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Reverse Culture Shock


Studying abroad can be one of the most exciting experiences of your college life. You'll gain a completely new perspective on a subject, a culture, and a part of the world that transcends in-class learning. It's natural to want to share your deepened understandings with friends, family, and classmates. 

While you may have changed substantially, especially if you've been studying abroad for a semester or more, it may come as a surprise that re-entering your home community environment may not always be as smooth as anticipated. Thoughts may occur such as, "I’ve changed so much, but no one at home has​,", or "The people in my host country had a better way of doing some things". 

Prepare for an enjoyable re-entry into your everyday routine back home:

  • Get plenty of rest even if you have a full calendar. In between time spent catching up with friends, allow yourself time to unwind.
  • Connect with other study abroad alumni. It will help to keep your study abroad experience "alive" with people who share similar interests.
  • Try journaling or blog-writing about your study abroad experience. It can be fun for you and may help other students who are considering studying abroad or who are just readjusting from their own trip. 
  • Keep in mind that no culture is inherently better than another. Think about an aspect of the host culture that you appreciated and a parallel aspect in your own culture. How can these complement each other?
  • Find ways of connecting with your host country’s culture within the Denver area. Research expat groups of people from your host culture and visit restaurants that serve the cuisine of your host culture.

Focus on integrating your study abroad into your academic life. You can find numerous suggestions about ways to internationalize your CU Denver experience on our Staying Connected With Your Study Abroad Experience page.

If you find that your reverse culture shock has not begun to get better after being back at home for a few months, you may want to consider speaking with a mental health professional or a staff member at the CU Denver Student and Community Counseling Center​. Reverse culture shock is completely normal, although it can trigger issues like depression, so it is important to address any lingering sadness or frustration in order to readjust to life at home.

Additional Resources on Re-Entry/Reverse Culture Shock

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