lone man nature mountains lake
  • Publish Date: Posted 8 months ago

Reverse Culture Shock And How To Combat It

Coming HomeCulture shock in a new country is a regular occurrence while travelling on a foreign assignment, and it is even expected as part of the process. Many employers are aware of this and provide for their employees, such as pre-assignment 'look-see' tours and cultural training to help them feel at ease in their new surroundings. But what happens after the assignment is completed? Coming home is typically assumed to be a simple procedure, but this is not always the case.Many assignees experience reverse culture shock, which makes returning home equally as tough, if not more difficult, than leaving in the first place. Various unpleasant emotions can develop after the initial high of returning to your family, friends, and 'old' life.Out of TouchA long-term assignment can continue for years; you return home to a location that should be familiar but has changed dramatically. You may have missed important events such as weddings, births, and even deaths, leaving you feeling disconnected. Former co-workers may have moved on, and returning to an unfamiliar setting can make you feel alienated.Even seemingly insignificant events, such as changes in road layout or the closure of your favourite local corner shop, can be alienating. Many expats return home and begin to perceive their home culture through new eyes, recognising 'negatives' that they had previously overlooked or believing that their former life is dull in comparison to their thrilling journey overseas.Return VisitsAlthough reverse culture shock can be distressing, there are actions and practices that can help make the shift smoother. Employers can help alleviate work-related repatriation stress by scheduling a quick visit to the workplace before the final transfer to reconnect with old co-workers and meet those who have joined the company while you were away. Meeting with your supervisors and HR to discuss your new career might also help you feel prepared for your return to your previous workplace.Taking InitiativeReturning expats can help themselves combat reverse culture shock by taking action outside of work. Something as easy as one last visit to a favourite restaurant or holding a farewell party with friends and co-workers might make saying goodbye easier and build joyful memories of the leaving rather than anguish and worry. It's also a good idea to keep in touch with pals in the 'host' country. Returning expats can also bring some aspects of their expat life home with them.Perhaps you started cooking local food, learned a new hobby or language, or bought a piece of art or furniture that reminds you of your time abroad? Many returning expats believe they are not the same person they were before they went, so why should they abandon their new hobbies once they return home?Keep Expectations in CheckManaging expectations before returning home is one of the simplest methods to help lessen the sensation of reverse culture shock. Anticipate that things will be different and that an adjustment period will be necessary, and be realistic. If an assignee can adapt to a completely other culture, they will very surely adapt to returning to their home culture.

Share this Article
Back to Blogs

Coming Home

Culture shock in a new country is a regular occurrence while travelling on a foreign assignment, and it is even expected as part of the process. Many employers are aware of this and provide for their employees, such as pre-assignment 'look-see' tours and cultural training to help them feel at ease in their new surroundings. But what happens after the assignment is completed? Coming home is typically assumed to be a simple procedure, but this is not always the case.

Many assignees experience reverse culture shock, which makes returning home equally as tough, if not more difficult, than leaving in the first place. Various unpleasant emotions can develop after the initial high of returning to your family, friends, and 'old' life.

Out of Touch

A long-term assignment can continue for years; you return home to a location that should be familiar but has changed dramatically. You may have missed important events such as weddings, births, and even deaths, leaving you feeling disconnected. Former co-workers may have moved on, and returning to an unfamiliar setting can make you feel alienated.

Even seemingly insignificant events, such as changes in road layout or the closure of your favourite local corner shop, can be alienating. Many expats return home and begin to perceive their home culture through new eyes, recognising 'negatives' that they had previously overlooked or believing that their former life is dull in comparison to their thrilling journey overseas.

Return Visits

Although reverse culture shock can be distressing, there are actions and practices that can help make the shift smoother. Employers can help alleviate work-related repatriation stress by scheduling a quick visit to the workplace before the final transfer to reconnect with old co-workers and meet those who have joined the company while you were away. Meeting with your supervisors and HR to discuss your new career might also help you feel prepared for your return to your previous workplace.

Taking Initiative

Returning expats can help themselves combat reverse culture shock by taking action outside of work. Something as easy as one last visit to a favourite restaurant or holding a farewell party with friends and co-workers might make saying goodbye easier and build joyful memories of the leaving rather than anguish and worry. It's also a good idea to keep in touch with pals in the 'host' country. Returning expats can also bring some aspects of their expat life home with them.

Perhaps you started cooking local food, learned a new hobby or language, or bought a piece of art or furniture that reminds you of your time abroad? Many returning expats believe they are not the same person they were before they went, so why should they abandon their new hobbies once they return home?

Keep Expectations in Check

Managing expectations before returning home is one of the simplest methods to help lessen the sensation of reverse culture shock. Anticipate that things will be different and that an adjustment period will be necessary, and be realistic. If an assignee can adapt to a completely other culture, they will very surely adapt to returning to their home culture.

Latest Blogs

View All Blogs
Digital Nomads working abroad international move relocation
What Motivates Individuals to Move to a New Country?

​82% of employers in the US anticipate an increase in foreign employees over the next 12 months. This begs the question: “What would motivate you to make an international move?”. Secondly, given re...

Pexels Engin Akyurt 2098578
Alchemy Global Talent Solutions Announced as Winner of Outstanding International Recruitment Firm of the Year

​Alchemy Global Talent Solutions is very proud to be announced as the winner of Outstanding International Recruitment Firm of the year at the INT-X Awards 2022. It is an honour to be recognised...

Remote Team Working Work From Home
What is an Employer of Record?

​The best prospects aren't always in the best places. Attracting the right talent can be as simple as offering the correct packages to encourage the “work from anywhere” culture. Many global ...

Cube Digital Art Nft
NFT Art Explained: Part One

​In 2022, NFTs, bitcoin, cryptocurrency and blockchain seem to be words present in every conversation on technology, art or futurism. Galleries and Auction houses are setting up their very own NF...

green apartment building plants
Is Corporate Housing Becoming More Eco-Friendly?

Eco Issues in HospitalityClimate change and environmental issues are global issues. With massive volumes of garbage generated, energy consumed, and disposable goods, the hotel business has a signif...

green front door yellow front door
Dual Citizenship - Two Passports Are Better Than One

What is Dual CitizenshipIf you have dual citizenship, you are a citizen of two different countries at the same time. Citizenship of a second country is normally obtained by parentage, birthplace, o...

latte art heart blue cup and saucer
Check In On Your Employee’s Wellbeing And Improve Their Productivity

​2020 and 2021 have been a whirlwind for all, we have said goodbye to life as we know it and have had to adapt to the realisation that we are in a global pandemic and things may never be the same a...

speech bubble cards
Moving Overseas? Here Are Some Tips For Learning The Language

Moving to a different country is an exciting experience that also provides an excellent opportunity to learn new life skills, such as learning a new language. This may appear to be a difficult unde...

woman purple lights background silhouette
Artificial Intelligence And The Risk To The Immigration Sector

​It's no longer a science fiction fantasy...Artificial intelligence (AI) was once a sci-fi fantasy of the future; now, it is a functioning and ever-increasing part of numerous industries, including...

young couple hot air balloons adventure
5 Tips For Relocating Overseas

​Every year, people relocate abroad, but many do not feel prepared before the move, and it can take a long time for them to settle in once they arrive... Feeling homesick or going through culture s...

young professional man working at laptop
When To Consider Using An Employer Of Record

​What exactly is an Employer Of Record?Many of us have never even heard of an EOR, let alone used one's services. So, what exactly is an EOR, and why should you use one?Employer of Record (EOR) ref...

rubber ducks at sea
Overboard! When Shipping Containers Are Lost At Sea

​According to estimates, over 10,000 shipping containers are lost at sea each year; however, accurate figures are difficult to come by because not all losses are reported.With the rise in consumer ...

antique fine art green vase
Auction Houses vs Online Bidding

High-end retailers and luxury brands have been hesitant to offer their items online in the past, and have avoided using digital selling platforms. This is a deliberate decision taken by powerful fi...