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The time is drawing close for students studying or working abroad to move back home. As the season of summer begins, students who have spent three years studying abroad suddenly find themselves packing to mark the end of university. Intern ships are drawing to an end and people may be asking themselves whether they are ready to go home.
Most people have heard of the term culture shock and will probably experience it at some point in their lives. It’s something to expect when moving abroad to a country that is vastly different than your own. But what many expats don’t realise is that reverse culture shock also exists. Reverse culture shock, is the shock received upon returning home again. It can be quite difficult to deal with.
Just as it takes time to assimilate into the new culture and country you are moving to, it will also take some time to adapt back into your home life. It’s a common misconception that moving back home will be incredibly easy, because you have lived there before. Moving back into a certain type of house, registering the kids for school again, registering at your local medical centre because you are no longer relying on expat medical insurance and socialising with old peers can be hard. Your entire life has to be unpacked, new jobs secured and accommodation found.
It can be argued that expatriates that return home early due to factors such as medical problems, family issues or lack of finance, find it more challenging. Moving home prematurely means having to repatriate earlier than you may have originally intended to and this can add to the shock factor. Symptoms of reverse culture shock typically include:
This is because you would have undoubtedly grown in different ways whilst living abroad. Your perception about yourself and your environment will have changed whilst living in another country and therefore, home may not be as familiar as it once was. It is not uncommon to find yourself out of tune with the people you were once very close with and this is because home, along with its residents, has changed.
Things that were once familiar and comforting are not any more. Expatriates bring new views of the world and new ways of life back home and this can make it tricky to pick up old relationships. Body language can be different and streets and houses can feel alienating.
There are a few things you can do to make repatriation a little easier:
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Expatriate Group & Expatriate Healthcare are trading styles of Strategic Insurance Services Limited who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). FCA Firm reference Number is 307133. Strategic Insurance Services Limited is authorised to carry on Regulated Activities in accordance with the permissions granted by the FCA under PART IV of the Financial Services and Markets ACT 2000.