Reverse Culture Shock (Not)

They always say when you return from studying abroad you will have intense homesickness for your acquired country; warnings about reverse culture shock are rife and uttered in intensely somber tones whenever you are preparing to go away. When I returned from studying abroad, however, I had no such experience and I want to share what I actually felt so that in case someone else reads this and has an abnormal experience of homesickness while studying abroad they know they are not alone.

I am extremely grateful for the chance I had to study abroad and very glad to have gone. That being said, almost the entire time I was there I felt emotionally distant and homesick. Before leaving I didn’t feel any particular connection to Norman or even the U.S. I thought of it as my unfortunate home. As soon as I was gone, however, I missed everything, from food spots to the friends who made them worth visiting. Even my minimum wage job became a pleasant memory. I saw incredible things, but ultimately I was deeply unhappy during my time abroad.

Having sufficiently “made the most” of my time and opportunities in Europe I returned in early July. I have never been so happy to have reliable phone service and to see signs in English. I relish my memories of my time abroad and the perspective it gave me. But I had none of the reverse culture shock promised me and I think I’m well beyond the possibility of it now, having been back for almost four months. Not every study abroad experience, no matter how valuable or objectively amazing it is, will feel like a constant high, and coming home very well may be the best part. It’s ok, it doesn’t make you abnormal, and it very well may make you realize your love for your various other homes to boot.

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