A-Z Popular Blog Culture Search »
Culture Guides
Related Topics

8 Examples of Reverse Culture Shock

 , November 20, 2018
Reverse culture shock is an experience of disorientation and unhappiness upon returning to your home country after an extended period abroad. It is common for reverse culture shock to be a more negative and challenging experience than culture shock itself. The following are illustrative examples of reverse culture shock.


You may adapt to a foreign country more than you expect such that you feel like a foreigner in your own country upon return. This isn't necessarily noticeable on short trips back but occurs with reintegration into society.


People who return home may have inflated expectations. This tends to lead to disappointment with the experience. For example, you may intensely look forward to grocery shopping in your home country but may find its not the peak experience you anticipated.


Going back feels like time travel as you may imagine resuming life where you left off years before. It doesn't work this way. Your home country changes while you are gone and friends and family go on a new path without you around. You have also changed making it unlikely your new life in your home country will be anything like the past.

Falling Behind

You may fall behind your peers in your time away meaning that you have difficulties adjusting to your own country. This is particularly true for school children who can have problems with language and differences in social norms and expectations.


It can be just as difficult to make friends in your home country as abroad with people you meet already cemented into existing social relationships. If you are unable to resume old social connections you may find it difficult to establish a sense of connectedness with the place you live upon return.


While abroad, you may strongly identify with people from your home. When you return you may feel that you don't identify with your nationality as strongly and may start to see your home country in a more realistic or negative light. This may be disorienting.


Returning "home" tends to be an emotional experience that is linked to feelings of belonging, meaning, nostalgia and safety. This may not be the moment of self-fulfillment you're hoping for leading to a sense of disillusionment.

Moving Backwards

Going abroad may feel like an adventure. Returning may feel like moving backwards. This may lead to questions related to life direction and purpose.


Symptoms of reverse culture shock include boredom, withdrawal from social situations, a feeling of isolation, a longing to leave again and unduly criticizing your home country.
Knowledge of reverse culture shock can help to reduce its impact as it tends to be rooted in inflated expectations. If you expect it to be difficult, things tend to go better.
Overview: Reverse Culture Shock
Definition An experience of disorientation and despair upon returning to your home country after an extended period abroad.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about culture.
American Culture
City Culture
Cultural Capital
Cultural Diffusion
Cultural Diversity
Cultural Issues
Cultural Rights
Culture Change
Culture Shift
Culture Shock
Digital Culture
Epic Meaning
Experience Age
Game Culture
Global Culture
High Context
High Culture
Human Behavior
Human Culture
Low Culture
Mass Culture
Material Culture
Modern Culture
Nonmaterial Culture
Performing Art
Personal Culture
Physical Culture
Pop Culture
Rite of Passage
Shared Experiences
Shared Meaning
Social Expectations
Super Culture
Traditional Culture
Traditional Knowledge
Youth Culture
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.


Storti, Craig. The art of coming home. Hachette UK, 2011.


An overview of culture.


A complete overview of personification with examples.

Intangible Things

The definition of intangible with examples.

Culture Change

An overview of culture change with examples.


An overview of nostalgia with examples.

Human Experience

The definition of human experience with examples.


The common characteristics of civilizations.

Culture Characteristics

The common characteristics of culture.

Language Characteristics

The common characteristics of language.


The definition of norms with examples.


An overview of anomie, also known as normlessness.


The definition of tradition with examples.


The definition of decorum with examples.


The definition of rule with examples.


The definition of freedom with examples.

Reasonable Expectations

The definition of reasonable expectations with examples.

De Facto

An overview of de facto with examples.

Bright Line

The definition of bright line with examples.

Shy vs Reserved

The difference between shy and reserved behavior explained.
The most popular articles on Simplicable in the past day.

New Articles

Recent posts or updates on Simplicable.
Site Map