One of the biggest adjustments you’ll face on Study Abroad is coming home and experiencing reverse culture shock. Most blogs and resources give tips about how to deal with this that involve distracting yourself. The idea is to keep yourself busy or do things that remind you of your time abroad all in an attempt to make yourself feel better.
Ultimately this doesn’t work. It’s like waving a stuffed animal in front of a baby’s face while the doctor jabs the needle in their arm. Despite the toy, they still cry!
If you try to distract yourself by cooking the same food you had abroad, reading blogs of people who are still there, or booking another trip soon after you’re home you may feel better for a moment, but you’ll ultimately be disappointed.
Learn to accept reality. The reality is that you’re home again and your chapter abroad has ended. The reality is that it sucks and there’s no way around that. The reality is that you may feel let down, sad, angry, lonely, or confused, and that’s okay. It’s all part of the process. Let go of what once was in order to make room for what might be.
So cry it out, talk to someone who understands, or just wallow in it for a bit. Don’t try to be anywhere else except the present moment. The more you can face all these feelings without trying to run from them the stronger and better off you’ll be.