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Dealing with reverse culture shock
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15323

PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nomad soul

It is very similar in Britain. people generally do not want to know about what you did when you were "overseas".


People do not want to see outside their own world and their "comfort zone".
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kev20



Joined: 31 Jul 2013
Posts: 114

PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

scot47 wrote:
Nomad soul

It is very similar in Britain. people generally do not want to know about what you did when you were "overseas".


People do not want to see outside their own world and their "comfort zone".


I think maybe some of us are the same. Everyone has their comfort zone and most only step outside it if there are no other options.

I don't think people at home show lack of interest because hearing about some English teacher's "experience" will be too much for their "narrow" minds. I think it is a genuine lack of interest based on them already knowing the score.

My uncle did peacekeeping in Lebanon. Another uncle is working on oil rigs off the coast of Scotland. I asked them questions because their jobs were something I could never do, I didn't understand and when I was young I admired them. Another uncle of mine did construction in Australia. I didn't really ask him anything. People don't ask me about my lifestyle in China. They don't ask me about teaching and I don't blame them. But they are very interested about some of the business things I am doing. I think most people are interested in what they don't understand, and teaching English in Asia or wherever isn't that mystifying for people.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the average tabloid reader and Junk-TV watcher, anything "foreign" is totally weird. The acquisition of a foreign language is unthinkable and teaching English to foreign folk is beyond comprehension.
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Yanklonigan



Joined: 23 Jan 2017
Posts: 36

PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Years ago somebody told me the two things people aren't interested in hearing about are your children and your vacations. I think people couldn't care less about your experiences that don't include them.

Even when I was overseas I wasn't overly interested in hearing English teachers gush on about the glories of their countries, the short comings of mine, and the great achievements of their pasts. Imagine other people aren't interested in listening about the time we scaled Mt. Fuji, rode a camel in the Arabian night or swam across the Nile.

Dealing with culture shock is coming to the realization that life is moving on within you and without you. I think the quicker we file our memories into a cabinet and move on with our lives, the happier you'll be. I know for me it's easier said than done. I haven't talked English overseas in eighteen years and it is still in my bloodstream.
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RedLightning



Joined: 08 Aug 2015
Posts: 126
Location: United States

PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a very interesting sub-discussion.
When I'm here at home, I usually have no interest in hearing about my friends' travels, but this may be due to the fact that my own travels are far more interesting/exotic than their week long vacations in France.
Moreover, I actually do enjoy swapping stories with fellow EFLers
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Red

You are saying in effect "My stories are more interesting than your stories" Believing that, or acting on it, is a sure way to gain a reputation as a bore.
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Moma



Joined: 26 Jul 2017
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those who stayed in their home countries might have had other experiences such as starting a family and raising kids. For them it might not seem so interesting to hear your stories of teaching other people's kids.

I quite agree that experiencing a foreign land requires living there a while and trying to learn its language and ways, but many stay behinders are content with two weeks a year package touring it. If you're happy to hear about their kids excelling at school or look at their house extension plans, maybe they'll reciprocate and hear of your travels.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11407
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Nomad soul
It is very similar in Britain. people generally do not want to know about what you did when you were "overseas".

People do not want to see outside their own world and their "comfort zone".

I agree that some people, especially personal acquaintances, have no interest in hearing anecdotes or details about our experiences abroad. However, my point was from a professional work perspective, given how many businesses are global and/or employ a diverse workforce.

Case in point, the article, Understanding Workplace Cultures Globally, recognizes that, "Employees work virtually across borders via technology, they work with a variety of ethnicities at home, and they interact with a globally dispersed customer base. So a global mindset and skills are necessary for all employees." It goes on to indicate the following characteristics of "culturally competent" people:
    • Openness to cultural diversity
    • Flexibility and adaptability
    • Emotional resilience
    • Curiosity
    • Tolerance and respect for differences
    • Patience
    • A nonjudgmental attitude
    • Global identity
    • Cultural intelligence
    • Global leadership behaviors
    • Multicultural experiences, such as being multilingual and having lived in more than one country
Those are great attributes, especially if you possess more than half. However, some US employers (and companies in other countries) don't see the full value in a repatriated job candidate's experience of living and working in a multicultural context, which can further add to the cultural alienation some returnees feel in a professional work setting. Plus, it can be a challenge to find the "right" work situation, especially for those who either don't qualify for a role in education or aren't looking to teach when they head home. It's crucial to include such qualities on your CV and/or cover letters as well as target those companies that seem to embrace a global mindset. Don't feel as if your multicultural experiences have zero value.
.
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RedLightning



Joined: 08 Aug 2015
Posts: 126
Location: United States

PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

scot47 wrote:
Red

You are saying in effect "My stories are more interesting than your stories" Believing that, or acting on it, is a sure way to gain a reputation as a bore.


Very true. Although I did not mean to phrase it the way I did here, I actually do believe it more times than not. Perhaps this shows through during conversation.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1562
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After being in Japan for 17 years, I could imagine myself hanging out with Japanese or other Asian-Americans on the west coast since we can talk about certain things that other Americans either don't know or don't care about.

I think that is the issue. I really feel like Rip Van Winkle, the man who fell asleep and woke up 20 years later and could not relate with life in his town.
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Shakey



Joined: 29 Aug 2014
Posts: 199

PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mitsui wrote:
I really feel like Rip Van Winkle, the man who fell asleep and woke up 20 years later and could not relate with life in his town

That's me. I don't belong here, and I no longer fit in at home. I don't even bother going back anymore.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shakey

Time for a plan for retirement.
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Otterman Ollie



Joined: 23 Feb 2004
Posts: 1067
Location: South Western Turkey

PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is something ı have talked about with the other half, going back to the land of our birth after been away for a quarter of a century.

Basically we identify with the posters who say that most people in the UK are not interested in our travels abroad and we would soon be seen as a pair of old bores. Forget the workplace, retirement would be the only option as any experience gained overseas in the teaching profession is worthless unless you have DELTA or PHD type documents regardless of how recent they may be.
Old stomping grounds will have changed from all recognition and the people you grew up with and even went to school with have moved on and may have even passed away.

It would be better to join activity or self interest groups frequented by fellow xpats and those of the same generation, at least it may gave some dimension to the chance of a fresh start in your own country, pretty absurf really but there it is!
Hopefully that time is a long way off, can't stand the weather, food and the petty bylaws enforced by even pettier people. on top of that the pension is the worst in Europe! Home who needs it?
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11407
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Otterman Ollie wrote:
It would be better to join activity or self interest groups frequented by fellow xpats and those of the same generation, at least it may gave some dimension to the chance of a fresh start in your own country.

Per the article, that's how others have managed reverse culture shock when they repatriated:

Quote:
Some of those attempting to repatriate actively sought out expat communities. “This was helpful because I tended not to hang out with very many other Americans while abroad and I got to re-experience American culture through their eyes, making the adjustment a little easier,” wrote Alexis Gordon.

As well as...

Quote:
“I decided to treat the repatriation experience as if it were another expat assignment, albeit a more familiar place where I know the language. That has helped me adjust,” wrote Katrina Gonnerman.

.
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Mr. Kalgukshi
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Joined: 18 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Future thread derailing, off-topic and/or politics postings will see authors of same permanently departing this site along with their ISPs.
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