You have just returned from a new, intercultural experience. If you lived with a host family, you may even feel like you had a second family abroad. While both of your families are concerned with your well-being, they probably treat you differently regarding personal responsibilities and independence. Now that you're home, you will probably be expected to slip right back into your accustomed family role as if you had never been away. This might be a bit of a problem in the beginning and communication may be awkward because your family members haven't shared your experience abroad.
Your parents may need some time to get used to the new you; they might struggle with the idea that there are other people whom you now consider family. On the other hand, if you lived in an apartment, you've probably gained a greater sense of independence. The freedom to structure your life as you pleased may be curtailed once you're back home with your family, and you might feel a bit restricted.
- Share your emotions and feelings about re-adjusting to home life with your family so they can better understand what you are feeling.
- Organize your pictures, videos, and other memorabilia as soon as possible. This will make it easier for you to share your overseas activities with your family.
- Be open to questions and comments and try to be patient if, at first, your family doesn't quite understand.
For those who had host families
- Don't forget to stay in contact with your host family.
- A couple of quick short notes a year can mean so much.
- One day, you might get a chance to visit them or they may be able to visit you.
- Allow yourself to assimilate and comfortably merge the influences of both families into your own set of values.