How to Get Over Reverse Culture Shock After Studying AbroadJanuary 31, 2019

You're happy and proud to finish your studies in another country, if not spend a year away from home. You have done it, but you didn't expect the reverse culture shock.

You won't compare it with studying in a British university, even if it can take a while to get used to the gray sky. You wouldn't know, though. (Your mother's parents happen to be immigrants from York.) You learn a foreign language, which you can find it useful if you decide to pursue a graduate degree. You would discover your creative side, which makes you appreciate the historic landmarks. It's not that Oz doesn't have lots of places of interest, but you think of Disneyland for art and history lovers. All of these should make you look at your neighbourhood differently. You don't feel like you belong there. You're not even delighted to be back in your own room. And your parents seem like strangers. You're not the only one who is feeling this way. As a matter of fact, it's a phase that Aussies go through after the time away from Australia.

There's no reason to panic about your situation, as you have achieved a milestone in your (young) life. It calls for a celebration, but it won't be fireworks. (Australia Day is over.) You can try BBQ once more, but you're thinking of something else. You forgot the laid-back culture that defines this part of the world. You need to take it slow, if not welcome the lazy day. If your (old) mates look at you strangely, then tell them to give you some time. You need it, as you must confront your idealised concept of a home.

You may not be struggling with homesickness, yet you feel like you step backward. Make it several steps (backward), though. It's not a bad thing, as you have gone places. And an open mind should make you get over this phase sooner or later. You don't want to think (and idle) too long, as the summer season may be over before you have come up with a concrete plan.

10 Ways to Readjust at Home

Get over your jet lag sooner. Sleeping should help you get over it sooner. And you have lots of time for it.

Inject some of the things that you love abroad into your room. You can post postcards, also photos of your coursemates. It's a reminder that you can visit it again. You may not see your mates, but it can be arranged. You may want to try a new hobby, which is something you have learned abroad. Go for it.

Spend some time with your (old) mates. You might end up with spending more time with them once more. It will be better to start it as soon as possible. Emails, chats, and phone calls won't be substitutes. There would be changes, which means one or two people, whom you used to spend often with, have drifted for some reason(s). It happens to everyone. All is not lost, though.

Spend more time with your parents. Studying abroad should make you independent, but you must put it in perspective. You have nowhere to go at this moment, and you can’t pay the bills and rent. Yet. You miss your folks (whether you admit it or not). The feeling is mutual.

Relish home-cooked meals. It’s better than what you’ve been eating in student halls. And it’s not a good substitute for fast food meals.

Find a part-time job. There's no rush to join the work force, yet you must be sensible and responsible at this stage. There's no pressure to look for a job that is related to your field of expertise, as you must hone those soft skills that will come in handy later. Your income, however small it is, can go a long way.

Do something different. The time you spend away should make you open to new experiences. You won't find it if you don't step outside your comfort zone.

Shake off that feeling of alienation. You won't forget the friendly faces in your hometown. It's not the only one, but you don't want to think that you have come from a less-friendly land. Nothing can beat the (Aussie) sunshine, but the waves would be another thing. Going back to Bali is not on your list.

Tranquil walks make you feel better. The demanding nature of your coursework would make you restless during your idle moments. And it can cause a serious problem. If you take a walk, and long walks if you can, then you wouldn’t get frustrated about your inability to find a cure for your restlessness.

Indulge in everything you love about home. You might skip reading after reminiscing the number of times that you procrastinate (to beat the deadline for your assignments). You have little (or no time) for Reading Week, but you have mastered the art of cramming and multitasking. If you have a pet, then you know where to turn your attention. It’s also the right time to clean your room, making new arrangements along the way.

Finding Your New Normal

What you have read might not be sufficient, but you can compare it to a learning curve. Some might take longer, but the outcome could turn out to be more rewarding than they expect. The same thing applies here.

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