Re-entry or Reverse Culture Shock 

Re-entry shock is something many ALTs face to varying degrees upon returning home. In a CLAIR survey of returned JETs, 62% said that they encountered difficulties in readjusting to life in their home countries. Just as moving to Japan required serious adapting, going back may require some adaptation as well. Food will be different, many of your friends will have changed, your country will have changed, and you will have missed out on a year or more of development in your family and home culture. To some extent going home can feel like going to a foreign country all over again, except worse because you are not expecting the differences. 

Similar to the culture shock process that many ALTs feel when adjusting to life in Japan, reverse culture shock is the term used to describe the difficulties of moving home after a long sojourn abroad. The process mirrors the eUf curve of culture shock, starting with a brief ehoneymoonf period, which then declines as the novelty of being home wears off, then the situation improves as the returned JET fully re-integrates into his/her new home. This process can take from six months to a year.

An idealized view of ghomeh and the expectation of total familiarity cause reverse culture shock. People often expect to pick up where they left off, but this is often not possible because not only have you changed, but everyone at home may have changed as well or not at all. 

The major difference between culture shock and re-entry shock lies in the lack of expectation: most ALTs do not anticipate going home to be stressful because they were used to home before they came here. However, just as you may think home to be the same, the people at home may well assume you to be the same as when you left. Neither of these expectations is likely to be met. Reverse culture shock is often much harder than culture shock because of the lack of expectation and preparation.