As students studying abroad, we really only work to prepare ourselves for culture shock. Though there isn’t a way around it, we know that two things are guaranteed: that we will experience it at some point and that our reaction to the experience will be a testament of growth for our future selves. However, it’s not as common to hear about culture shock’s twin sister, reverse culture shock…

What is reverse culture shock? Reverse culture shock is the experience of “culture shock” upon returning home after living in another culture. After talking to a couple of my friends who have studied abroad, it took them some time to get adjusted to being back home. Though being home can feel familiar and comfortable, there are nuances in life in Spain that will be missed. Here are some tips that have helped me and others during our transition:

How can you tackle reverse culture shock?

  • Stay connected to friends made while abroad
  • Be of service to someone else
  • Study abroad programs
  • Volunteer with organizations that engage with international people
  • Share your experience
  • Acknowledgement
  • You are not the same person – and that’s okay
  • Name the positives in your CURRENT environment
  • Community
  • Talk to friends or other students who have studied abroad

Personally, I feel that my transition back to the states was a bit smoother because I took advice from someone else who had studied abroad and recommended that I stayed in touch with my study abroad organization at school and within the clubs that I was already a part of while abroad. This helped me feel like I didn’t miss too much and that I had support readily available whenever I missed life in Barcelona. Here are some more tips about what you can do while abroad to help prepare and lessen your reverse culture shock:

What to do while abroad to lessen reverse culture shock?

  • -Stay connected to U.S. family and friends
  • -Stay connected to current home institution clubs and organizations
  • -Get connected with your study abroad organization on your home campus
  • -Apply to become a Barcelona SAE Alumni Ambassador
  • -Capture your moments abroad and live in the moment

All in all, life is still a journey that takes its own course, whether you’re currently studying abroad, thinking about studying abroad, or back in your home country. I am proud of you! I believe in you! And ANYTHING is possible with even just a bit of hope and faith. 🙂

Rosalina at an Aggies Abroad event on the NC A&T campus.
Rosalina in Helen, Georgia, a town that reminded her of the culture in Europe.
Rosalina hanging out with one of her close friends after her semester abroad.
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Rosalina Macon

Rosalina Macon

Rosalina is a Psychology student from North Carolina A&T State University, and studied abroad at the UB during Fall 2023. She now serves as a Barcelona SAE Alumni Ambassador for Spring 2024.



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