Returning after your au pair stay: Handling culture shock
Culture shock on return is real! Getting back to your own culture can be trickier than you think - with lots of questions and sometimes misunderstandings. Magali, a travel and employment expert based in France, has 4 tips to help deal with the "shock of return".
I myself was an au pair in San Francisco for a year in 2014 and then in Australia in 2017. I've returned to my home country of France three times, and I'd like to share a few tips on how to make a smooth return after you have been abroad.
Take a step back to manage your inner tornado
How can you feel like a stranger in your own home country, the place where you grew up?
That's the question I had when I first returned to France. The gap between myself and others, but also between who I had become and who I was before I left to go abroad, was powerful. You have to surround yourself with friends and family to get through this stage. But there is a "BUT". You shouldn't expect too much from your inner circle nor be too demanding.
Indeed, my point of view is that only people who have experienced an adventure abroad and then return to their home country will really be able to understand what you are going through.
Stay connected with the friends you made while travelling
The friendships you have made during your trip or stay abroad will be one of your best resources. These people who you have met while you were away share a common basis with you - strong friendships, unique experiences, intense moments (travel, discoveries, adventures, anecdotes).
Keeping in touch with these people when you return to your home country is important to give you support in difficult times. Indeed, your friends in your home country may not always understand the intensity of the experiences you have had abroad. These friends will.
Give yourself time
When you return to your home country, you need to be patient. The job search, the return to training or education, the administrative procedures all take time.
Give yourself time to land and settle back in so that you can find your feet and feel comfortable. You can read more about this in my other article "How to manage the return to your home country after an au pair stay".
Enjoy the moment
Everything you missed during your adventure abroad, you can achieve now so keep that in mind! You can celebrate your return, enjoy your family and friends, walk around your favourite places and taste all the local cuisine that you've been missin.! Make the most of it!
And if you're returning to France it doesn't have to be a solo affair, I offer you my advice!
About the author:
Magali Desmidt – Voyage, emploi & retour en France
Passionate about travelling, Magali DESMIDT has been on the road since 2014. She was an au pair in San Francisco for a year as well as in Australia for a few months. She has travelled solo in Europe, the USA, South Asia and Oceania. Mag is also passionate about human relations and personal development and has been working as an employment counsellor since 2011 in France. What she loves: supporting expatriates and travellers to bounce back professionally and boost their careers when they return from abroad. Join her on Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin and visit her website and blog where new articles are published regularly regularly.