Language barriers. Homesickness. Stepping into the unknown. All a part of the phenomenon called culture shock. These are things you may worry about before traveling overseas or departing on a medical mission trip. But for some, returning home can prove equally as challenging.
When traveling abroad, you are often stepping far outside your comfort zone and personal culture. It’s inevitable that through things like new faces, languages, and foods, you will gain a new perspective.
When you return home, you may feel underwhelmed after so much excitement, stimulation, and newness. Especially when returning to your routine.
While a 2-week medical mission may not provide a truly immersive experience, your time away has certainly encouraged new world views, increased cultural curiosity, and supported a willingness to explore unfamiliar places.
However, there are some steps you can take to help ease your transition back into your everyday life.
Share Your Experience
Share your experience with friends and family when you return – including stories and picture.
Keep Your Memories Alive
After a time, some people won’t be as interested in hearing about your foreign experience. Find other ways to keep those memories alive, through photos or connecting with new friends from your trip.
Find Ways to Integrate Your New Perspective into Your Everyday Life
You will likely return home with a new lens to look through. Find a way to use that perspective, consider what you’ve learned, and add it to your day-to-day.
Continue to Give Back and Encourage Others to do the Same
Sharing your experience is one thing but, encouraging others to have a similar experience is another. Encourage others to volunteer or find ways to continue to give back here at home – and bring your friends and family along for the ride!