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How to deal with a reverse culture shock

Reverse culture shock-2

We’ve read an interesting article on You can read the summary of this article below.

Many returning expats, or ‘repatriates’,  find it difficult to settle back into their old life. They often suffer feelings of marginalisation, self-doubt and even depression, says Craig Storti, an expert in repatriation and author of The Art of Coming Home. Repats often experience more intense culture shock returning home than that which they initially experienced when they moved abroad.

But what can you do about it? For some finding ways to ensure they’ll maintain a relationship with their expat life, the culture of their host country and the friends they have made abroad, has been key in helping with the transition. It is a good thing to prepare yourself for the move, says Nan Sussman, a professor of psychology at the College of Staten Island, who has studied repatriation. She advises asking yourself what elements of your expat experience and your new self you want to retain, and then working to incorporate these into your new daily life.

There’s much you can do to retain links with your former, short-term home to retain your new bicultural identity, Sussman says. “You can read the foreign newspaper, you can watch foreign movies, you can Skype with your friends.”

The three stages of repatriation

You can go home again, but it takes some adjusting.

  1. Enthusiasm and excitement: you’re glad to be home, to reconnect with loved ones and colleagues and you create a buzz when you enter a room after a long time away.
  2. Reverse culture shock: you experience stress fitting back into your old life, which can last six months to a year.
  3. Acceptance and adjustment: you’ve established new routines, made some progress at work, re-established relationships and feel like you belong.

(Source: Craig Storti, an expert in repatriation and author of The Art of Coming Home)

When it comes to children, Sussman says maintaining some sort of connection to the former host country might be especially important for some “third culture kids.” For many of these children, it’s important to remember that the time spent abroad might account for even more significant and formative portions of their lives and identity.

There are also a lot of professional benefits to keeping in touch with contacts from one’s former host country as well. “If the country you were in is strategically important to your corporation or division, or new job, it makes a lot of sense to stay in touch,” he says. “Part of your value to your company is that you have relationships there or cultural knowledge that might help. Maybe your company will want to expand there in the future and your contacts would obviously be invaluable.” Using the skills and cultural know-how acquired abroad is so important to repats that a common strategy for people moving home is to find a job that leverages their skills. This way you can prevent disappointment, frustration and a sense of diminishment. For some companies, that raises concerns about not being able to retain the people they’ve assigned to go abroad, who may come back and find they are dissatisfied with their new role in the company. At the same time, other companies might love to hire someone with that experience.

Source: BBC 

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How to deal with a culture shock

International relocation requires adaptability of you and your family. Experts give tips about the 5 stages in a culture shock, so you are well prepared.