Reverse Culture Shock at School

About a year ago, I got to accomplish my dream of traveling the world. At this point, I would have started part one of my two-part study abroad experience in two different countries. When you are living the dream, it is easy to get wrapped in the present and not worry too much about the future. I knew my friends and family would be waiting for me at home and I thought everything would be the same. I had the feeling that I would not be the only one growing and forming new friendships but I did not expect things to be very different when returning to campus.

I had gone abroad during my junior year of college. By the time I got back, I missed the class above me graduate and a new class of incoming students. This year, I have had to meet two classes of students that I did not know before. I go to a small liberal arts school. I used to know a fair amount of people on campus. After having studied abroad, I came to a campus where I did not know more than half of the students. I knew this was going to be a situation I would run into, but I did not realize how much it was going to hit me. I guess I thought I would come back to the campus that I had left.

Not only have I been adjusting to not seeing many of the people I used to spend time with, but I have been feeling like a real adult instead of a student. Most of my time on campus (when I am not in class) consists of tutoring students in Spanish and French, being an assistant for a First-Year Seminar, and holding weekly office hours. I am really enjoying my time on campus and I am glad to be home, but this has definitely been different from previous years. I am happy that I get to help those who are in the position that I was once in, but it feels strange to be the older one again.

No one prepared me for the reverse culture shock that was going to hit me. I had done my fair share of research before studying abroad, including to prepare myself for culture shock. However, I noticed that not many people had written about reverse culture shock. Maybe it was something I had not noticed because I was not looking for it. This is why I wanted to write about this topic. If you are looking into studying overseas, you are probably going to see many posts about funny stories, what to pack, and travel tips, but you may not see a whole lot on the subject of reverse culture shock. You may not have the same experience as I did. It will vary depending on what school you go to and your personality. This may not be one of my most glamorous posts on study abroad, but I think it is very necessary to give an insight into all aspects of the study abroad experience.


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