Re-Adjust to the USA

You’re Home! Everything is great now, right?

You have just returned from an experience that most participants agree is life changing.  It can sometimes be a shock to return home, and find that in addition to the changes you have experienced, your perceptions and relationships may be a bit different as well.

Many students have a bit of difficulty re-adjusting to life at home, particularly after a long-term study abroad experience.  The common term for this is Reverse Culture Shock, and there is a great deal of research which describes this phenomenon.

If you are experiencing the symptoms below, you should look into the resources or contact our office to help you through this adjustment:

  • Frustration.
  • Boredom.
  • Restlessness.
  • Confusion, uncertainty.
  • Change in values, goals, priorities, and attitudes.
  • Feelings of isolation or depression.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Reverse Homesickness (missing people and places from abroad)

Basic tips for Reverse Culture Shock

Basic Tips For Coping With Reverse Culture Shock

Stay in touch with your friends from abroad

  • Meet up with local friends with whom you studied abroad
  • Video chat via Skype with friends who are far away
  • Connect on social media

Join clubs or organizations

  • Community service group
  • International or multicultural club
  • Student/social/political awareness group
  • International Student Association on campus

Continue or begin studying a new language

  • Continue studying at your home university
  • Find native speakers in your community
  • Join a language club on campus or in your community

Stay connected to the experience

  • Volunteer as an exchange student buddy, a conversation partner for an international student or at study abroad orientations for new outgoing students
  • Make a playlist of songs that remind you of your time abroad
  • Create a book or photo album of pictures and experiences from your time abroad, include journal entries if you have them
  • Watch movies or read books about your host country
  • Add your experience to your resume and practice how you will talk about it in interviews
  • Write a review of your time overseas online

Stay motivated to travel and explore

  • Subscribe to the local online newspaper from your study abroad country
  • Read international news, and subscribe to travel magazines
  • Follow travel-focused Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages
  • Learn about new opportunities to study and work abroad!

Make the effort to reconnect with your friends, family and the community

  • Share your experiences, and learn what is new
  • Give extra attention to those who value your experience abroad
  • Do some of the activities you loved before you were abroad, and see if your experience has changed your lens in which you view those activities
  • Honor all of the experiences in your life which have led you to be the person you are today!

Additional Resources

If your Reverse Culture Shock symptoms are severe or if you are in crisis, please reach out to these resources.

  • For life-threatening emergencies
    • 9-911 from a campus phone, 414-229-9911 from a cell phone or 911 from a phone off campus
  • Let’s Talk
    • Non-emergency service. UWM Norris Health Center walk-in service for students, no appointment necessary.
  • Reverse Culture Shock (US State Department)