Coming home after a long time of living abroad is not always an easy thing to handle. After all, it took you a lot of time and effort to adjust to this new lifestyle and now when you go back, things won’t be as same as you remembered. There’s always that nagging feeling that you might not quite fit in at home again.
You can have mixed feelings about returning home, but it does not have to be a difficult experience. Below are the Top 10 tips to help you better readjust when it comes to moving home after living abroad.
1. Have realistic expectations
If you have been living abroad for many years, it is important to gauge your expectations of how life will look when you get back. Your friends and family might have changed or adjusted to new people or routines, this does not mean they don’t like you, but they have different lives to attend to now. Preparing yourself mentally to experience changes will help you cope better and make it less disappointing.
2. Plan your move back with care
Just as moving abroad, moving back can also have its challenges. Leaving your new friendships, job, routine, and lifestyles can have an emotional toll on you. To avoid any heavy feelings, you need to devise a smart relocation strategy. Let your friends know when you are leaving and spend a good amount of time with them. Take care of any necessary paperwork and sort out which possessions you want to leave or take back with you.
3. Be ready for another culture shock
Just like moving off to a new country, moving back to your hometown will also seem odd at first. Everything you thought you were familiar with will feel different and alien to you. This is known as reverse shock and it is a common phenomenon for people returning to their country. Keep it in mind that these experiences are bound to happen for some when you return home but within a couple of weeks, you will start to feel normal again.
4. Be proactive with your friends
Try to get in touch with your friends before you leave so you can understand how their lives have been going on. They are busy and they had to be without you for a long time which could mean they are no longer used to you as they once were. But if you keep in touch and get to know their new lives before you move back, it will be easier for you to adjust.
5. Get in touch with the local community
Make an effort to get to know how things have been going behind your back. Ask your friends to introduce you to their new friends. Plan meetups and go to places you used to visit back in the day. Visit your mosques, churches or other religious hotspots if you are religious. Go shopping and take in the general air of how people around you are used to live. The more you expose yourself to the culture, the easier it will be for you to re-adjust to it.
6. Be Gentle on yourself
You left your country to a completely new place and in doing so, had to make a lot of adjustments in your personality over time. Now, you will have to make similar adjustments when you come back home because of how much you have changed. Things will be difficult for you and it is completely normal. Do not be hard on yourself and understand that these adjustments take time and not everything that changed behind you was in your control, so be gentle on yourself and give things time.
7. Explore your hometown
If you used to spend your weekends exploring your city abroad, you can do the same in your home town. Even if you are sure that you knew your hometown very thoroughly, there might still be places that you have never seen before. Make a list of sights in your hometown and see if some friends want to accompany you on your journey. This will make your return back home more enjoyable and help with the adjustment process.
8. Make new friends
Try reinvigorating your bonds with old friends first. Catch up with old friends over parties, exchange stories and do fun stuff. But you will see that your old friends might go back to their normal ways of living and not pay attention to you anymore which is completely fine. Try making new friends or meeting people who have similarly returned to the homeland like you. Try joining a sports team, hobby club, volunteer or see if you can support local charities. These places will give you meaning and may also introduce you to new people whom you can befriend. If you have new friends, fighting loneliness will be a lot easier.
9. Find good past times
Often one of the biggest challenges you face soon after moving back home is that you have nothing important to do. You have suddenly left your routines and scheduled chores and now are living a somewhat unproductive life compared to how it used to be abroad. Find a new job, a hobby or any past time which can keep you occupied and give you a sense of purpose in your life.
10. Understand it goes away with time
Reverse shock is a real phenomenon and it happens to a lot of people who come back home after living years of their life in a different country. It can be difficult at first, but it resolves with time and gets better.
Accept the harsh realities that come with going back to your country after living abroad and understand that everything will eventually come back to its normal position. After all, you are adjusting to a new lifestyle over again. It might take some weeks or even months, but with time your feelings will subside and you will return to your usual self.