Reverse Culture Shock

Have you ever experienced reverse culture shock?

Photo: Pavel Ševela

Reverse culture shock is where you’ve spent time in another culture and when you came back to your home country you found it hard to deal with the lifestyle and worldview you once had.

A good friend of mine recently came back from overseas after working in a third world country for three months. Now that she’s back many of the things that used to be important are no longer – the wealth of our lifestyles now seem exorbitant, the way we do things don’t always seem the best, and what we complain about are really just #firstworldproblems.

I remember after living in the Middle East for two years coming back to Australia and being paralysed as I stood in front of the supermarket shelves trying to choose what type of diced tomatoes would be best for the bolognese. What stunned me was the availability and options of all these different types of food with all these different brands. All I wanted was diced tomatoes!

It’s amazing how travelling can broaden the mind and give new perspectives on life and priorities. And while reverse culture shock is not something people wish for it is something that regularly happens after experiencing life in another culture. On one hand there does come a point where people “get over” the culture shock, but it’s also important to realise and hold on to what you’ve learnt from your time there.

What have you learnt from living in or observing another culture?

2 Replies to “Reverse Culture Shock”

  1. It’s take me months sometimes to integrate back into my home country.  TV was always a shock when I returned.  Once, I forgot I could drink from the tap water.  A shocker is always a grocery store, a place to get all your food in one place.  All in all it just takes time.  I wrote a short article on this  
    Nice article Jon, thanks.


    1. Hey,

      Thanks for popping by.

      Yes, the is plenty to be upset at when returning. Time certainly helps things but can also take away the reality of the situation. Thanks for writing your article too.



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