Home Sweet Home:
How To Cope With Reverse Culture Shock
Yep – it’s real, and it can happen to you!
Reverse culture shock occurs when someone has lived abroad for an extended period and now has to face HOME again – where everything is the same, while you have changed in unimaginable ways.
Did you know that you will go through three phases during your Au Pair year?
1. Honeymoon Phase:
This phase will happen during the first few months of your Au Pair journey.
Everything is new and pretty exciting.
You might experience some level of homesickness (and it is very normal.)
You may feel sad, anxious, depressed and lonely.
Don’t worry too much, though – this too shall pass.
On to the next phase…
2. Adjustment Phase:
You are now really digging into your Au Pair year – you are most likely travelling,
meeting new people, trying new food and feeling WAY more comfortable in your new home.
And then comes… H O M E
3. Back Home (Reverse Culture Shock)
Going back home after your Au Pair year is a reason to celebrate.
Adjusting to your home country can be challenging and leave you feeling cray-cray.
(Think driving on the wrong side of the road. Why is my house SO tiny?)
Here are typical thoughts, feelings and experiences one may
encounter with reverse cultural shock:
Home has stayed the same while you have changed.
With your newfound identity, you may feel like you don’t fit anymore.
Your friends are the same and not interested to hear about your Au Pair year.
You may fantasize and think how everything was better “back there” (where you spent your Au Pair year)
You may start to self-doubt your ability to re-adjust back home, and may even feel
Now comes the saucy part:
How To Cope With Reverse Culture Shock:
Plan the details of your return (where are you going to stay, are you going to continue your studies?)
Planning may alleviate the stress you may have when dealing with the reality of the return.
Prepare to say goodbye. Express your gratitude towards your host family and friends.
“Allow yourself to be sad and vulnerable.”
Write down some coping strategies that you can use to manage the stress and challenges.
Exercise, talk to someone your trust etc.
Participate in club activities, or do sports in order to keep yourself busy.
It is important to integrate into the community again.
Find support groups online for those who have experienced a cultural shock.
Stay in touch with your host family – they miss you dearly!
Place photographs or any objects that become familiar to you while you were abroad.
Cook meals for your family that you have enjoyed while being abroad. Listen to the same music.
All these will help you ease back into your home country’s routine.
Find professional help when you feel depressed and as if it is out of control – you are not alone!
We are always sooooo happy when our Au Pairs are happy – that counts when you are back home too!
Ready for your next adventure?