Reverse Culture Shock

Coming home after studying abroad

NOTE: UAlbany recommends that students and their families read this section carefully.

Coming home from overseas is often more stressful than going away.  Before you study abroad, you are unlikely to think that this is the case. But experience has shown that "reverse culture shock" does indeed exist.

One of the most challenging aspects of returning home from studying abroad is that it may seem like everyone expects you to readjust instantly.  Meanwhile, you may find yourself jet lagged and feeling out of place, missing parts of your overseas life very much, especially the people. You will have missed out on many happenings in the U.S., so people will want to bring you up-to-date.  But your friends and family are likely to show only minimal interest in your experiences overseas, which can be frustrating.  Your newfound appreciation for another way and rhythm of life may even lead you to become hypercritical of American practices that you once embraced or overlooked.  You may feel ill-equipped to discuss these new emotions with anyone.  Even your parents, relieved that you are home safe, who may have listened to every adventure while you were away, might now turn their thoughts to other matters.  

To counter the culture-shock “blues,” make a point of seeking out others who have been away or who want to hear you recount your travels, or even look at your pictures.  The University at Albany Office of International Education staff is happy to do so.  We encourage you to email us at or call us at (518) 591-8170. 

Your study abroad experience does not have to end when you come back to the U.S.  Participating in local international activities can help you to readjust and integrate your study abroad experience into your academic/professional life.  

Some suggestions: keep in touch with your new friends overseas; volunteer in the study abroad office on your home campus; write an article for our newsletter about your experiences; mentor a student interested in studying abroad; join international student activities; and consider studying abroad again!

Various study abroad alumni went on to create blogs from their travels and studies.  In the process, they have connected and inspired countless former, current, and future study abroad participants:

Last modified 02/16/2015