Readjustment Strategies

Remember that you are a veteran of culture shock! You've been through difficult and trying situations living in Japan and have come out okay. Use the same techniques that helped you cope here to assist with your readjustment back home.

  • Think of going home as a new adventure rather than the end of your Japanese one. Be proactive in that new adventure and relearn your own culture.
  • Adopt the stance of an observer, not a judge. It is easy to criticize but more difficult to understand. You may be seeing your home country through new eyes.
  • Anticipation is key! Expect to feel a bit of frustration and depression. Knowing that you may experience these feelings will not prevent them, but it may keep you from being overwhelmed by them.
  • Don't think, 'I'm going to beat it!' rather, 'I'm going to take it on!'
  • Stay active! Volunteering, working, taking a course, doing a hobby and staying in good physical shape will help you to keep genki.
  • Take your time and be kind to yourself. Moving house is stressful enough, let alone moving cultures AND job AND hometown AND friends! Don't beat yourself up if you haven't got your dream job and life within the first month back!
  • Avoid making any major, life-changing decisions while you're still getting readjusted.
  • Develop support systems: re-connect with people from home; people whofve lived abroad may make the best listeners: keep in touch with other ALTs or returnees from exchanges abroad; join JETAA.
  • Make the effort to maintain your "Japanese life": keep in touch with your friends in Japan; study Japanese; be aware of Japanese communities and cultural events in your home country.
  • Be patient with those around you who have not experienced your life here and so may well not be interested in hearing about it endlessly.
  • Recognize that family members who went through tough times back home during your absence can sometimes harbor unconscious resentment towards you for being away then.