Re-Entry 101

Stop Commiserating About Reverse Culture Shock and Start Unpacking Your Re-entry Backpack!

Have you ever noticed that conversations about re-entry tend to devolve into commiserating?

I have. In fact, I was guilty of this habit for maaaany years. My re-entry conversations often went like this:

Me:          Re-entry is hard.
Friend:    Agreed. It sucks.
Me:         *sigh* I wish I were still abroad.
Friend:    Me too.I wish I didn’t live here. I liked living abroad much better.
Me:        Me, too. Nobody understands me here. 
Friend:    Same here. I’m so unhappy here. *sigh* Re-entry sucks.
Me:     Yep, it sure does.

Ok, so my conversations weren’t exactly like that, but you get the idea.

There’s nothing wrong with a little commiserating. It’s a relief when you find someone who gets what you’re going through, especially when you feel like nobody else understands! You feel seen, heard, and validated. And that’s important.

The problem? It’s incredibly easy to make commiserating a habit or for it to even become an addiction of sorts. While commiserating may feel good initially, after a certain point, you’re pretty much just digging yourself into a deep, dark hole that gets hard and harder to get out of.  

The more you focus on what’s wrong with everyone and everything at “home,” the less likely you are to see career, relationship, travel, and other life opportunities that align with who you are and what you want your life to be like now. The more negative you are, the less likely others will want to be around you. And the more distance you feel between you and others in your life, the worse you’ll feel. It’s becomes a downward spiral.

I don’t want this to happen to you!

Here’s something you can do instead: unpack your re-entry backpack!

If you’ve ever been in one of my webinars, read my book or participated in one of my mastermind groups, you’re familiar with the concept of the re-entry backpack!

Basically, it’s a mental backpack you carry around and in which you accumulate invisible “re-entry rocks” – which are all those unprocessed pieces of the re-entry transition that over time weigh you down and make re-entry work against you.

The way to make re-entry — or forward entry, as I prefer to call it! — work FOR you?

Unpack that backpack!

How? That’s a MUCH bigger topic than we can get into here but the key is figuring out who you are, what and who is most important to you, and what you want your life to be like now.

I have lots of activities in my workbook that help you unpack your backpack, and it’s a big part of what we do in my group programs and coaching. You can also get started with our free Quickstart Guide for Re-entry – sign up below to download it!

Get Our FREE Re-entry Guide!

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About Author

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.