Reverse Culture Shock Videos


Re-entry. It is also known as reverse culture shock. No matter what you call it, it tends to have a consistent message:

“I’m ‘home’ and I’m not sure how to feel about it.”

It has been some time since I last shared re-entry videos that describe this phenomenon.  Recently, I did a bit of youtube cruising and found the re-entry videos below. They really drive home why we need to address our students (or friends, or ourselves!) with tools to reflect on returning ‘home’.

Effective re-entry programming is about so much more than the W curve!
Effective re-entry programming is about so much more than the W curve!

You’ll see that these REAL people provide the case for how important structured re-entry programming is.  Interestingly, you’ll quickly note, that not one of these sojourners spoke about how travel or education abroad impacted their future career choice during their re-entry reflections.  Their commentary is based on personal growth and emotion. (This is why our own re-entry tool, Beyond Abroad: Innovative Re-entry Exercises primarily explores emotions and feelings, not careers. That is not to say that reflection can’t result in awareness of new skills or career choices, but until one takes the time TO process those reflections, I don’t believe it will yield much but surface level commentary.)

Take a peek at each video.  What are you hearing?  Does it make you think about re-entry programming?  Your own re-entry(ies)?

  • The women interviewed in this piece are very mature, sincere and candid. This video clearly illustrates the importance of reflection over time.  As one student says, “…It took me a few months to really realize how (much I changed)…”  With a structured re-entry program, these stories would bloom!
  • This woman’s pain is apparent. She has been “home” for 6 months yet her emotions are raw as she talks about her friends not understanding her.
  • This is a terrific piece by a woman returning to the US after a year in Korea. She reviews, point by point, the specific items that she finds bizarre about Americans.
  • This short, playful video is a good example of reverse culture shock for a longer term stay abroad. She jokes about why she chose to return home in her “break up letter to Taiwan” but also makes it very clear that after a month back in the US, she misses many things about her expat experience:

Time to reflect!

  • what did you hear?
  • can you relate to these comments?
  • what structured re-entry programming are you planning for your students/friends who also are returning home?
  • what cultural considerations must we consider when thinking about re-entry?

We encourage you to spend more time reflecting on how you to facilitate dialogue around re-entry.

We spent last year creating this re-entry tool as our contribution to the subject and we hope you’ll check it out. It required us to reflect and then reflect again…and again…and again!  The tweets that we share in this video are REAL.

Please share your reflections in the comment section below!