Many people take their own country and culture for granted until they travel abroad. Differences in customs and values become increasingly apparent and, out of necessity, you adopt some of these ways to get along. But often adjusting to these new ideas forces you to re-evaluate your old patterns, behavior, and decisions. The awareness of other lifestyles and cultures may give you critical insight into how things are done at home.
While you may happily accept some of the conveniences you missed while living abroad, you may also take a long hard look at practices you once considered normal. Your home culture, social conditions, and the mass media may no longer be to your liking. It's also possible to occasionally sense that you no longer fit in.
Communication, too, may feel awkward, whether adjusting to speaking English again or simply recognizing that communication styles are different. Your experience abroad taught you that learning how to communicate interculturally can be very exciting, though a bit trying in the beginning. Now you may need to apply that same sensitivity at home.
- Look at everything with fresh eyes.
- It might help you to be less hard on your home culture, and on yourself.
- Remember that your home culture, like the culture that you knew abroad, is a unique culture, rather than a better or worse one.
- Continue to deepen your knowledge of the places you visited.
- Keep up your language skills through courses, foreign films, and periodicals.
- Correspond with friends abroad in each other's languages.
- Initiate conversation with others on campus with interests in international and intercultural affairs.
- Keep up with cultural events in your host country.
- This is a good way to maintain the enthusiasm for the culture you experienced abroad.