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Reverse Culture Shock Experiences?

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Reverse Culture Shock Experiences?

Post by Johnny » August 23rd, 2013, 7:17 pm

Did anyone here lived abroad for an extensive period of time and returned home experiencing severe case of reverse culture shock? What was it that you couldn't get used to when you returned to your homeland and also did you get a depress feeling in you once you land in America and got off the plane and feeling like u in the twilight zone.

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Post by Winston » August 23rd, 2013, 7:36 pm

Yes I think we all have, if we went overseas. The depressing things about coming back are:

1) Lack of soulful authentic people that you can talk to.
2) Women no longer being approachable and look like they think you're a creep.
3) Feeling of social disconnectedness, isolation and alienation.
4) The depressing empty vibe in the energy field around you which causes people to look degenerate and become zombie-like.

See my post where I explain why social isolation in America is due to lack of soul.

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Post by Jeremy » August 23rd, 2013, 8:29 pm

I've been more or less a hermit for the past four months, and it was great (as great as life can be in the anglosphere at least). Started applying to jobs this week, and it frightens and disturbs me how plastic everyone is. People think you're weird if you don't love work. As if data entry / serving coffee / pushing a button has always been your childhood dream.

I'll do my best to put on a happy face, because I don't have a choice. But I'm pretty sure the real me seeps through and people can pick up on it.
Last edited by Jeremy on August 23rd, 2013, 9:05 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Post by kai1275 » August 23rd, 2013, 8:30 pm

For me I could not get over how f***ing FAT Americans were and that was the second I landed in San Francisco! When I got back to Houston, it was even worse! It really bothered me for at least a few weeks.

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Post by Winston » July 12th, 2014, 3:05 am

Here's my theory on reverse culture shock. I think it makes a lot of sense. It's kind of deep but I'll try to put it as simply as I can.

The reason you feel withdrawn and disconnected when you come back to America after being abroad for so long is this:

You see, when you grow up in America, you develop a fake artificial pseudo-self in order to fit in socially and culturally. This pseudo-self takes you away from your real authentic self, which must be suppressed or subdued in order for your artificial "Americanized self" to win out. Even if this happens, and you become fully Americanized, you will still be unhappy because deep down you are fragmented and disconnected from your authentic true self. This, I believe, is why Americans look so angry, unhappy and dissatisfied on their faces, though they don't know why. It is also, I believe, the primary cause of the unusually high rate of mental illness in America.

However, if you don't conform and remain close to your true self, you will also be unhappy in another way, because you will feel lonely, alienated and out of place in America. The social culture will intimidate you and you will feel withdrawn because you can't be your true self. This is the reason why people who are really down-to-earth and authentic feel withdrawn in America and intimidated by its fake social culture. Have you noticed that? So either way, whether you conform or not, you feel unhappy in America in one form or another. This, I believe, is why America does not FEEL like a free country, even though it's supposed to be.

Now, when you go abroad, you are liberated from this dilemma. You see, foreign cultures in general are more authentic, down-to-earth and genuine. This applies to the people and social vibe as well. In such foreign cultures, you are able to reconnect with your authentic true self which you suppressed in America. In other words, you are "free to be yourself" again. Your "true self" is allowed to come out. This is why when you are overseas it feels so LIBERATING and FREE. It's because you are reconnecting with your true self again, which was lost in the crazy madness of assimilating to American social culture. It's like you discovered a part of yourself that lost in America.

As Grunt said: "If anyone feels they "come out of their shell" when overseas, try to keep something in mind. That person you are overseas is the real you. The person you are in America is a prisoner, nothing more." - Grunt, from viewtopic.php?t=6692

Now, when you return back to America again, here's what happens: You are faced again with a culture that expects you to become fake and artificial again, and disconnect with your true self. At that point your authentic true self cries out, "No way! Don't! You just reconnected with me again finally. Don't go back to your fake self again. Reject American culture!" And you know its right. So you listen to it, and as a result, you withdraw from American social culture and feel intimidated by it, because it's trying to get you to be something you're not.

You see what I mean? That's what's really going on with reverse culture shock. Now I can't speak for everyone of course. But I think if you are a deep, authentic, sensitive person like me, the above will definitely apply to you.

What do you think? Does my theory make sense? I think it does and it explains a lot. Every time I've gone to Russia and returned to America, I've always gone through that, and became depressed and withdrawn. I could not understand why or put it into words before. But now I think I can.
Last edited by Winston on July 12th, 2014, 4:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Winston » July 12th, 2014, 3:22 am

Quotes from college students in reverse culture shock after returning from abroad

Here are some revealing quotes from college students returning abroad, who are in a state of reverse culture shock. They are compiled in a handbook to help their parents deal with this situation, which you can view at the link below. ... ndbook.pdf

“The hardest part of re-entry was people seemingly not caring how my life had been transformed.â€￾

“I definitely felt I had become part Ecuadorian, and had no way to express that new part of myself.â€￾

“It’s so tough to return to your own ‘reality’ (or what it was before leaving) and realize that you don’t necessarily agree with your life or your culture or the values underlying itâ€￾.

“I stayed inside for three days before going out.â€￾

“For three weeks after I got home I ended up just trying to recuperate, rarely going out.â€￾

“I was a good wreck for a couple of months.â€￾

“In total, return culture shock lasted about a year.â€￾

“People in the US are far too tense, selfish and in a hurry.â€￾

“It was difficult to adjust to the pace of life back home -- the dependence upon time and scheduling.â€￾

“Then Christmas hit. The extravagance was overwhelming and depressing to me – the waste, the excess.â€￾

“I found myself many times completely unable to cope with the fact that I live in a society that glorifies material wealth and in a country that dominates the world economy.â€￾

“The hardest part for me was reconciling how much I had experienced and therefore changed with people and things that had remained the same at home.â€￾

“I felt like I was unable to really communicate to people what my semester abroad meant. Few people want to take the time to hear about what really touched your heart and changed your perspective.â€￾

“My biggest desire was just to be around people who understand, who would listen to me, validate my feelings and not expect me to ‘get over’ my depression or confusion or anger or frustration too quickly.â€￾

“School was really hard to get back into. I just didn’t want to be there… didn’t want to be reading about other people doing things, I wanted to be doing them.â€￾

“When I went back to school I was hit with the reality that the lives of my friends had changed and I was no longer a part of the close knit circle I had had before.â€￾

“It is crazy to think it was two years ago and is still so important and the source of most of my best friendships.â€￾

“My views were so changed, my eyes awakened, and I could not continue as I had before leaving.â€￾

“I was listening to my two closest friends talk during my first week back, and I was shocked and appalled. I assumed that they had grown and matured as much as I had. Boy, was I wrong.â€￾

“One hard thing for me was finding myself among peers who don’t share the same global consciousness that I had acquired while I was away. I wanted to smack a lot of people and tell them to wake up and look around them, even though I could easily have been one of them four months before.â€￾

“The toughest part for me was sinking back into the lifestyle – the bubble – and not feeling that I was abandoning something.â€￾

“I needed to find connections to my former host country in my home community, even just a restaurant. This would have helped me relax, given me a taste of the culture that had become so familiar to me.â€￾

One parent of a student who returned from France related: ... ndbook.pdf

“Driving back home from the airport, I glanced over at my daughter. I was so happy to see her. Somehow she seemed a little disoriented, though I knew she must be excited to be back, after spending four months in France on an SIT program. “Exhaustion and jet lag,â€￾ I thought to myself.

After a few days, the situation at home was becoming difficult. She wanted wine with every meal. She requested cloth napkins. She wanted to listen only to French music and look through her photographs. She kept describing the wonderful places she had been and the food they had eaten. She complained about the quality of our cheese. She didn’t want to call her old friends. She didn’t really seem to be happy to be home. Frankly, I was a little concerned and frustrated, as well. How long was it going to take her to readjust to normal life?

Time went by. After three weeks, I was ready to have a fit. She still continually criticized everything. She moped around the house. She didn’t seem to want to get out and find a job for the summer. I could feel myself running out of patience. I was tired of hearing about her life abroad, and I wanted her to be glad to be home! Even though I knew it was normal to have some difficulties adjusting to being back, it seemed to me that this had been going on long enough. It was time for her to get over it. I wanted my sunny, positive, energetic daughter back again.â€￾

And here are some excerpts from the author of the handbook: ... ndbook.pdf

“While students are struggling with this process, it is not uncommon for some of them to try desperately to find a way to go back overseas.

There are students who feel out of place from the moment they walk through the door. For them, the readjustment to home actually feels harder than the original culture shock they felt when they left to go abroad. They may take weeks to integrate the new person they have become into the reality they left behind. Usually, the more successful the student was in integrating into the host culture, the more difficult he or she will find the challenge of slipping back into the American way of life. Conversely, students who were less affected by the time they spent abroad will typically have an easier time returning home.

Pace of Life
Although many of us know that other cultures have a far more flexible attitude towards time, it comes as a shock when we realize how well our children have adapted to “Jamaican timeâ€￾ or “Spanish timeâ€￾ or “Indian time.â€￾ This particular cultural idiosyncrasy is often treated lightly, even jokingly. However, it actually is indicative of a deeper issue. Much of the rest of the world is amazed at how Americans allow their lives to be ruled by the clock, ignoring mitigating factors and circumstances beyond one’s control. Although students can re-learn to check the watch, it might be hard for them to give time the same importance it once had. They often continue to feel that people and situations should take priority over schedules and deadlines.

Most SIT students choose to study in countries that are not as wealthy as the United States. They often are amazed at the quality of life of people abroad who lack what the US culture has taught them to consider as basic possessions. They are taken by surprise at the closeness of the families, the warmth and friendliness, the willingness to share. Coming home, it is not unusual for students to feel vaguely guilty for all they and their real families own.

World View
Many students also feel their world view has expanded immeasurably. They have a deeper awareness of global issues and a broader perspective regarding globalization, IMF policies, ecological challenges, health concerns, international income disparity, and so on. They feel the richness, the weight, and the responsibility of first-hand experience. They are understandably frustrated with the seemingly superficial priorities and the general lack of international awareness in the lives of their friends and family. Some returning students realize that they themselves were as unaware as their friends before they left to study overseas. Most, however, conveniently forget this fact. If they are not careful, their attitude of moral superiority alienates the very individuals they are trying to reach. The challenge here is for them to not forget what they have learned, and at the same time, not allow their indignation and self-righteousness to get in the way of productive dialogue with others.

Self Image
One of the final issues faced by returning students is confronting their self image. Many students go to countries where they look different from most of the local population. Both men and women often find themselves receiving far more attention from the opposite sex than they were accustomed to, simply because of their American appearance. Although this constant fishbowl effect is exhausting, it is also flattering.â€￾

Here is something interesting that someone told me about India and Europe:


I have heard of folks who came back from India and had to live in England for 8 months before they could re-integrate into the USA. I also heard of another guy I know who came back from India and had to live in a cabin in the mountains of Colorado for a year or so before re-integrating into the US society again. India is a pretty dramatic cultural change, however even being in Europe has an effect on a person.

I, personally, after spending only 2 weeks in Europe, came back pretty transformed and ended up quitting my job at the time and taking up organic farming for a few years. There were a few more variables to my stay in Europe, in that I attended a conference on world peace, which had a transformational effect on me. I was speaking with people from different cultures all over the globe at this conference for two weeks. However, I agree that once you mix with other cultures for a period of time, even a brief time, it does change how you look at things, particularly in the USA."

Commenting on the above, an Indian friend told me:

"Oh Yes for sure!!!
I knew a woman who was from England but loves to spend most of her time in India.
She goes back and says how miserable she's feeling there. People are cold, climate is cold
and wet and everything is so bloody expensive!!
She lived and traveled in India a lot. And the place she lived was a beautiful famous town
surrounded by mountains and lake and palaces. People loved her and were always very happy to see her.
She kinda embedded as a foreigner in that environment and people would help her out in anything.

So I guess that's an example that I know. Its not to back to the U.S., but England.
umm back to the U.S. example is surely the cultural shock and the absolute change in time cycle.
The customer service was surprisingly quite pleasant in India even than the U.S.
One may order a list of things from the store and the guy will deliver it free!
Or there are hawkers who would come right in front of your house and sell you fresh fruits and
vegetables or do other things. In the U.S., one has to drive upto a big mall and go through the
selection of a thousand things before buying something.

just my 2 cents. "
Check out my FUN video clips in Russia and Female Encounters of the Foreign Kind video series and Full Russia Trip Videos!

Join my Ukrainian/Russian Women Dating Site to meet thousands of legit foreign girls at low cost!

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Post by MeGustanLatinas » July 12th, 2014, 3:35 am

Well since Mexico I refuse to eat at Taco Bell. It would feel like going backwards.

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Post by The » July 12th, 2014, 6:34 am

The same thing happened to me when I came back from Panama and Colombia....reverse culture shock indeed....

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