When coming back from your expatriation, have you ever
thought that people around you at work and in your home country had changed? That getting a pen or even some paper in your company seems to take forever and you need to go through a whole lot of paperwork before you get it? What happened? And, why is it that people dont understand you?

People havent really changed; the one who may have changed is you. Indeed, you have been living abroad for a certain amount of time, adapting to your host country and incorporating some of your host cultures values and customs. Lets also not forget that whilst you were abroad you had probably more freedom in your job, you could make your own decisions, direct your own team and get as much paper and pens as you wanted!

Coming back may seem like a culture shock for you because the people you have left behind, whether colleagues, friends or family, have in reality not changed, they have continued to live their lives as before, keeping to their work habits, getting together habits and have kept their usual hobbies. It may seem strange to you and you may feel as if you were the odd one in the group. What you project onto people is actually projected onto you as well; they see you as a different person: you have been away for so long, you have seen different countries, cultures, have picked up new hobbies, have escalated the hierarchy ladder, so for them you are different and that is why they probably do not understand you.

To get back into your home culture smoothly, think about what you have experienced, what has changed in your value system and in your customs, what was important for you in your culture that you didnt forget on your assignment and think of how you can build a bridge between you and your friends, colleagues, family to enable a smooth repatriation and readaptation.

Contributed by: Nadège Welsch (www.be-a-chameleon.com)

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 at 8:39 pm and is filed under culture shock & stuff, General . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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