You expected culture shock when you studied abroad. You expected to be baffaled by the customs of your new home. You expected to question the locals behavior. Culture shock when you study abroad is a given, but you never expected to experience culture shock when you returned.
How is it even possible to feel culture shock in the only culture, up until a few months ago, you’ve ever known? You grew up in this culture, it’s ingrained in you. So why, does it feel so out of place and strange after only being gone for a couple of months?
All of sudden you start questioning things you used to think were completely normal. It takes a little bit of time to get used to the things you used to not even have to think about. And, there may be some things you will never readjust to. Here are just a few ways you know you’re dealing with reverse culture shock.
- When you walk into a restaurant, coffee shop, etc. you start going over your order in a foreign language until you remember they speak English
- Your stomach is so confused by your new feeding schedule “why am I eating dinner while the sun is still up?”
- You try to walk out of a bar with your drink before you remember open container laws are a thing here
- You try to get into a bar before you realize the drinking age here is 21 and it’s actually enforced
- You instinctively say “grazie”, “merci”, or “gracias” when accepting your starbucks drink from the barista- then turn bright red, mutter “sorry”, and run out of that place
- You’re absolutely perplexed when you order a medium soda and receive 32oz
- You still get surprised when you can read all the signs, headlines, and directions you come across
- You show up to work 15 minutes late forgetting about that European grace period
- Now that you can understand what people are saying on TV you can ditch those silly books and get back to reality TV…..Kidding! (kind of)Here’s hoping the adjustment period for reverse culture shock ends soon