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Reverse culture shock and going home
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jazblanc77



Joined: 22 Feb 2004

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reverse culture shock and going home Reply with quote

Given the thread about "Koreans on Korea" here http://www.eslcafe.com/forums/korea/viewtopic.php?t=21807, I came to think of what people think of their own countries upon returning after a long sejour away.

I personally find going back to Canada very harrowing whenever I do. I have retrurned to Canada two times in the past 5 years from various places in the world and each time I was blown away at how detached I was with everything Canadian.

When I returned from France in 2000 after a year of studying there, I was reverse culture shocked so badly that when my mother took me to a Safeway (a large supermarket chain), I even found it difficult to enter the store with all of the strange English speakers walking around everywhere, the big grocery carts (they usually only use small baskets in France as they shop practically everyday), the fat people, and the completely different air to the place. It took me an entire summer to pull myself together and get used to how things were done in Canada again. I discovered that there are things that I like about Canada but there are also a lot of things about Canada and Canadians that drive me nuts.

The longer, I am away from Canada, the more difficult, I think, it will be to go back. I know that Canada is changing a lot everyday while I hold onto my perception of how it is which is actually based on how it was more than 5 years ago.

What are the experiences of those of you who have returned after a prolonged period away? What peeves you, mystifies you, surprises you, or jolts you about 'home' when you return, if anything at all?
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crazylemongirl



Joined: 23 Mar 2003
Location: almost there...

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I mentioned this previously but the major thing that got on my nerves back in New Zealand was the small mindness of the people... they live in such a great country but you would think that they had the living standards of a 3rd world country by the way joe public carries on.
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Universalis



Joined: 17 Nov 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remeber going back in 1999 for the fist time after spending 2+ years in Korea. The TV was full of these strange ads from so-called "dot-com" companies. I didn't know what to make of them.

Brian
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waterbaby



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Location: Baking Gord a Cheescake pie

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been back in Australia for 3 months now and haven't gone through any reverse culture shocks... I was away for 2.5 years ... it's almost like I never left Shocked I had a day of the giggles when I first got back - listening to that Ozzie accent and over syllabisation of words (hey! did i just make up a word?) and enjoying walking on carpet. I hate the tax rate. Hate John Howard. Had TV ads. But otherwise OK!
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kangnamsock



Joined: 04 Jun 2004

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When ever I go back to where I am from I think how white and fat the people look, especially in Wal-Mart.
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Buff



Joined: 07 Apr 2004

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Money, excess and waste are the most difficult aspects of going home. That and not having anyone around that knows or understands what you've experienced. You just try to keep yourself from blabbing "In (country name)..."
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Zyzyfer



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Location: who, what, where, when, why, how?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both times I went back, I had a real problem with the "In Korea" thing. I've got so many friends that have never left the U.S., and I want to let them see a world that is nothing like the one they know. I'm a big fan of people getting out and travelling...

...anyways, I had that supermarket problem too. I walked into Walmart on my third day back and was taken aback by the sheer amount of everything. In English. Labels to read and compare. I spent 20 minutes choosing some damn peanuts!

After those two excursions back home and having some bad results from the most recent one, I'm not ready to go running home any time soon...not until it's time to settle down. I might go for a quick Christmas holiday or something, but that's about it.
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phaedrus



Joined: 13 Nov 2003
Location: I'm comin' to get ya.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was back in Canada I was fascinated that I could ask store clerks questions and get answers. The money was a bit strange. Especially having a pocket of Canadian coins that makes about $20 (toonies and loonies).
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Harin



Joined: 03 May 2004
Location: Garden of Eden

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everytime I visit Korea, I get inflation-shocked.

For example;

1997 2003

ramen 200won 500won
subway ticket 300won 700won
ȣ 200won 1,000won
jajangmyun 2,000won 3,000won


Crazy.....
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Barking Mad Lord Snapcase



Joined: 04 Nov 2003

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I basically loved the first few months back in Australia. It was a novelty not to be stared at for 5 mintes ... or see only a small percentage of the population running a red light ... or toilets with toilet paper in the cubicles (who would have thought?).

As time went on, I picked up a few problems due to personal situations. I can't "blame the culture" this time - its up to me to solve them.
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jazblanc77



Joined: 22 Feb 2004

PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2004 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

phaedrus wrote:
When I was back in Canada I was fascinated that I could ask store clerks questions and get answers. The money was a bit strange. Especially having a pocket of Canadian coins that makes about $20 (toonies and loonies).


Yeah, I can second this. Whenever I have returned to Canada, I have always been coming from a non-English speaking country and it is difficult to wrap my mind around the fact that I don't really have to think very hard to communicate well. For example, whenever I go to a post office, a bank or whatever in Korea, I always try to figure out what I will say to communicate what I need there. In Canada, I often found myself worrying about communication problems for the same tasks, only to remember that everyone in Canada speaks Englsih just like me. It really messes with my head!
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chronicpride



Joined: 16 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2004 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I went back for the first time after being in Korea for my first year, I was expecting more of a shock. The open spaces, the size of everything, english everywhere. But it wasn't so bad.

The one thing that I immediately noticed at Seattle airport for my stopover enroute to Calgary, was how fat or overweight everyone was. It gave me some sense of relief, as I felt thin and not self-conscious about my weight. In North America, I look fit and slim. But in Korea, I feel overweight compared to everyone around me.

Then I noticed how the sounds of english started becoming overwhelming and irritating. Sitting down in a restaurant and having to order in english from an english menu and being surrounded by overweight businessmen chatting and being able to pick up on every conversation around me. Listening to the verbal emoting of bravado, arrogance, humor, sorrow, etc..in the pockets of 10 different conversations going on, plus listening to the TV going on in the background, plus hearing the chatter of wait staff and cooks. That made me miss Korea, despite only being off of the plane for 30 minutes.

Within 2 days, I was fully missing Korea. The food, the sounds, the people. Getting drunk with friends and yearning for someone to talk with me in Korean or at least hearing a Korean conversation going on somewhere around me. I paid a visit to grocery store that I used to frequent, which is owned by some Koreans who were from Daegu.

It's been a year since I've been back to Canada and I don't plan on being back for another 6-12 months, and as I've immersed myself deeper into the local culture and language a lot more for the past year or 2, I expect a more profound shock the next time.
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Mashimaro



Joined: 31 Jan 2003
Location: location, location

PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2004 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

waterbaby wrote:
I hate the tax rate. Hate John Howard. Had TV ads. But otherwise OK!


Agree with you:
Political situation - sucks
Money situation - sucks

Two fairly big problems! I miss my loved ones, the wide open spaces and little else about Australia.
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Ya-ta Boy



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: Established in 1994

PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2004 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm leaving tomorrow for my third trip home in 10 years. I wish I could say I was looking forward to it, but I'm not. I wouldn't go at all except for family obligations.

What I didn't like the other two times is that it is impossible to sum up what my life is like here in the 5-10 minutes that anyone is willing to listen. They can't relate to my life and I was bored with their lives before I left and nothing has really changed. Just more of the same.

I really miss the special treatment that I get here. No clerk at 7-11 is ever excited to see me come in. I don't get any free french fries when I order a beer. No one wants to talk to me at a bus stop. No one uses two hands or makes sure my glass is full. Evil or Very Mad
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korian



Joined: 26 Feb 2004

PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2004 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i've been back in oz for about a year now. this is the longest i've been back after years away in different places. the biggest thing i love is the open spaces and the anonymity and the general good conduct of people.

by that last statement i mean a general respect for rules and etiquette. i know i'm imposing my own ideas of etiquette but that's me.....it's nice not to have ppl push in on you, not chew with their mouths open, not to be squeezed in tight everywhere, have ppl hoiking on the street. but the nicest thing is going out anyhwere and noone paying any attention to me. they are the nice things about being home.

the bad things are the amount of intolerance still. you really notice it after you've been away. still so many narrow minded fools, which makes it worse than korea in some regards coz we're supposed to be a developed, educated multicultural country. kind of disappointing too coz when in korea i felt often 'ppl wouldn't say/do/act like that in oz. but they do. but nowhere near as much.

john howard is a nightmare, tax, and general price of things.

but the beaches are second to none in this world. i'm living on the gold coast but am from sydney and oz's beaches are just sublime.

the variety of food is wonderful.

all up lots of good lots of bad. things are probably the same as when i first left but it's me that's changed a lot.

but i think i can live in eihter my home country or another place. i would never go so far as to say i felt alienated from my home country.....it just seems different from the country i knew before i went away. but it's still the same. i'm not.
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