I’m very excited as I’ll be leaving for Mexico next weekend. I’ve been lucky to be able to visit my home town every year so far. For those of you that moved to Canada and have gone back to visit your native country, you may have experienced what I’m about to describe: reverse culture shock. I never knew such a thing even existed but I now know that’s what I went through on my last trip to Mexico. This year I want to be prepared to avoid the uneasiness that reverse culture shock causes.
Reverse culture shock is defined as “The shock suffered by expatriates returning home after lengthy overseas assignments. It is caused by the fact that the cultural norms of the ex-pat’s overseas assignment become natural to them, over their home country’s own traditions and customs.”
On my last visit to Mexico (last year) I remember feeling out of place when I first arrived. I felt that it took my mind a couple of days to register that I was back in my native country. I felt very confused and shocked by how much my city had changed. I also felt disconnected from people like my friends. It wasn’t a good feeling and I thought it was silly to feel that way in my own country. Now I know that I’m not the only one and it helps to know it’s natural to go through it when you have been away for some time. It took me only a couple of days to feel that I “belonged” again. It’s strange and may be hard to understand for people that have never experienced it. I always thought going back home meant going back to what I knew. The truth is, when you get used to a different way of life, language and culture, it takes some time to readjust.
Here are the stories of other people who experienced reverse culture shock upon going back to their countries both to stay and to visit:
Here is another story about reverse culture shock with great tips to overcome it:
Have you ever experienced reverse culture shock? How did you deal with it? I’d love to hear about your experience.