Saturday, 1 October 2011

What the SAU don't say about reverse culture shock.

So I begun my first day of 3rd Year on Thursday.. before then, the last time I was sat in a lecture theatre for the purpose of learning was in Singapore. When it comes to uni vs uni.. if I'm gonna have reverse culture shock it would have been then. But actually I settled into the teaching style and length (Manchester teach for half the time as Singapore) quite easily. I quickly got into the habit of visiting the library (probably more the influence of NUS students than UoM) and the layout of campus and Oxford Road is tattooed into my DNA. Reverse culture shock isn't the noticeable things about the two cultures, like them driving on the other side of the road (not true in the case of Singapore) or different humidity, or food, or languages and customs. No. Reverse culture shock is simply the reverse of being shocked by culture. total apathy. Everyone asks you the same questions: where did you travel to? did you enjoy it? and then you want to tell them a funny story.. you've even been careful to explain context and everything so as to make sure they don't get the whole it's-funny-if -you-were-there feeling. This happens 10, 20, 100 times over and then that funny story that underpinned your whole evaluation of study abroad as the best decision you've ever made, is no longer funny. It's just some foreign bloke (or bird) in an even foreigner land doing standard things that you found funny at the time because you were high in the ecstasy of you being 7000 miles from home. Reverse Culture Shock, is when you avoid mentioning you were away and all talk of it. Or you bring it up yourself EARLY IN CONVERSATION SO AS TO SUMMARISE AND MOVE ON, because even you are beginning to be envious of the person you were 6 months ago. You're thinking "shut up already, you're not there now are you?! and even if you go back, your 485 friends from 86 different countries won't be, so stick it on your CV and move on!!!"

Reverse Culture Shock isn't acclimatising back to your first culture.. it's becoming bored of the fantasy you lived for 6 months - 1 year of your life.

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