Wry Exchange

Reverse Culture Shock Timeline
07-07-07, 9:11 pm
Filed under: Culture, Exchange Students | Tags: , , ,


When exchange students return to their home countries and cultures, they experience ‘Reverse Culture Shock.’  Most students and families aren’t expecting re-adjustment issues.   It happens to almost everyone; especially students who have had a successful year adjusting to their new culture.

  • 1st few days-happy, busy, great to be home, happy to see friends and family. Everything’s perfect.

  • 2-3 weeks-miss USA, depressed, problems sleeping, thinking.  Feel alone.  “No one understands me” Find other former exchange students to talk with.  KEEP BUSY.

  • 1 month-withdraw from friends and family in Ohio.  Won’t return emails or phone calls.  You’ll reconnect, this is probably unconscious. This is really hard on friends and first time host parents.  They think the student doesn’t care, the reality is the student cares too much.  It hurts them to try to live in 2 different worlds.  For self-preservation, they back off for a while.  All my students have denied they’ll do it to me, then they all do it.  This period lasts a month or so.

  • 3 months-you’ll think you’re fine

  • 6 months-you ARE fine.

 The students have to assimilate their yearlong experience into their daily  lives.  What the student once thought was ‘weird’ or ‘foreign’ now seems ‘smart’ and ‘obvious.’ 


1 Comment so far
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I have never thought about it that way. We are hoping to host our first student soon and I stumbled on your blog. It’s great to see what it’s like from someone who’s already hosted.

Comment by kat

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