Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Reverse Culture Shock

According to the internet, reverse culture shock is a very serious problem.

Okay, according to everyone who has ever lived abroad, reverse culture shock is something to contend with upon arriving back in the country/culture of origin.

Apparently there are four stages of reverse culture shock.

1. Disengagement
2. Initial euphoria
3. Irribility and hostility
4. Readjustment and adaptation

Can I just take a moment to note the language usage in these stages? Numbers one, two, and four are all pretty topic-centered, psychology-based words. They "fit" with the model and make the whole thing sound less awful. I think they just didn't have another way to define number three, which I have edited for accuracy below:

3. Collosal b***ch mode

Because that is what is going to happen. Just saying...

I am already starting to go through this, so I know it is real. And I'm really worried about it.

I do have one request for everyone in the States though. According to this "Safety Abroad" handbook for study abroad students that I read, these feelings come from the following:

"Often students expect to be able to pick up exactly where they left off... the inconsistency between expectations and reality, plus the lack of interest on the part of family and friends (nobody seems to really care about all of your 'while I was abroad' stories) may result in: frustration, feelings of alienation..."

So it is clearly not my fault for leaving the United States. It is not my fault that I will be crazy overwhelmed and "irritable and hostile" because I chose to immerse myself in another culture for 10 months. It is not my fault that it will take me a while not to feel weird in the States. It is your fault, dear family and friends, for not being interested enough in my stories. Right?

Yeah, that is what I'm walking away with.

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