Bringing the learning home (Australian Learning & Teaching Council)

Culture Shock: Australian Edition

I recently returned from three months living and studying abroad in the current economic shambles that is the country of Greece.

Having travelled extensivly and lived abroad before I presumed this return would be like no other, sure I would be sad for a day or two but would get back into the flow of things quickly like an professional traveller.


For some reason this return has been the hardest and I was not sure why.

This was only three months away, last time I was abroad living in Ireland for seven.

I knew I had limited time in Greece due to visa restrictions, so it wasn’t a surprise I was asked nicely to leave once those three months were up.

I was looking forward to seeing my family and friends and the beautiful country which I realised I loved more than I let on.

Yet something had gone wrong this time and I fell into a pit of sadness and had a mini depressive episode the first few weeks back.

I realised that whilst my family were pleased to see me, many friends had moved on or where busy or lived in differing corners of the globe now.

Being the constant traveller makes you extremely popular on social networking sites such as Facebook where everyone claims to live vicariously through your travels, but it makes for a pretty lousy physical relationship, with many wary of putting in a lot of effort when im potentially going to run away again to some other distant land anytime soon.

Those that I have seen have helped make the transition smoother, especially my best friend. It doesn’t matter how long we go without seeing each other nothing changes and we still have the best time.

I had applied to two internships before I came home so that the re entering of Perth would be easier, both of which I found out I did not succeed in getting.

I finally found a part time job which is lovely and has deffinatly helped in regards to finances, but something is missing still.

Two of my best friends currently still live in Greece, and it is often with a pang of jealousy that I Skype with them with their tanned skin, sunny weather and hilarious stories of the daily trials of Greek life.

Whilst in the current situation I dont have a pressing desire to be living in Greece again, I have come to the conclusion that right now Australia does not hold the answer. And that I need to continue my searches for jobs and experiences elsewhere.

I also had a terrible headache for the first week and a half which I realised was my body going through caffeine with drawls from the amount of coffee and frappes I was consuming daily in Greece.

It was also hard to get up before 12pm in the day, and eating dinner at 6pm was also eerily strange, as that was normally coffee time not dinner time!

In saying all of this things are better now, I have been home a month and have really enjoyed spending quality time with my family and catching up with friends. I am still struggling to find any work or work experience or internships in journalism/public relations but am becoming more upbeat and positive again.

I think the change of weather (well in three months when spring arrives and winter ends) shall be good and I’m starting new activities and volunteering in an effort to re inspire myself and feel as though I have a purpose being back here in Perth (study doesn’t count, its like having a job you dont get paid for 🙂 )

To all of the other returning study abroaders I hope your transition home is much much smoother than mine was this time and that the reverse culture shock of returning home does not last too long.

The re entering culture shock as bad as it has been this time around, I certainly would not change the experiences and friendships that I made in Greece and would readily go through it again in a heart beat.



3 responses

  1. jangothard

    Hi Morgan

    You have really expressed this well! Fascinated by your comments about how others attempt to live your globetrotting life vicariously – did you feel like you still managed to lead your ‘at home’ Oz live vicariously while you were away, so that nothing had changed? your post suggests not! I find this really interesting!

    Coffee withdrawal – that is a good one! Not something the books predict either! we will add it to our list of ‘hazards of re-entry’

    I am glad you are getting over the ‘mini-depressive’ state – Perth weather right now would not be helping but spring WILL come…

    And I would REALLY like it if you would talk to the other students re-entering about this experience, as well as to those leaving in December. We’ll talk later.

    Welcome back!


    June 27, 2011 at 12:15 pm

  2. tonialeannegray

    Wow — you’ve covered some “heavy stuff”. Just awesome.

    My question Morgan is “Do you think Facebook and social networking sites may be contributing to (or even exacerbating) your “Re-Entry Depression — so to speak?

    In other words, because your friends and family vicariously follow you through the OS sojourn — when you come home they feel like they already have witnessed or heard your stories — so why revisit them?

    And, what’s more, you are no longer flavour of the month (I am saying this tongue in mouth) because you aren’t doing something unique, novel or interesting on FB anymore.

    So your life back in Perth is no longer a magnet for others to track you –it is just so ho hum now? This is just a hunch. It came up as an issue here at UOW in the last re-entry conversations.

    Please let me know if this resonates with you — or have I totally misread your situation???

    Warm regards

    June 29, 2011 at 5:58 am

  3. I agree with you both,
    I believe facebook can be wonderful whilst you are away, but can also lead to the breakdown in some relationships.
    I found that whilst I did keen up with what was going on at home, I did not feel a part of it. i was also keeping up with what my friends were doing in America, South America and the U.k and Europe so quickly relationships at home stagnated.
    Its only so many times you can skype with the conversation being all about you and your fun times and new experiences and the other person saying “ohhh no I havnt really done anything for the last month at all”.
    And I definitely agree about family and friends not needing to hear the stories anymore thanks to the internet. It can make things easier, but also does not allow you to tell the story in your own words.
    I think this is something that every one relates to on re entering, unless they have travelled with a friend and have someone to bond with over the experience.

    Jan I have emailed you back!
    Thankyou for your comments!

    July 1, 2011 at 9:58 am

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