Reverse culture shock is a three part buzzword. It’s part of the advice that responsible or well put together people will throw around. At least personally, it feels far off and more foreign than actual culture shock. Even as I am packing up to go back to the states, it feels surreal. The small things are what I think will “shock” me the most. Reformatting my whole schedule from what it was before will be a change. The weekend will once again feel like the weekend, instead of the time when all the Irish students leave campus and housing looks apocalyptic. Green grass will never seem as green as it did before my program, since the grass truly is greener on the “other side” (a.k.a. Ireland). Walmart will replace Tesco. Where will I be able to find my dark chocolate digestives??
Yet I think one of the most powerful things in life is being able to define “home” for yourself. That’s a substantial concept- “home”. Some people grow up in a small town knowing everyone’s name, keeping up holiday traditions and marking height changes on a specific wall with a pencil. Those people’s hometown will always be their home, but some people find a home in never settling down. I believe that you can have more than one home, and you can have more homes than you could count on your fingers if you would like. You will always be missing somewhere, but on the other hand you will always have a place to go back to. Studying abroad is an exciting yet absolutely exhausting experience, especially if you add additional travel to your itinerary. Going back to your own country is like lying down for a well deserved nap. When you wake up though, you may forget where you are. Take a deep breath and enjoy the present space. Re-familiarize yourself with, well… everything. I am going to grab a Chicago style hot dog and bear hug my dog. Bring on the reverse culture shock- I like a challenge.
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