Reverse Culture Shock is Real
This year has gone by too quickly and now I only have two weeks left in Pune! My host parents left yesterday to see their daughter in the U.S. and it was the first of many goodbyes. I cried obviously, I absolutely hate goodbyes. It was so hard to say goodbye to them. They are a part of my family now and they have done so much for me the entire year that I was in Pune. I could not be more greatful to them. I am not looking forward to the rest of the goodbyes that I have to say. I am also trying to prepare myself to adjusting to life back in the U.S and dealing with reverse culture shock.
A lot of people think, "oh reverse culture shock won't affect me, I am ready to go back home" or "Nah, that won't happen" but trust me it is REAL. I was able to go back home during the break in December. I also was under the impression that I wouldn't experience reverse culture shock but it definitely happened. I was in the grocery store shopping with my family, and I was so confused and worried that all of the vegetables were SO HUGE. I was in the aisle staring at these vegetables saying,"WHY ARE THEY SO BIG?!" I also went through a lot of emotional tolls with my family because the reverse culture shock was a bit overwhelming. Here are some symptoms you might experience of reverse culture shock.
- Change in values, goals, priorities, and attitudes.
- Feelings of isolation or depression.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Reverse Homesickness (missing people and places from abroad)
- Negativity towards your native culture.
This may seem overwhelming to read and you may not be looking forward to it, but here are some things that I suggest to help you when you are experiencing reverse culture shock
1. SELF CARE
I know I talk about self care a lot, but it is so important. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself, whatever that looks like for you. Maybe meditating, watching netflix, hanging out with friends, reading a book. Do something that you want to do or that your body said that you need to do.
2. Talk with Family And Friends
When I went home, I let my friends and family know how I was feeling or what I was going to go through for sometime. Letting the people know who are most important to you that you are going through or maybe going through a difficult time is important. You will need their support to help you get through it.
3. Talk with your Study Abroad Buds
I don't know about you, but I am definetally going to miss the wonderful people in my program this semester. Talking to them will not only fill the reverse homesickness void, but help you feel validated. They are going through the same thing that you are going through. They would understand better than anyone how you are feeling. Talking to them will help you feel supported as well.
Just know that all of this is normal and you are not the only one going through what you are going through.
I know that this time it is definetally going to be different because India as I have said has become a part of me. I am not ready to leave whatsoever but I am reminded of the wisdom of one of the wisest wizards I know Gandalf:
"Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the sea comes the end of our fellowship in middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep for not all tears are an evil."
I hope you take not only this advice, but the wise words of Gandalf at heart.