Bringing the learning home (Australian Learning & Teaching Council)

Re Entry into Australian Life: Reverse Culture Shock

Hey all,

It’s been my first week back at UOW this week and I found myself a little scared to be back! So much had changed and was different and yet so much was still the same! Every now and again I find myself thinking “I’m homesick.” I had this really weird moment the other day, where I was sorting through my UK photos for printing and I thought “I miss being home.” Huh? Was? Ich wohne nicht in London/Scotland/Wales. But it doesn’t matter, I’m still homesick.

I was thinking about what was discussed at the ‘welcome back’ session with Tonia, and I can definitely say that I feel like a bit of a hybrid of an Australian and a British girl now. As I posted on my personal blog, “I love Australia. I love the bush. I love the sun. I love my friends. I love to write Australian bushland poetry and I love going to The National Park for swims and picnics. I even love the song ‘I am Australian’, in particular these stanza’s:

I’m the teller of stories
I’m the singer of songs
I’m Albert Namajira
And I paint the ghostly gums
I’m Clancy on his horse
I’m Ned Kelly on the run
I’m the one who waltzed Matilda
I am Australian.

I’m the hot winds of the desert
I’m the black soils of the plain
I’m the mountains and the valleys
I’m the droughts and flooding rains
I am the rock, I am the sky,
The rivers when they run
The spirit of this great land
I am Australian.

But see the UK and Ireland have my family and they have the culture we don’t have.”

I decided in light of how I’m feeling at the moment I’ll sum up the things I liked best about the UK using pictures.

1. Seeing real snow for the first time and understanding the meaning of ‘proper cold.’


A day trip to Loch Ness


Stuck in a snow storm without an umbrella in London.

2. Meeting my relatives overseas in both Ireland and England for the first time!

3. My flatmates and our weird and wonderful adventures.

Halloween at Flat 12!

4. The history and culture in the UK

All those old buildings and churches were so awesome. One fond memory is of my American flat mate and I doing a guided tour of Lancaster castle with a truly creepy guide who seemed ghoulishly obsessed with death. On the entertainment front, I went to the theatre four times when I was in the UK itself! That’s a play a month! I couldn’t help it. The tickets were so much more affordable then back home and I loved the atmostphere. And after all, who wouldn’t have fun trying to explain the three hour plot of Les Miserables in London’s West End to their Chinese flat mate throughout the entire performance without annoying everyone around us?


My two play Guides. One for Hamlet and one for Season’s Greetings with some of the cast’s autographs.

5. Real Christmas Markets.

Market and fair in Edinburgh, Scotland. I took this on the actual ferris wheel.

It’s funny. When I got towards the end of my trip in the UK I was so homesick and just wanted to come home to Australia. After a week or two I instantly wanted my travelling life back! Anyone else going through this?

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3 responses

  1. Jan Gothard

    You have wrapped up re-entry and tied it with a bow. Really captured it so well!

    How do you think you have grown as a ‘hybrid person’?

    I wonder too whether you find the blog is a good place for you to express these feelings because you know everyone out there is going through the same thing (or else, will go through this in a few more months)? Have you talked through reentry issues with your old friends who didn’t go away? The literature says, sometimes friends ‘don’t want to know’ – but what is your experience of this? How easy is it to talk through with people who havent ‘been there’?

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Jan

    March 6, 2011 at 6:21 am

  2. Maureen

    I wonder too whether you find the blog is a good place for you to express these feelings because you know everyone out there is going through the same thing (or else, will go through this in a few more months)? Have you talked through reentry issues with your old friends who didn’t go away?

    Alot of my friends went on international exchange at the same time as me and its been good to be able to chat to them about coming home. This blog definitely does help because I know everyone on here is an exchange student!

    March 7, 2011 at 11:10 am

  3. tonialeannegray

    Hi Maureen

    Sorry it has taken me a long time to write a comment – but the first two weeks back at UOW have been a whirlwind.

    Your musings are “spot on” and I am sure you wouldn’t be the only one feeling this way.

    Becoming a hybrid is a multi-layered phenomenon and only those who have traveled abroad can identify with the “to-ing” and “fro-ing” of emotions. But you have hit the nail on the head.

    I wonder if any other students can contribute to this beautiful dialogue????

    warmly
    Tonia

    March 11, 2011 at 7:56 am

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