When planning to travel or work abroad, culture shock is something that everyone has heard about and is something that most people expect to experience to some extent. Most people are aware they will be encountering new lifestyles, and end up mentally preparing themselves for this by researching their destination country as much as they can before departing.
However, what nobody really talks about is what you will experience when you return to your home country after your travels. Nobody prepares themselves for this kind of opposite homesickness feeling which might overwhelm you after getting back home. This is reverse culture shock.
The 2015 summer camp season is over, and many of our NYQUEST Camp Canada participants who have recently returned overseas are currently readjusting to regular life and I’m sure many can relate to the feelings associated with reverse culture shock. So don’t worry – you’re not alone!!
Here are 5 signs that you are experiencing “reverse culture shock” after a summer at camp in Canada:
You’ve already booked your next flight to Canada. Or to whatever country your best camp friends are from.
One of the best things about working with Camp Canada is meeting like-minded people who come from all over the world. You spend 24 hours a day with these people for 2-3 months and create extremely strong bonds with each other. So of course, parting ways with your camp friends at the end of the summer can be a hard aspect of going home. Missing your friends is tough, and you can become obsessed with planning reunions and Skype dates. It’s definitely a good idea to stay connected with your friends from camp, but don’t forget about your old friends and family at home either!
Ranting about your home country is your new favourite hobby.
You’ve suddenly become extremely critical of the traditions, views, and social norms of your home country. You might even be cynical and angry. Just remember – don’t sweat the small things! Try to find a way to let out your frustrations without upsetting your friends and family by ranting and arguing with them over everything you don’t agree with.
You feel extremely ordinary because no one is amazed by your cool accent.
At camp, kids probably made you say random words over and over again, just to hear them in your non-Canadian accent. At camp this probably got old fast…but now that you’re home you might feel super sad that no one is that interested in how you say the word “garage”. When you’re back home, try not to get caught up in the fact that people you meet aren’t going to be as excited when they hear your accent or when you tell them where you’re from. You might not be the cool international person anymore, but you’re still the cool person who spent an entire summer in Canada!
Your friends are annoyed about how many times you mention camp and Canada in one conversation.
When you’re back home, certain things and moments might trigger a memory of something similar that happened at camp. You might feel like sharing these with your friends because they’re so interesting or hilarious – and many of them will be! But let’s be honest…probably not every single one of them. You’ll be able to tell when your friends from home start tuning you out. Instead of annoying your friends (and constantly making them jealous!), reminisce about your travels and time at camp by making a scrapbook/photo album/journal/blog, etc. Something both you and your friends can appreciate it.
You feel like everything and everyone at home has changed while you were gone.
The most difficult part of returning home is definitely feeling like you’ve missed out on so much while you’ve been away. You were probably excited to come home and pick up right where you left off, but this might not be very realistic. Spending a summer working at a camp in a different country has probably drastically changed your goals, your perspective, and your values in life. So although it might seem like everything and everyone in your hometown has changed, don’t forget that so have you.
Feelings of reverse culture shock can be completely normal and everyone will experience them differently. If after the initial transition of moving back home you feel like you can’t get back to “normal”, or that you can’t shake these feelings and they are still impacting your daily life in a negative way, be sure to reach out to your support system of friends and family.