Reverse Culture Shock
If you’re someone who has moved away from home for an extended period of time, either to another part of the country, or another country entirely, you may have some experience in reverse culture shock. While reverse culture shock typically isn’t associated with moving to another city within your country, it can certainly happen. For the purpose of this blog, we will focus on an international move from Canada. In a previous blog post, we touched on some of the best ways to get acclimated to a new city, and in turn help limit the effects of culture shock. While an international move from Canada may be a challenge, moving back to your home city after an extended period of time abroad can present similar issues and reverse culture shock can set in.
What is reverse culture shock?
If you’re someone who has accepted an international move from Canada, whether that be a personal move, or a move for work, upon your return, reverse culture shock (or re-entry shock) can be a struggle that you face assimilating back into your original city or country. The things that were once familiar to you before your international move from Canada are no longer normal. During your time away, the customs or daily routines that you adopted during your time away have become normal. For example, if you’ve been relocated to a place like Spain, you may have become accustomed to an afternoon siesta, which can be a nap, or extended lunch time. These could last anywhere from 1 – 3 hours during the afternoon. After a while, this becomes normal to you. Following your time abroad, you are relocated back to your home in Canada. You may experience some difficulty adjusting back to a normal lunch or 9-5 work day, which was normal for you before the relocation to Spain.
What symptoms are associated with reverse culture shock?
Returning home following an international move from Canada, can leave you feeling a myriad of emotions. This is common as you try to pick up where your life left off before your move. It is important that you understand that these feelings are normal, and understand what the symptoms are, so that you can work to overcome them. Some common symptoms include:
- Feeling isolated – Feeling as if you’re alone, and that you have no one to talk to, or relate to.
- Frustration – Things that were normal, or habitual before your move, no longer are.
- Negativity towards your home culture – Things seem more difficult than they were before your relocation.
- Boredom – Things aren’t as exciting as they abroad.
While there are more symptoms, these are some of the more common ones that people tend to experience upon return to their home country.
What can you do to help shorten the reverse culture shock cycle?
Following an international move from Canada, there are a couple of things that you can do to help mitigate the effects of reverse culture shock, or re-entry shock. Some of the activities that you can do include:
Share your experiences
While not everyone may want to hear about your entire time abroad, others will. Find people around you that you can share the experiences with, and who want to know about your adventures.
Write about your time abroad
Following the return from an international move from Canada, take some time to write about your experiences abroad. This can either be done through a blog, or through a personal journal. Writing can be a great way to put your experiences down so that they won’t be forgotten, and can also be a form of communication to allow you to share things with others.
Establish a schedule
One of the ways that people tend to begin to feel more comfortable is to get into a routine. Following an international move from Canada, upon your return home, try to develop a set schedule. Getting into a daily routine can help you become acclimated faster, and help you become comfortable again.
Coming home following an international move from Canada can certainly be tough. You have changed, and so have those that you were close with before your original relocation. While things may seem difficult, stay positive, and upbeat. Things will get better, and your old habits and routines will begin to feel more familiar to you as you assimilate back into your home. A positive attitude will help you look for the positives in situations, and can help you feel acclimated faster.
The old adage, laughter is the best medicine is certainly true in this instance. Laugh lots! This will help lighten the mood, and will help you retain a positive attitude and a positive outlook. While things may be frustrating as you adjust to life the way if used to be, laughing can help you enjoy the process. Make sure to laugh lots, and enjoy the ride!
In the same way that it is important to stay in touch with family following an international move from Canada, it is important to stay in touch with friends and connections from abroad. Keeping in touch with them can provide you with a fixed point, and some stability as you adjust to life back home. This will also allow you to retain and keep in touch with the cultures from abroad that may have become familiar and normal to you.
While re-entry shock can be a tough obstacle to overcome, and may look daunting, it will pass! Keeping a positive attitude and learning to laugh as you adjust to life as it once was is important. Family and friends can be great people to lean on as you work to assimilate back into life as it was before an international move from Canada. While adjusting to your old home may seem like a daunting task, especially for those that have lived abroad for a number of years, it will become normal again. Take your time, be patient and positive, and things will begin to feel normal again!
If you’re looking to move internationally, whether it be from Canada, or back home to Canada, make sure to give Quick Transfer a call. With a network of agents that span the globe, we can help you with any moving needs. Make sure to give us a call to see how we can help you with any moving needs that you may have!