"In a sense, it is the coming back, the return, which gives meaning to the going forth. We really don’t know where we’ve been until we come back to where we were — only where we were may not be as it was because of who we’ve become, which, after all is why we left.”
— Bernard from Northern Exposure
When returning home, some students are surprised to find they experience as much, or more, culture adjustment as when they first began their international experience.
You may find that your interests and values have changed, while those of your family and friends may not have. You may find that friends and family have new and different interests that are unfamiliar to you. You may even find that they aren’t as interested in hearing about your experiences as you are in telling them.
"Reverse culture shock” is a normal part of coming home.
Tips for a successful re-entry to Canadian life
You can make the transition easier by keeping in mind that reverse culture shock is a normal part of an international experience and that your situation is temporary.
There are several ways to help yourself get through the transition of returning home:
- Make a plan of how you are going to put your international experience to use
- Talk to your professors about integrating your experience with your course work
- Use the stress management skills you developed while away to help you cope with this temporary stress
- Meet international students at coffee breaks scheduled at various times during the semester
- Join a re-entry discussion group to meet others who are going through the same experience
- Work with students who are thinking about going abroad. Every year the International Centre has positions open for people with work/study. Returned students are also needed for information tables and program orientations.
- Create a special project (like a party for returned students or making a videotape.) Tell us what you would like to do!
Some common feelings and experiences associated with readjusting to life at home include:
- frustration that your friends and family don’t understand the importance of your experience or lose interest when you tell them about it
- finding everyday life at home to be trivial
- depression, uncertainty, confusion
- changing goals and priorities
- negative emotions toward your home country
- reverse homesickness
- desire to be alone
The Intercultural Training Program will also help you to navigate the often difficult process of coming home and re-entering your degree at MtA. Remember to complete the remaining sections of the Intercultural Training program on Moodle.
There are many great resources and the module includes ways to connect with your community in a meaningful way after having an international experience, even if for short amount of time.
Steps to complete upon re-entry:
- Complete the Section 2 of the Intercultural Training Program on Moodle. Complete the End of Program Self-Evaluation Quiz. If you are looking for resources for re-entry or ways to make the most of your international experience and share your learning with you home community, Section 2.5 Continuing Cultural Connections provides lots of examples of ways to share your cultural experiences.
- Complete the Incident Report Form.
- Please plan to stop by the International Centre when you return to let us know about your experience.