Reverse Culture Shock
Returning home after a semester abroad is a crazy mix of feelings. It’s so exciting to see your family and friends after months of being away, but at the same time it is extremely difficult to say goodbye to the new relationships that you have created while abroad. Here are some tips to get through your reverse culture shock.
1) Make a list of the things you want to do a month before your semester is over. This way you can slowly check everything off instead of rushing to do everything in the last week.
2) Spend some quality time with your closest friends abroad. By the end of the semester I found myself hanging out with large groups of people, but I think it’s really important to get one-on-one time with the few people that made a lasting impact on your semester and life.
3) Instead of saying goodbye to all of your favorite things in your new city, say “I’ll see you later.” Leaving Barcelona was even harder than leaving home, because I didn’t know when I would have the chance to return. It could be 10 years from now, but saying I’ll see you later made it a lot easier to leave.
4) Once you are home, take it all in slowly. Weird things like being at a rest stop with fast food chains and even seeing US money freaked me out. It takes some time to get adjust to the American culture where bigger is better, so take baby steps when you first get back.
5) Keep yourself busy. I find myself getting sad and missing my life in Barcelona when I have nothing to do. So to avoid this, make lots of plans! Cook food from your host country, return to your favorite places in your home town. Do whatever you need to, to keep yourself happy and busy.
6) You will find yourself getting frustrated with your loved ones from home, because they won’t be able to understand your experiences abroad and how you have changed as a person. Just tell a few stories from your experience and keep some special memories to yourself. Also, try to find a friend that has studied abroad to compare your experiences and to talk to someone who understands what you have been through.
I encourage everyone to study abroad. I am so grateful for the experiences that I had while in Barcelona. I know I’ll be back some day. Good luck!