Coming Home After Living in a Different Country Is a Challenge

· September 27, 2017

If you have spent time living in a different country with a very different culture, you will have noticed that some adaptations are a real challenge. Cultural shock, a different language, different people… However, this is just the beginning in a long process of adaptation. Nevertheless, what people don’t talk a lot about is the re-adaptation people go through once they go back home. This can be just as tough if the time you spent away was considerably long.

When you’re away from your home, it’s normal that you might feel nostalgic. However, surely you never thought that if you returned you would have to re-adapt to your own country. It is a weird sensation, feeling like a stranger in your own home.. An inverse cultural shock, having to re-learn to live in your mother land. Well, this sensation is more common than you think.

It was tough having to adapt to a new country, but the hardest thing was coming back home and noticing that I no longer fit in there. 

The time and effort it takes to adapt

The second you arrive in your new country, you have to adapt to everything in it. This doesn’t imply only their customs, it also includes the landscape, the places, and the people. To do this, patience and effort on your part will be essential. You have to, once more, face the task of bonding with a place in which you’ll stay for a certain amount of time. Just like you did, the place has probably undergone some changes as well.

Nevertheless, this is something you already know. However, what you overlook is that everything you’re doing now will have to be done again once you return to your home country. It’s weird, but there’s no worse sensation than feel foreign in the place you thought you knew. A place in which you grew up and which now seems foreign and strange.


silhouette of girl and woods

Don’t stress too much if you feel confused or if the doubts you now have about your own identity start echoing within your head. This is completely natural. It has to do with that inverse cultural shock you’re experiencing. You will feel clumsy and a little strange surrounded by all of your family. But, time, distance, and rare contact have made you become accustomed to their absence.

You shouldn’t view this inverse cultural shock as something unnatural. Everyone feels it in a greater or lesser degree after traveling and establishing their lives someplace else. 

You start thinking about your friendships, in how much you have miss out about them. And where is that place that you used to love to eat at? Wow! They moved, changed the name or closed down. Many things change as the years go by and if you suffer this inverse cultural shock, observing how everything is “out of place” will only double your tension.

Learning to live again in your home country

The frustration will be noticeable due to the new acquired customs which you once thought were strange. Now, you see them and the country they come from much closer than the place you spent your childhood in. You’ll notice that the supermarkets have different products, that meal times are different, and this may produce an unease which can easily take over your entire being.

adolescent boy

Well, this discomfort won’t last long. Think about this: how long did it take you to learn how to live in the country you traveled to? What was the first thing you did? Surely we can guess… break your isolation. You went out, met new people and places, that was and is the essential part of getting rid of that limiting barrier you feel.

Embrace this new way of reconciling with your country of origin and make sure to go to new places that you surely had never discovered. Don’t reject the new identity you acquired in the foreign country you lived in, and don’t attempt to suppress it now. This would be disastrous for your self-esteem, because it has widened your view of life. And this is definitely a positive thing.

Going back home can be a gratifying experience if you shake off all of those negative feelings that are taking over. Now you see the world from two different perspectives and are an expert at overcoming cultural shocks. Don’t try to avoid them, because they’re natural. Just like you’ll surely have to recover the fluidity of the language and stop thinking as much in the language you had become accustomed to.

The shock is a natural feeling

Returning home and feeling like you don’t fit in doesn’t have to be something negative. Instead, it can be a new experience which will provide a lot of positive things. 

Most of the people who, like you, spent a long period of time away from their home land have to relearn to live in it once they return. This is totally natural and shouldn’t cause you any sadness beyond the nostalgia you might feel for having left your old temporary home.

Surely there are many friendships you’ll be able to contact once more. And if this isn’t the case, you can always make new friends. Behave as you would when you go somewhere new, and enjoy the new experience you are currently living. Without a doubt, it will enrich you.

girl sitting in bed