You’ve been overseas for a long time. You’re finally home and ready to start your life in the United States. You’ve probably heard that you should expect culture shock as soon as you step off the plane at JFK or LAX, but what does that actually mean? The reality of it is actually much more nuanced than a simple “you’re going to feel differently than you did before.” Different cultures have different norms and expectations around many parts of life—and if you’re coming home from an international assignment, those differences can be especially pronounced.

Pay attention to your feelings.

  • Identify your feelings.
  • Express your feelings.
  • Try not to bottle them up.
  • Listen to others’ feelings, even if you don’t agree with what they say or do in response to the situation they’re in, because everyone has different experiences and perspectives on life—and that’s okay! You might even learn something from them (like how much I’ve learned about my own life since coming home). Don’t judge anyone else for having different ideas about what would make them happy than what makes us happy ourselves either: we all have our own ideas about happiness, but no one person’s idea of it is right or wrong (except maybe yours).

Try not to isolate yourself.

  • Get out and meet people.
  • Try to make friends.
  • Look for a job that you like, but also one that pays well enough so that you can afford food, rent and other basic necessities (and maybe even save some money). If your parents are worried about paying for your education, ask them if they will help cover the cost of tuition at a local university or community college. This might seem like an obvious step—but it isn’t always easy for families who immigrated from another country with little money in tow.* Try to get involved in your community; this will give you more opportunities both locally and globally!

Look for support groups.

You may find that you need to seek out support groups. Research the different types of support groups and find one that will be most beneficial for your situation.

  • Find local groups in your area: If there are no local support groups for people who have experienced culture shock, then consider finding a nearby city or town that has one of these types of organizations. You can even look at websites like and Facebook Groups (which I’ve personally done) to see if anyone else is starting up something similar.
  • Free/low cost options: While some people choose not too because they’re worried about money, others just don’t have enough money at all times so they’ll make do with whatever resources are available at hand; this includes volunteering opportunities or donating items over time rather than spending money on them right away – which might seem counterintuitive but it works!
  • Close proximity: Sometimes it’s easier mentally when we’re close by; this way we’re able to talk face-to-face rather than text message someone who lives across town…or even across state lines!

Maintain old connections.

Maintain old connections.

It is important to stay in touch with your friends from your home country, and try to maintain the same friendships you had before coming home. Sometimes we forget how much we miss our families and friends, but it’s good practice for being away from them. You should also keep in touch with people who were close to you during college or high school: maybe one of them has moved abroad as well, or maybe they’re still living in America but plan on staying there indefinitely (which might be a good thing). If you don’t have any friends at work yet because no one knows who all those new people are yet, then try joining an organization like Toastmasters International which will help guide and support new members through their first few months at their job location!

Look for volunteer opportunities if you can’t find work right away

If you’re experiencing culture shock, volunteering is a great way to get your bearings straight. Volunteer work can be fun and rewarding, but it can also help with the transition back into the working world—as well as your own self-confidence.

Volunteering isn’t just about helping others; it’s also about making yourself feel like you’re making an impact in your community. You’ll meet new people who share interests with you and give them insight into what makes America so great! (Or not.) And if all else fails: maybe this will lead up to finding a job.

Give yourself time to readjust.

It’s important to give yourself time to adjust, so don’t feel pressured or rushed. Try not to isolate yourself if you can help it. It may be tempting at first to focus all your energy on getting back into a routine and avoiding any new situations that might cause stress or anxiety, but this can backfire in the long run.

Find support groups for people who are just as confused about their lives as you are, look for volunteer opportunities that align with what interests you (or something similar), maintain old connections and try not to let them fade away over time—they’re essential for keeping us grounded when we feel lost! If there’s anything I can say from personal experience: pay attention! Feelings will come up when they need doing so no matter how much we try otherwise; they’ve been there since birth after all…

You can prevent culture shock from affecting your homecoming if you know what to expect and are prepared to deal with it.

You can prevent culture shock from affecting your homecoming if you know what to expect and are prepared to deal with it. Here are some tips:

  • Be prepared for the culture shock by staying in contact with old friends, making friends at the school and getting involved in activities on campus.
  • Try not to isolate yourself when you first arrive back home; go out with friends or family members who will help support your transition by keeping an eye on things for you as well as helping you adjust back into life at home.
  • Pay attention to how much time is spent alone vs with others, especially during those first few days after returning from travel abroad — this can provide important insight into whether or not there is a problem here (e.g., maybe I’ve been spending too much time alone lately).


We hope this article has helped you understand what culture shock is, how to prevent it from affecting your homecoming and what you can do to make the transition easier. You’re not alone in this process and there are plenty of resources out there that can help you through it. Remember that by taking care of yourself, you’ll be able to better cope with everything else life throws at us.