Inevitably, your student has changed during their time abroad and this may be difficult for both him or her and you as parents to understand. Students experience cultural adjustment issues when entering a new country, but what is reverse cultural adjustment? Upon returning home from his or her program, you can expect your student to go through some degree of “reverse cultural adjustment” while getting back into old routines with a new, different outlook on his or her surroundings. Your student has had a unique experience that has taught him or her many things, but the new things he or she has learned may not fit into the everyday world. Just as living abroad required an adjustment, so does coming home. After all, your student is not the same person he or she was when they went abroad. All returning study abroad students may experience some form of boredom, depression, and restlessness and it is completely normal.
Things your student may experience during this period include:
- Boredom, or feeling “out of place” at home;
- Criticism of things at home;
- “Reverse homesickness” for the host country;
- Seeing that relationships with family and friends have changed;
- Feeling that his or her experience abroad is removed from the rest of “normal” life.
To help your student cope with this adjustment, remember to have patience, listen, and be supportive. For a more in depth look at how you can help your student with re-entry, please review SIT Study Abroad’s Readjustment Manual for Parents.