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Cultural adjustment

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People returning home after an extended period overseas often find the adjustment just as challenging as when they first arrived in Australia.  This experience can be broadly described as “reverse culture shock”

Some of the issues which you may be confronted with will include:

  • Need to readjust to family – pressure to conform, loss of independence/privacy
  • Feelings of social alienation, loss of friends;  difficulties in re-establishing relationships, reconciling some changed values and attitudes
  • Inability to find relevant employment commensurate with your newly acquired skills and qualifications
  • If returning to an organisation you worked for before, you may find the work situation different, the organisational structure could have changed, regaining status may be difficult, and you may face some jealousy from colleagues.

Some ways that may help you deal with this “reverse culture” shock are:

  • Accept the fact that returning home is not just a physical journey but also an emotional one.
  • Embrace the inevitability of change and think about the benefits that it will bring.
  • Give yourself time to adjust; It may happen quickly in some cases but may need a longer period for others.
  • Discuss your expectations and experiences with people who are in the same situation or with those who are able to empathise with you.