Reverse culture shock

Reverse culture shock

You may experience challenges when adjusting back to your own culture and lifestyle after having adapted to another culture.

Thinking about adjusting to the return home, remember that:

  • You and your family and friends at home may not all hold the same expectations
  • Changes in your habits and way of thinking may cause friction between you and your family 
  • In the time you have been away, you have changed and they have changed and it is simply impossible to return to the way things were when you first departed.

Some of the differences you might encounter

  • Styles of dress.
  • The ways opinions are expressed or the appropriateness of expressing opinions.
  • The way women and men are expected to behave.
  • Bureaucratic procedures.
  • Verbal and nonverbal communication modes and mannerisms - those adopted in Vietnam may be misinterpreted by others at home.

Adjustment can be challenging but is positive because:

  • Many of the changes in you will be ones that you can celebrate as positive growth on a personal and intellectual level
  • Any feelings of discouragement or frustration when you return home are normal and will diminish as you adjust to life at home
  • You will build on the life skills you developed when you adjusted to Vietnam and will be better able to prepare and address potential problems than when you arrived.

It is important to:

  • Consider the positives and negatives about both your home country and Vietnam. The goal will be to integrate what you have learned here with what you know about your home and culture
  • Be prepared for some frustration in the transition from the freedoms of life as a student to the demands of a career
  • Take time to carefully consider things before making any life-changing decisions and seek out people who can understand your situation.