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21 May
Reverse Culture Shock

Reverse Culture Shock

3614 times Last modified on Friday, 07 July 2017 05:24


One difficult part of life as a foreign teacher in China that unfortunately is often overlooked is the ‘reverse culture shock’ experienced when a teacher returns to their home country. In general, the global experience is often highly stimulating and exciting. The foreign teacher is often in a position of higher power and autonomy, and also enjoys a higher standard of life with higher levels of disposable income as the cost of living in China is relatively low. However, when returning home it is often assumed that the teacher will merely slot back perfectly into the home country and company just as it was previously.

As crazy as it sounds when talking about your home country, usually the repatriate has to relearn an old culture again, but it is often viewed from a different and less understanding perspective then when first experiencing a completely new culture. Frequently the returning teacher is shown little to no sympathy by their peers and friends, as from their viewpoint the teacher has been incredibly lucky to have the opportunity of such an amazing experience and all the other benefits that come with the role, and they are now merely complaining as they have to come back down to ‘reality’. All of this can potentially lead to feelings of being underappreciated and sometimes a loss of direction in life. Unless a person has experienced repatriation themselves they simply cannot relate to the individual, and this lack of understanding can prove to be very frustrating for the repatriate as they find it difficult to relate the value of their international experience to their family, friends and colleagues.

Ways to reduce reverse culture shock:

Share your experiences with others – Although you may feel like you are bragging or that no one wants to listen, there will be those around you who will support you with an honest interest in your experience. You could even start a blog and write about your time teaching abroad.

Maintain your international style – Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you have to give up the things you enjoyed whilst in China. Eat your favourite foreign dishes, continue to practice your new found Chinese language skills, and keep in touch with your international friends through Facebook and Wechat.

Reverse culture shock is a transition - The good news is that although it may take some time, you will gradually adjust back to the culture of your home country and be comfortable with where and whom you are.

Overall in the vast majority of cases teaching abroad is a tremendously positive experience and the upsides of teaching in China are endless. You have the chance to be part of a new culture, learn a foreign language, meet people from all over the world…and from a career orientated perspective you become a significantly more attractive candidate for future jobs. It is true, home is never really the same again, but for the better. You will have broadened your horizons and experienced things most people may only dream about. So don’t hesitate to start your own story about teaching in China……


By Oliver Gorman, Personal Placement Consultant

About our company: Teaching Nomad is an American owned and operated education Recruitment Company based in Shanghai, China. Our goal and purpose is to help great teachers find great teaching jobs. Year round, we have hundreds of teaching job vacancies. Whether your goal is to be an ESL teacher or teach in an international school, we have a teaching job for you. You can browse jobs online at for the latest job openings. Teaching Nomad is here to make teaching in China easier, so please feel free to reach out and contact us with any questions or inquiries!