Global Citizens Network

Your Re-Entry Process

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Working side by side with my husband and children, helping, reaching out, and learning from people in a culture vastly different from our own together as a family was one of the most valuable experiences of my life. We are already planning our next volunteer vacation.

- Karen

Understanding Your Re-Entry Process and Reverse Culture Shock 

 Coming home can be one of the most surprising parts of any trip and an aspect of a voyage that is often not given much attention. Everyone's return is different. For some it may be wonderful to reunite with family and friends and to enjoy the comforts known and trusted. Others may find that home is not quite the same place s/he left. 

Keep in mind that many of the feelings you may experience stem from changes you have undergone during your GCN experience and the ambiguity about how the new "you" fits into your old life. Remember, change can be positive! You have new ideas and a better sense of who you are and what you can do. You have grown and developed as a person. You know your strengths, have learned new interpersonal skills and have shared incredible experiences. These positive changes help to form global citizens.

DON’T...

  • Expect life to be exactly how you left it
  • Forget what you learned as you assimilated into a new culture
  • Make impulsive or drastic life changes for at least a few months after your return
  • Worry if things move too fast at home– they will

DO...

  • Apply the knowledge gained through your experience to your life
  • Take time to relax, enjoy yourself, and settle in 
  • Realize that the re-entry process is different for everyone and that it takes time and patience 
  • Channel your excitement into action at home 
  • Stay connected with the Network; who better to understand your experience than those who’ve been on a GCN journey themselves?
  • Browse our compilation of ideas on how you can reflect upon and share your story and utilize your experience in your personal and professional development 

To learn more about re-entry/reverse culture shock, consider the following resources: