What is a reverse culture shock and how to deal with it?

Many people travel overseas for various reasons. Some may relocate permanently, so they need shipping and logistics, others may just go on a business trip. However, spending time abroad affects people differently. Without a doubt, everyone who ever had a chance to go abroad experienced some sort of a change. Choosing to adapt to a new environment, embracing the culture and tradition, is just accommodating to the new surroundings. But, it’s important to reiterate that this has a different impact on each person. Even more so when people go back to their homeland. That’s the moment most people feel what’s often referred to as a reverse culture shock.

The key points of a (reverse) culture shock

Before getting into details about what a reverse culture shock is, we have to emphasize its difference from the regular state of a culture shock. First of all, the second one is a state that occurs once a person gets a chance to travel to another country and experience a different culture, habits, language, and behavior. More often than not, that experience could result in a person feeling confused, uncertain, or even anxious due to that. Moreover, this occurrence is followed by the sadness one feels from being separated from the close ones and from the homeland itself. Nevertheless, these feelings don’t really have to occur in that order. One might even feel the positive effects of this setup. In the end, it all depends on the person’s state of mind.

Surprised man
That is a normal feeling most people experience after coming back home.

In case you’re relocating to another country, you might experience the state of a culture shock. But, that doesn’t mean you will necessarily experience the above-mentioned feelings. It all varies from one person to another. If you do need help to transfer your belongings to a new country, logistics companies in Saudi Arabia will gladly step in to help.

What is the main difference between a culture shock and a reverse culture shock?

Since everyone knows about the term culture shock, it’s interesting to see that not many people know about the term dominantly called reverse culture shock. That’s because more people are leaving their countries and intend on staying abroad for as long as they can. That can sometimes even be the case if they are moving overseas with small children. It’s actually a very specific situation since children most often can’t experience that state. But when it comes to grownups, the situation is a bit more complexed.

So, to define a thing referred to as reverse culture shock, it’s necessary to explain how the relocation might affect a person. When someone decides to relocate abroad, for whatever reason, they usually encounter aspects of a different culture in another country. How the person reacts to these circumstances, plays a major role in their future life there. Thus, if a person feels euphoric, excited, and happy, they will most likely overcome the state of culture shock easier than those that experience negative aspects of it. After a while, a person who fully adapted to their new environment, who came to work and make prospects in another country might feel the need to go back home. That’s when the state of a culture shock occurs.

Dealing with the reverse culture shock – positive and negative aspects

Thanks to the rise of globalization and the demand on the market, it’s becoming a practice for people to relocate overseas for work purposes. Even though that is an experience of a lifetime, many people come back home after a few years and experience the state of reverse culture shock. It is interesting to note that all these people deal with one state, also called the culture shock, and then come home to experience a reversed one. That could affect one’s state of mind. However, most commonly, people considered it a positive experience overall. In case you’re moving to KSA this year, you might experience something similar to this.

A man with a sign
We know it can be a confusing experience.

Despite the fact that people sometimes reluctantly leave their countries to work overseas, they manage to adjust to the local mentality and the way of life. Still, once they arrive back home, it’s pretty common for them to feel difficult to readjust to their old environment. That might happen as a result of years spent abroad where people had to adapt to something new. All of a sudden, when they go back home, they might feel as if they missed out a lot at their home. Sometimes, they even think that they don’t fit in anymore. The greater the amount of time they spent abroad, the greater the reverse culture shock will be. Here are some typical feelings of this state:

  • Uncertainty
  • Insecurity
  • Sense of unfamiliar
  • Feeling as if people missed out a lot
  • Thinking they don’t belong anymore

Overcoming the negative aspects

There are great ways to overcome this state a person feels. None of it requires any type of therapy. But, if someone needs to go to therapy, they should know there is no need to feel insecure or bad about it. It’s completely normal. Believe it or not, once people adapt to their new environment, they start to feel pretty good in their skin. And then, after a while, they might feel almost as bad as they were in the beginning, once they get back home. To stop the state of a reverse culture shock, people should:

  • Understand and accept the change in their personality
  • Connect and stay in touch with people abroad
  • Keep their memories alive
  • Talk openly and publicly about the positivity of that experience
  • Turning into a tourist at home and exploring it from a different perspective
Man reading newspaper
After a while, you will readapt.

Embracing the positivity

Finally, you see that there is nothing that critical about a reverse culture shock. In fact, many people feel this state after coming back home. In case you’re living in KSA and then relocating abroad for any reason, bear in mind you should appreciate the experience you will gain along the way. That is the most interesting thing. Also, you will come across many people who are going through something similar. Embrace the change.

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