9 Tips for Making Reverse Culture Shock a Positive Experience After Being Abroad


Are you back from abroad and not having a great time in re-entry? Don’t despair! What you’re going through is completely normal. The good news is that there are things you can do to make the experience better! Here are nine tips for making re-entry and reverse culture shock after being abroad a (more) positive experience:

  1. RETURN home physically and mentallyOften times we’re back physically but our minds are still abroad. It’s hard to look forward when you’re focused on looking backwards!
  2. LOOK at re-entry as an opportunity to create a global life that you love at home and abroad. Yep, it’s totally possible to create an even better global life than the one you just had abroad. It may be different but different doesn’t automatically mean boring or “not abroad”!
  3. FIGURE OUT who you are now. Who are you, now that you’ve had an amazing experience abroad? What do you want your life to be like, now that you’ve lived and traveled abroad? This is the best starting place for finding your Re-Entry Relaunch.
  4. FIND someone to talk with who understands what you’re going through. Our Re-Entry Relaunchers Unite! Facebook group is a great place to start! 🙂
  5. REFLECT on what you’ve learned about yourself, your home, and the world. How has being abroad changed your perspectives?
  6. SHARE your abroad experiences. Whether in a Facebook group, a blog, via photos on Flickr or in a more formal talk at a school or club, find outlets for sharing what you’ve experienced and learned abroad.
  7. ENGAGE in fun activities that bring global into your home. Cook your favorite international dishes. Invite university international students over for dinner with your family. Watch movies in other languages on Netflix. There are so many options in today’s connected world!
  8. IDENTIFY your global life ingredients and use them as a compass to create your ideal global life.
  9. BE intentional about finding your next global adventure at home or abroad.

What would you add?

Here are some additional suggestions from Twitter friends:

  • I would add to never push aside your experiences as being past and not affecting you.
  • Be kind to yourself Give yourself time for re-entry Create routines doing things you enjoy, gym etc ()
  • Redirect frustration to gratitude for my own new awareness & expansion – choose the positive perspective. ()
  • Treat your re-entry as a new entry instead – give yourself time & patience to figure things out. ()
  • Be patient & kind w self, look for near you, express feelings thru ANY art–needn’t be “good.” ()
    And be sure to take a look at Deidra’s tips in the comments section below!

About the Author: Dr. Cate Brubaker

Dr. Cate Brubaker is on a mission to make re-entry after living abroad a positive, transformational force (even when it’s not easy…especially when it’s not easy)! Cate is the author of the Re-Entry Roadmap workbook and the Study Abroad Re-entry Toolkit. Cate has lived in Germany, worked and traveled in 37 countries on four continents, and has helped all kinds of globetrotters successfully navigate global transitions for over 20 years.

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2 thoughts on “9 Tips for Making Reverse Culture Shock a Positive Experience After Being Abroad”

  1. These are such useful things to think about, Cate. I’d add three more:

    1. NOTICE what you need right this moment. Pay attention to how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking, and ask yourself which of Cate’s suggestions you need to put into practice right now.

    2. SEE what’s happening around you. Sometimes when we’ve just had an amazing experience, or when we’re really nervous about what our next steps will be, we can get a little myopic. Being aware of what’s going on for other people can help us connect and give us perspective.

    3. APPRECIATE that adjusting takes time. Remember that feeling discombobulated is actually part of the process that will lead to you being and doing exactly what is right for you.

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