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Reverse culture shock for returning expats, what's your story.

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  1. #1

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    Reverse culture shock for returning expats, what's your story.

    I am a little curious about this ' reverse culture shock ' phenomenon that afflicts some people, but not others.

    For those that have returned back, did you find you slotted back in embracing it all, warts and all or did you return back having a bit of an identity crisis ie feeling like a fish out of water ?

    I ask this because, just before I left, I knew of a few other pats that had returned back to various western countries, and they're all really struggling with being back and really copping a bit of shit for it. Literally fish out of water socially, which I tend to find more than a little amusing. Considering they felt more at home among a room full of expats ( in HKG ) who all share being foreigners in a foreign land (all in the same boat ) than they do with their own cultural kind back home! Even if they bickered like feck about so many cultural differences between one another. Just fascinates me.

    So, what's your story ?


  2. #2
    jgl
    jgl is offline

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    I returned home for 2 years after being away for 9 (3 countries). I found 'home' a bit slow and insular, and was again struck by how everyone obsesses about sports that they don't play themselves, but that was about all. Moved overseas again after a couple of years, but that was always part of the plan.

    It probably helps that Oz is incredibly relaxed and hard to get stressed over.


  3. #3

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    I'm not sure if this is quite what you mean, but after i hadn't been back to UK for a few years, i went to a supermarket and just put my whole basket on the conveyor belt at the cashiers and she looked at me with a disgusted look on her face.

    I only then realised that in UK, we take the items out and put onto the belt. Whereas in HK i had gotten so used to there being no belt and no space and just leaving everything in the basket.


  4. #4

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    No matter how many issues, complications and stresses there are in expat life...... a quick visit home is enough to put me off returning for good. It's great to see the family, but not much else.

    Some of this is as simple as moving from a big international city to a small provincial town (like moving from London to Norwich or New York to Atlanta..... but there is definitely more besides.

    MandM!, kimwy66, Stu79 and 9 others like this.

  5. #5

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    Wasn't too much of a shock (apart from the take home pay). They was a sense of being 'different' to others who had stayed at home but not sure if that was me or them. I think returning with the wife and three kids I had gained while being an expat helped reduce the shock. Stayed at home for two and a half years then left again but that was due to the kids wanting to go back to their home country and the cost of living (and so quality of life) issue.


  6. #6

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    Interesting topic.

    I get reverse culture shock just when I head back on vacation to places I have lived in.

    For example, when I head to Canada and go camping and an RV shows up unloading more content than I've owned in my entire life.

    Or going to Germany, really liking the local playground which has a fantastic trampoline and returning to it the next day to discover some local kids drew a giant swastika on it.

    Or in Hungary, when everybody is already drunk in the morning.

    But other than that, I don't know what it's like to move back to a place. I've always just moved forward to a new country part of being third culture kid.


  7. #7

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    When I talk to people in the West and hear about their issues and how they always have so much time on their hands. The worries about safety of their property and themselves. No thanks...


  8. #8

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    In my books the biggest Culture shock would be varying humility and tolerance among the locals towards minority ethnic groups, wherever you go.

    Went back to Auckland Nz for a couple of months 'vacation' and the place looked exactly like the one I had left the day before, infested with rude and crude minions going about their usual business and also more people from my own race (I'm ethnically Indian who grew up in Nz).
    At least I got some reprieve, temporary though, from borderline insanity I've got myself into over the last 5 years or so.

    kimwy66 likes this.

  9. #9

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    much less eye candy

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  10. #10

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    I went back to NZ for a year with my husband and then baby daughter. It was me that pushed to go back to the UK in the end, although I had a great job and family around.

    It felt 'provincial' and people seemed narrow-minded: too ideologically nationalistic. Most things I was involved in felt a bit like reinventing the wheel just so the new wheel could proudly say 'Made in NZ'.

    I liked my life in the UK, I liked having easy access to Europe, and the knowledge that there really isn't anything in NZ I need or want that I can't find in various places in Europe means I will probably never go back there to live. If I was told I could no longer live in France or UK for whatever reason, I would probably choose Hong Kong over going back to NZ.

    z754103 and markranson like this.

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