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Re-adjustment & Reverse Culture Shock

Coming back home can be difficult--sometimes even more difficult than going abroad. Now that you're back you might notice some things that were once familiar have become foreign. Hearing new songs on the radio, new fashion trends, new slang, etc. can trigger "reverse culture shock." Don't ignore these sentiments and know that they are completely normal. Look out for the following:

  • "Reverse homesickness." This happens when students deeply miss their abroad friends, international host families, and the city where they lived during the study abroad experience.

  • "Relationships have changed." When students return home, they may experience a change in the relationships that they had with their family and/or friends. Many students expect that everything will be exactly the same when they return home, neglecting that much can change in six months.

  • "You can’t explain." Some friends and family will be extremely open to hearing stories and seeing pictures, yet students returning from abroad often find it frustratingly difficult to put their experience into words, especially if the friends and/or family members in question have not traveled much.

  • "People misunderstand." Accidentally using a foreign language, wearing a new hairstyle or new clothing, etc. may be seen as showing off, whereas to the returning student, these behaviors are completely normal.

  • "Feelings of alienation." When students return from abroad, many develop new dislikes for aspects of their home country. Many students become hypercritical and constantly reminisce about how things in their study abroad site were much better than they are in this country.

  • "Boredom." Students return from a semester of adventure and excitement, where each day brought a new challenge and learning opportunity. Many students return to their “old routine” with their family and friends and are disillusioned with how uninteresting life can feel in their home country.

Should you strongly experience any of the situations above, please contact the NYU Wellness Exchange. They offer a private, 24/7 hotline that puts you in touch with professionals, who can help you address day-to-day challenges as well as most other health-related concerns. The Wellness Exchange hotline can be reached at (212) 443-9999.

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