la joie de vivre

From California to Lyon, France: living & studying abroad…and coming back!

Anticipation & Nightmares: Reverse Culture Shock

I had my first nightmare the other night that was probably fueled by the anticipation and all the mixed feelings and fears of returning home to the States.

Yeah, it’s kinda like a mixed bag all up in my brain!

Not to say I’m not excited about going home; I’m really looking forward to it!

But I know that a lot has changed since I’ve been gone, and I’ve changed, too. My friends and family have lived their daily lives without me in in it, and for some for them, I have no idea what stories, events, and news I have missed out on.

In my dream, I was reeling from the changes and telling everyone to be nice to me because I had reverse culture shock!

A lot of people–unless they’ve lived in a different country for a long period of time–have heard of culture shock (the uncomfortable feelings and confusion when entering a new country, much like I experienced earlier), but not reverse culture shock (similar feelings occurring when returning to the home country).

We’ve been warned about it since the beginning, but we were warned about culture shock too. And from my experience, there’s not a whole lot you can do during it, but it sure helps a lot to know that it’s normal and will pass.

Hopefully returning in real life won’t be as unpleasant (or as dramatic) as my dream! I have was home in the States for a brief amount of time back in December, but since it was only a week and I was so excited, I think it was like a reverse honeymoon. I ate SO MUCH junk food, it was absolutely ridiculous (my stomach thought so too!). And everyone was still really excited to hear my stories and experiences being abroad.

But how long will that last the next time around?


Picture credits: mixed feelings (, life changes (, reverse culture shock (


3 comments on “Anticipation & Nightmares: Reverse Culture Shock

  1. Lindsay Hartfiel
    April 24, 2012

    Hi Alanna – thanks for including a link to Native Foreigner! If you’re at all interested in sharing your story or photos from your study abroad experience in France, feel free to get in touch in with me. Enjoy the rest of your time abroad!

    Lindsay Hartfiel

  2. I think knowing that this could happen is half the battle – so you’re on the right track! I was abroad for 5.5 years and took several years to feel properly at home again … but there’s still lots to enjoy about being home. I tried to remember that!

    • alannapeebles
      April 28, 2012

      Aww, thank you so much for the words of encouragement!! I really appreciate it :)

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This entry was posted on April 24, 2012 by in Student Life abroad, Travel.
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