiences
When you get back from your study abroad trip, you will have a multitude of stories you’re just dying to share. What often happens is that students will share too much and too often. People will want to hear about your trip, just not all the time. Try to be conscious of other people’s time and feelings when sharing your experiences.
Volunteering to assist the Study Abroad department with recruiting future study abroad students and sharing information about future trips can give you an opportunity to share your experiences and make new friends with similar interests.
If you need another outlet to share your experiences, try a journal or blog! Writing it down can be a great way to get all those pent up stories out and people all over the world love to read about travel experiences.
Family and Friends
Catching up with your family and friends will probably be high on your list once you’re home. Students often forget that while they were gone, life at home kept going. This can lead to your friends and family being on a different schedule than you.
When coming home, be sure to give your family and friends a heads up of your return if possible. If they’re aware you are coming home, it can be easier once you get back. In case your family or friends have changed their routine while you were gone, try accompanying their schedule and joining their activities.
As is recommended when leaving the country, you should try to stay awake until the customary bedtime in the current time zone. This forces your body to adjust to America's sleep schedule after being abroad.
In addition, be sure to wake up at the customary time as well. Set multiple alarms to be sure you wake up on time.
If you need, 20 minute naps can be a great way to get the rest you need while adjusting to America’s sleep schedule.
Catching up with School
If you are taking multiple summer classes, you may need to catch up with the work and learn what you missed while you were away. Have a talk with your professors before you leave and after you get back so you can stay on track with your courses.
Some other good ideas would be to get notes from a classmate and ask for extra copies of any handouts.
Once you’re back, you’ll need to make sure that the course you chose to accompany your trip transferred back successfully, both at NWACC and at your chosen transfer institute, if applicable.
Once you’ve found that perfect place to eat, play, or relax abroad, it’s hard to be without it once you’re home. If so, find a place in your area that is similar to what you found abroad.
Unpacking can be key to transitioning back to life at home. When you get home, put away clothes and your suitcase as soon as you can to fully settle into life back here.
It’s recommended that you set up a doctor’s appointment before you leave, and it is just as important to schedule one when you get back. It is not uncommon to get sick upon return, and your doctor can help you weather illness.