Post-Australia Blues: Back in NYC and Feeling Reverse Culture Shock!
posted by Danielle Infantino
“The time is 8:35 pm and we have arrived at JFK. For those who are visiting New York, enjoy your stay, and for those who live here, welcome home.”
I looked out the window of the airplane thinking: “Am I really home? “Where did the last five months in Australia go?” “Was this a dream?” “Did I really just sit on a 24-hour flight?” “Are my bags going to be there?”
There are so many emotions and feelings going through my body I didn’t know how to react. I was anxious to say the least, excited, nervous, but there was this feeling of sadness I couldn’t seem to push away.
After a significant amount of time of waiting for my suitcases, I took a second before entering the hall where my family was waiting for me. I looked around to see families, solo travelers, and airport workers, and it all seemed out of the ordinary. I took note of the accents, a bit of yelling, and how everybody was in a hurry.
They say that before you go aboard, you need to prepare for a culture shock, and adjusting may take some time, but I felt like I was experiencing reverse culture shock in my own city.
I can’t help but notice people staring at me, probably because I looked like I was crying (I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t.)
There was still so many emotions running though me. It started to feel like one of those scenes from a movie. It felt unreal, even with "Welcome Home Mate" sign that my parents were holding.
Days went by, even weeks, I was overwhelmed and sad all the time and I knew that this wasn’t normal. It was like everywhere I went I could relate to an experience from Aussie. I missed the people, the culture, everything.
I knew it wasn’t something that wouldn’t be mended in a day or a week, maybe not even a month or two. Shortly after my return (thanks to the study abroad post-orientation). I learned that this “Post-Australia Blues” was totally normal.
I try to focus on what this trip now allows me to do, and how I can share it. I have been receiving advice from faculty and from other study abroad students on ways to “overcome the blues.” And if I have any advice it would be:
- Keep in Contact (do expect calls at weird hours)
- Post photos and share them!
- Meet with other study abroad students
- Keep yourself occupied
If I could offer any advice to future students going abroad It would be take every opportunity that you can. Do things you wouldn’t normally do, and experience the world. Time abroad goes by quickly. Be grateful and enjoy every moment that you have.
Danielle may have had reverse culture shock upon her return, but she wouldn't have traded her experiences in Australia for anything in the world! Read about the Study Abroad programs at LIM.