Many students prepare intensively for the culture shock challenge faced when leaving for an exchange in Ireland. However, what many do not expect is that the reverse culture shock, upon returning home, can also be challenging.
In this article, we’ll explore how to deal with this phenomenon in order to make the transition smoother and more meaningful. Good reading!
Understanding reverse culture shock
Reverse culture shock, also known as “return syndrome”, refers to students’ difficulty returning home after a long stay abroad.
It is the process of readapting to the culture, norms and routines of home, which can feel strange and uncomfortable after becoming accustomed to a different way of life.
Upon returning from an exchange in Ireland, for example, students may miss specific cultural aspects, such as the warm hospitality of the Irish, the vibrant nightlife of Dublin or the tranquillity of the Irish countryside.
The impact of reverse culture shock
Reverse culture shock can manifest itself in many ways, from feelings of displacement or estrangement to sadness, frustration, or confusion.
It’s expected that when you return, you feel different or out of place. It can be strange to go back to speaking Portuguese all the time or getting used to the differences in the pace of life and social mores.
Read also – What are the pros and cons of an exchange? Check out!
Strategies for dealing with reverse culture shock
While reverse culture shock can be disconcerting, there are several strategies that can help mitigate these feelings and ease the transition back to life at home. Let’s show some of them below!
Anticipation and preparation
Just as you prepared for the initial culture shock, prepare for the reverse. Research about it and talk to other students who have gone through this experience.
Reconnect with the local culture
Invest time in reconnecting with your local culture. This could include spending time with family and friends, picking up old hobbies and interests, or visiting favorite places.
Keeping in touch with Irish friends
Keeping in touch with friends and acquaintances made in Ireland can be a valuable way of maintaining a connection to the country’s culture.
Technology makes this very easy, through social networks, emails and video calls. And so the reverse culture shock will be less intense.
express your feelings
Sharing your experiences and feelings with friends and family can be very helpful. They may not fully understand what you are going through, but they can offer emotional support.
The value of reverse culture shock
While uncomfortable, this situation can also be a valuable opportunity for personal growth.
It helps to illuminate aspects of your own culture that you may not have been aware of before, and can make you appreciate even more the experiences and perspectives you gained during your time in Ireland.
Turning Experience into an Opportunity
A good way to deal with culture shock is to see it as an opportunity to share your newfound experiences and perspectives with others. This can be done through blogs, podcasts, or speaking at schools and universities.
Also, keeping Irish culture alive at home, whether it’s through cooking, listening to Irish music, or even hosting a St. Patrick’s Day, can be a great way to stay connected with Ireland.
Reverse culture shock is a common, if often unexpected, part of the exchange experience. By anticipating and preparing for it, you can smooth the transition and find ways to integrate your experiences in Ireland into your life at home.
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