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Returning home: Navigating the reverse culture shock of repatriation as an international teacher

International teachers

The career of an international teacher is a unique adventure, filled with cultural immersion, professional growth, and personal transformation. However, when the time comes to return home, many educators find themselves facing a different kind of challenge – the reverse culture shock of repatriation.


Understanding reverse culture shock

Reverse culture shock occurs when individuals return to their home country after an extended period abroad. For international teachers, this phenomenon is often intensified due to the deep connections formed with their host country.

The familiarity of home can feel oddly unfamiliar, leading to a rollercoaster of emotions from excitement and anticipation to sadness and confusion. The once-familiar surroundings may now seem different, and the reintegration into the home culture can be challenging.

It’s essential to acknowledge and embrace these emotions as a natural part of the repatriation process.


Navigating professional transitions

Returning home also means transitioning professionally. International teachers may face the challenge of adjusting to a new educational system, curriculum, or teaching approach. Keeping an open mind, seeking professional development opportunities, and connecting with local educators can ease this transition.


Maintaining global connections

One of the perks of being an international teacher is the diverse network of colleagues and friends from around the world. While repatriation may physically separate you from your international community, it’s crucial to maintain these connections.

Thanks to technology, staying in touch has never been easier. Regular video calls, social media, and attending international education conferences can help bridge the gap.


Rediscovering home with fresh eyes

Returning home offers a unique opportunity to rediscover your home country with fresh eyes. Embrace the positive aspects of your culture, appreciate the familiarity, and celebrate the things you missed while abroad.

Engaging in local activities, exploring new places, and connecting with old friends can contribute to a smoother reintegration process.


Building a support system

Navigating reverse culture shock is not a solitary journey. Reach out to fellow repatriates, join support groups, and connect with organizations that specialize in assisting returning expatriates.

Sharing experiences and insights can provide valuable perspectives and emotional support.


The reverse culture shock of repatriation for international teachers is a multifaceted experience that requires patience, self-reflection, and a proactive approach. By acknowledging the challenges, maintaining global connections, and embracing the opportunity to rediscover home with fresh eyes, educators can navigate this transition successfully.

Remember, your international teaching journey doesn’t end when you return home; it’s a continuation of the rich tapestry of your international teaching experience.

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The majority of our new international faculty now come to us through Schrole. In fact, our school exclusively uses Schrole as our global recruitment tool, having tried and stopped using other sites. This is how much faith we have in Schrole as a valuable resource with good customer service.

Donald Holder Foreign Principal
Tsinghua International School, Daoxiang Lake
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Tsinghua International School Daoxiang Lake