Study Abroad - Health & Safety
After You Return
Culture Shock and Reintegration
It is possible to experience a culture shock once you return
to the United States. Often students imagine re-entering their home in an ideal
version, but in reality the student has changed, as well as possible changes at
home. The severity of culture shock may vary depending on length of time abroad
and how integrated you became in your host country. Upon returning, you may
feel your friends and family lack interest in your stories and experiences,
resulting in frustration, feelings of alienation, and loneliness.
Four stages encompass culture shock and the recovery of it.
- Stage 1 Begins
before leaving your host country. As you prepare to leave, feelings of
frustration and sadness intensify. You may be reluctant to return home and
leave your new friends.
- Stage 2 You’ll feel excited to be heading back to the comfort of your home. You are
excited to share many stories of your time abroad, yet you begin to notice
people aren’t as interested in hearing them.
- Stage 3 At this point, you begin to transition into Stage 3, where you may experience
emotions of frustration, helplessness, and depression. You may even become
critical of the U.S. culture and long for your host culture.
- Stage 4 As you readjust, you move to Stage 4. Things become more normal again, though you probably never
fall completely into the way things once were. You have grown from your time
abroad, and it is important to integrate those experiences with the experiences
Below we have suggestions for you to readjust to your home.
your experiences with your Study Abroad Coordinator! The staff in the UNF International
Center loves hearing about your adventures and learning about your time abroad.
what you learned abroad into your home life. You may not see how you can
still practice your linguistic skills or cultural competency now that you are
home. Be creative in exploring cultural opportunities here that expand what you
- Find a
cultural outlet in your hometown, or
try a new hobby in the area. For instance, if you learned that you enjoy
trying new foods, explore the various cuisine available to you in your town!
- Keep in
contact with those you met while abroad. Whether it be a new international
friend you made or another student studying abroad, you can continue those
relationships and practice the skills you made.
- Be aware
of how studying abroad personally changed you and how others are perceiving
those changes. Your constant references to your trip may come across as
arrogance or rejection of your home culture. As you share your experiences and
create alterations in your behavior, make a mental note of how it influences
those around you.