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Reader Stories: How Erin Is Readjusting To Life Back Home


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Tamqrah Spradley



Coming back home after a long period of living abroad can be both exciting and challenging. The experience of being immersed in a different culture, language, and way of life can have a profound impact on individuals, and readjusting to life back home can sometimes feel like a daunting task. In this reader story, we will explore Erin’s journey of readjustment after returning home from living abroad.


Erin, like many others, had always dreamed of exploring different corners of the world and immersing herself in new experiences. After completing her studies, she took the leap and embarked on a year-long adventure in a foreign country. She embraced the unfamiliar, learned a new language, and adopted new cultural customs. However, as her time abroad came to an end, Erin found herself facing a new set of challenges upon returning home.


It is important to note that readjustment experiences can vary greatly from person to person. Factors such as the length of stay abroad, cultural differences, personal circumstances, and individual resilience all contribute to the challenges one might face when readjusting to life back home. In Erin’s case, readjustment was a multifaceted process that involved emotional and psychological readjustment, social readjustment, and cultural and lifestyle readjustment.


Background: Erin’s Experience Abroad

Erin’s experience abroad was transformative and enriching. She had the opportunity to live in a vibrant city, surrounded by a different language, cuisine, and way of life. During her time abroad, Erin developed deep connections with the local community, formed lasting friendships, and honed her language skills.


Living abroad provided Erin with a chance to step out of her comfort zone and embrace new perspectives. She immersed herself in the local culture, attending festivals, exploring historical sites, and trying traditional cuisine. Erin also took advantage of the opportunity to travel to neighboring countries, further expanding her horizons and knowledge of different cultures.


While abroad, Erin faced numerous challenges that pushed her to grow and adapt. She had to navigate through unfamiliar public transportation systems, overcome language barriers, and learn to communicate effectively in a foreign language. These experiences allowed Erin to develop resilience and resourcefulness in a way that she had never experienced before.


Overall, Erin’s time abroad was a transformative and cherished chapter in her life. However, as the end of her journey approached, she realized that readjusting to life back home would not be as simple as she initially thought. She was about to embark on a new adventure, one that would require her to navigate through a different set of challenges and emotions. 

Reasons for Readjustment Challenges

Returning home after an extended period of time abroad can pose several challenges for individuals like Erin. These challenges arise due to a variety of factors, including:

  1. Reverse Culture Shock: Just as Erin experienced culture shock when she first arrived in a new country, she now faces the reverse culture shock upon returning home. The familiar surroundings and routines that were once second nature may now feel strange and unfamiliar. This can lead to feelings of confusion, disorientation, and a sense of not fully belonging.
  2. Loss of the Expat Community: While abroad, Erin formed strong bonds with other expatriates who shared a similar experience. These individuals became her support system, understanding the unique challenges and triumphs of living in a foreign country. Returning home means leaving behind this close-knit community, which can result in a sense of isolation and a loss of support.
  3. Career and Professional Challenges: Erin may find it challenging to reintegrate into the workforce in her home country. The skills and experiences she gained abroad may not be easily transferable, and she may face difficulties in navigating the job market or finding fulfillment in her career.
  4. Comparison and Nostalgia: Being exposed to a different culture and way of life can change one’s perspective and create a sense of nostalgia for the time spent abroad. Erin may find herself constantly comparing her home country to the one she left, longing for certain aspects of the foreign culture and feeling dissatisfied with the familiar.
  5. Readjusting Personal Relationships: Relationships with friends and family may undergo readjustment as well. Loved ones may have moved on with their lives, and Erin may struggle to find a balance between reconnecting with them and feeling like she has outgrown certain aspects of her home environment.

These reasons, among others, contribute to the readjustment challenges faced by individuals like Erin upon returning home. It is important to recognize these challenges and develop strategies to navigate through them in order to make the readjustment process more manageable.


Emotional and Psychological Readjustment

The emotional and psychological aspects of readjusting to life back home can be complex and varied. Erin, like many others, experienced a range of emotions during this transition period.


One common emotion is a sense of reverse culture shock, which can lead to feelings of disorientation, frustration, and even a sense of loss. Erin may have difficulty navigating through the familiar yet changed environment of her home country. The things that were once normal and routine may now feel foreign, which can cause a sense of disconnect and emotional turmoil.


Erin may also experience a sense of grief or longing for the life she left behind abroad. The memories, experiences, and relationships she formed during her time overseas can create a powerful attachment, and readjusting to life back home means accepting that those aspects of her life are now in the past. This can lead to feelings of nostalgia and a sense of missing the adventure and excitement of her time abroad.


Additionally, Erin may find that her personal growth and changed perspectives from her time abroad may not always align with the views and values of her home environment. This can create a sense of frustration or even conflict as she tries to reconcile her newfound knowledge and experiences with the expectations and norms of her home culture.


It is important for Erin to acknowledge and process these emotions during her readjustment. Connecting with a support network, whether it’s friends, family, or fellow travelers, can provide an outlet for expressing these feelings. Seeking therapy or counseling may also be beneficial in navigating through the emotional and psychological challenges of readjustment.


Ultimately, it is important for Erin to give herself time and space to adjust emotionally and psychologically. Recognizing that readjustment is a process and being kind to oneself during this period of transition can help facilitate a smoother emotional and psychological journey back home.


Social Readjustment

Another important aspect of readjusting to life back home for Erin is social readjustment. Returning to her home country means reconnecting with old friends and family while also navigating changes in relationships and forming new connections.


One challenge Erin may face is finding that her social circles have changed during her time abroad. Friends and acquaintances may have moved on, started families, or pursued different paths in her absence. Reestablishing connections and building new relationships can take time and effort.


Additionally, Erin may find that her experiences abroad have shaped her in ways that are different from those around her. This can lead to difficulties in relating to others and feeling understood. The perspectives and values she gained while living abroad may not always align with the norms and experiences of her home culture.


One way for Erin to navigate these social challenges is by seeking out communities and groups that share her passion for travel and international experiences. Online platforms, meetups, and events can provide opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals who have similar global perspectives.


It’s also important for Erin to communicate openly with friends and family about her experiences abroad. Sharing stories, photos, and insights from her time overseas can help bridge the gap and foster understanding. Similarly, being open to hearing about and appreciating the experiences of others can strengthen relationships and facilitate social readjustment.


Overall, social readjustment requires patience, openness, and a willingness to embrace new connections and experiences. By actively seeking out opportunities to engage with others and being open to building meaningful relationships, Erin can successfully navigate the social challenges of readjusting to life back home.


Cultural and Lifestyle Readjustment

Returning to her home country after living abroad means that Erin will need to readjust to the cultural norms, lifestyle, and routines that she was once familiar with. This process of cultural and lifestyle readjustment can bring its own set of challenges and opportunities.


One of the main challenges Erin may encounter is adapting to the cultural differences she finds at home. While abroad, she embraced a different way of life, customs, and traditions. Now, she must reacquaint herself with the cultural nuances and expectations of her home country. This can involve navigating social etiquette, understanding subtle cultural cues, and adjusting to different societal norms.


Additionally, Erin may find that her values and perspectives have shifted as a result of her time abroad. She may have developed a more open-minded and global outlook, which may clash with the more insular mindset of her home culture. It can be difficult to navigate these differences and find a balance between embracing her newfound perspectives and respecting the cultural norms of her home country.


Another aspect of cultural and lifestyle readjustment for Erin involves settling back into familiar routines and systems. Simple tasks like grocery shopping, banking, and using public transportation may have changed during her time abroad, requiring her to learn and adapt to any new processes or technologies that have emerged in her absence.


On the flip side, the readjustment period also presents opportunities for Erin to appreciate and rediscover aspects of her home culture that she may have taken for granted before. This can include reconnecting with local traditions, foods, and cultural events that she missed while living abroad. It’s a chance for Erin to find a new appreciation for her own culture and blend it with the experiences and knowledge she gained from her time abroad.


In order to facilitate a smoother cultural and lifestyle readjustment, Erin can make an effort to reconnect with her local community. Engaging in activities, joining clubs or organizations, and exploring local events and attractions can help her reacclimate to the cultural fabric of her home country.


Ultimately, cultural and lifestyle readjustment requires patience, curiosity, and an open-minded attitude. By embracing and respecting both the familiar and the new, Erin can navigate the challenges and opportunities of readjusting to her home culture and lifestyle.


Coping Strategies and Support Systems

During the process of readjusting to life back home, having effective coping strategies and a strong support system can greatly assist Erin in navigating the various challenges she may encounter.


One important coping strategy is self-care. Erin should prioritize her physical and mental well-being by engaging in activities that bring her joy and relaxation. This could include exercise, hobbies, meditation, or spending quality time with loved ones. Taking care of herself will help alleviate stress and provide a sense of stability during the readjustment period.


Seeking support from others who have had similar experiences can also be beneficial for Erin. Connecting with fellow travelers or expats through online forums, support groups, or local meetups can provide a sense of camaraderie and understanding. Sharing stories, insights, and advice can help Erin navigate the challenges and offer a fresh perspective.


Friends and family can be a significant source of support for Erin as well. By communicating openly with loved ones about her readjustment challenges, she can lean on their support, understanding, and guidance. They can provide a listening ear, offer advice, or simply be there to provide emotional support during this transition.


Professional help, such as therapy or counseling, can also be valuable for Erin as she navigates the emotional and psychological aspects of readjustment. A trained therapist can provide guidance, tools, and techniques to help manage feelings of reverse culture shock, nostalgia, and any other emotional challenges that may arise.


Finally, Erin can focus on building a new sense of routine and purpose in her home country. Setting goals, whether they are related to career, personal growth, or other areas of life, can bring a sense of direction and motivation. Engaging in activities that align with her passions and interests can give her a sense of purpose and fulfillment.


It’s important for Erin to remember that readjustment takes time and patience. By being kind to herself, seeking support, and utilizing effective coping strategies, she can successfully navigate the challenges and embrace the opportunities that come with readjusting to life back home.


Lessons Learned and Advice for Others

Erin’s readjustment journey has been filled with both challenges and valuable lessons. Reflecting on her experience, she offers some advice and insights for others who may find themselves in a similar situation:


1. Embrace the readjustment process: Understand that readjustment takes time and patience. It’s normal to experience a range of emotions, and it’s important to give yourself space to navigate through them.


2. Seek support: Reach out to others who have gone through a similar experience. Connect with fellow travelers, expats, or support groups to share stories, seek advice, and find a sense of community.


3. Communicate with loved ones: Communicate openly with friends and family about your experiences and challenges. This will help them understand your journey and provide the necessary support during the readjustment process.


4. Maintain connections with your expat community: Even though you’re back home, continue to nurture relationships with the friends you made abroad. These connections can be a source of support, understanding, and shared experiences as you navigate readjustment.


5. Celebrate and appreciate your newfound perspectives: Embrace the valuable lessons and cultural insights you gained during your time abroad. Find ways to incorporate these perspectives into your daily life and share them with others. Your experiences have shaped you in unique ways.


6. Stay curious and open-minded: Approach your home country with the same sense of curiosity and open-mindedness you had while living abroad. Seek out new experiences, explore local culture, and continue to learn and grow in your familiar surroundings.


7. Set new goals and find purpose: Use your readjustment as an opportunity to set new goals and find a sense of purpose. Identify what brings you joy and work towards fulfilling those aspirations, whether they’re related to work, personal growth, or other areas of life.


8. Be kind to yourself: Remember that readjustment can be challenging, but it’s important to be patient and compassionate towards yourself. Take care of your physical and mental well-being, practice self-care, and give yourself the time and space to adapt.


By incorporating these lessons and advice into her own readjustment journey, Erin has found a sense of balance and fulfillment. She encourages others going through a similar process to embrace their experiences, seek support, and approach their readjustment with a positive mindset.



The readjustment process after returning home from living abroad can be both challenging and transformative. Erin’s journey highlights the emotional, social, cultural, and lifestyle aspects of this transition. As she navigates the complexities of readjusting to her home country, Erin has learned valuable lessons and offers advice for others going through a similar experience.


Embracing the readjustment process with patience and understanding is essential. Recognizing and validating the range of emotions that arise during this transition, such as reverse culture shock and nostalgia, is crucial for personal growth and acceptance.


Seeking support from like-minded individuals and building a strong network of friends, family, and fellow travelers can provide a sense of belonging and understanding. Sharing stories, seeking guidance, and maintaining connections with the expat community are vital aspects of the readjustment journey.


Erin also emphasizes the importance of communication and open-mindedness. By openly discussing her experiences and bridging cultural gaps with loved ones, she can foster understanding and build deeper, more resilient relationships. At the same time, she recognizes the value of maintaining her newfound perspectives and incorporating them into her daily life.


Setting new goals, finding purpose, and embracing local culture are ways to navigate the challenges of cultural and lifestyle readjustment. Erin encourages others to approach their home country with a sense of curiosity and a willingness to explore and learn, even in familiar surroundings.


Finally, Erin reminds us to be kind to ourselves throughout the readjustment process. Practicing self-care, prioritizing physical and mental well-being, and giving ourselves the time and space to adapt are crucial for a successful readjustment experience.


With these insights, lessons, and strategies, Erin welcomes the exciting and transformative opportunities that come with readjusting to life back home. By embracing her experiences, seeking support, and maintaining a positive mindset, Erin sets the stage for a fulfilling readjustment journey.