Monday, June 28, 2010

50 things of Reverse Culture Shock

Reverse culture shock? A lot of people don't believe in it. They've heard of culture shock, but having a culture shock (which by the way, I have an unerring desire to spell: schock - damn using German, my spelling in English is going down the drain!) when returning to the country you grew up in? How's that?

I can tell you, after three sojourns living elsewhere than Australia and living with my sister once when she returned after living overseas reverse culture shock not only exists, it makes people angry. Really angry. Bottled rage, annoyance and constant-talking-about-how-the-other-country-is-better/different-anger.

This is for the blogthis challenge '50 Things'. Now the brief was incredibly non-specific. 50 Things...

""Take your pick, this one is open. 50 things I want you to know about me; 50 things I would do if I won lotto; 50 things I want to cook; 50 things I have photographed; 50 things I want for my birthday; 50 things I would like to tell my ex.... It's up to you, whatever you want to tell your readers""

So, I thought, 50 things? What in the whole wide world am I going to write about? I just listed things about my ex and how I am better now, I hate cooking, I photograph my friends and building exclusively (which, actually, doesn't sound too bad, but I don't have files of them all), I just ask for money for my birthday.

Then I thought, hang on, what's the now-title of this blog? It's resettlement in Australia. I lived elsewhere and was going to use the blog that documented that journey to document the chaos that I felt inside when I came home. What better challenge than this one to use my blog for its 'proper' use.

I know that I am going to annoy some people, for that I am sorry. Remember the rage? Blame that.

Here goes:

Reverse culture shock on returning from the UK. 2010.

1. uncapped internet. Oh how I miss thee.
2. no ATM fees. They are the bane of Australian existence.
3. convenient public transport (OK, this one is glorifying it - I once stood in the snow for 1.5 hours waiting for the damn bus on which some old man's pee-bag was leaking, but the bus network went down every main road.)
4. Heating.
5. powerful education unions
6. 7 quid prescriptions, no matter what it was for
7. comprehensive TV streaming on the internet
8. Grocery stores open 24 hours
9. Multi-buys - 1.5kg Cheese for the price of 750g? Hell yes, please!
10. no swearing
11. intelligent comedies and comedians
12. the Beeb
13. excellent plays and musicals in the West End.
14. The opportunity for good-quality music festivals and A-List bands
15. History
16. Cheap groceries - 70p for a loaf of bread, that lasted for over 7 days?
17. Cashback and using your credit card at any shop - including the kebab kiosk at the local shopping centre
18. Debit Visa cards accepted everywhere
19. Decently priced, lovely clothes for fat people
20. Acceptable train service, on which you can eat and drink
21. intelligent conversations about politics, and things other than sport, the weather and pride in our nation.

Reverse culture shock from returning from Germany, 2005
22.  Having a government made up from the two main parties without any name calling
23.  Living in dorms with autonomy
24.  Inexpensive beer
25.  Being able to buy afore-mentioned cheap beer at the servo.
26.  Eis-Cafe's
27.  Living in a place steeped in culture - our favourite cafe was across the road from the Brothers Grimm's house
28.  Not hearing the Australian accent
29.  Cheap cafes
30.  German comedy
31.  Maturity from everyone undergoing national service

Reverse culture shock in entering back into the education system here

32. Less systemic apathy
33. Outcomes-led reporting
34. Supportive staff and behaviour support
35. No play ground duty without extra pay
36. Form class for 5 consecutive years - you become their mother (almost)!
37. Union conferences for free (weekends away purely for being a member.)
38. Being included in union decisions by monthly meetings with area rep.
39. Mentoring program
40. Students having to interview to get back into Senior (A-Level)
41. Privileging of MFL - 'Oxbridge' not accepting students without a foreign language GCSE
42. Lunches with other staff due to not having department staff rooms
43. Contacting schools directly and getting a job on my own merit and not through the department
44. Lots of supply work due to 'rarely cover'

Reverse culture shock in entering back into the lives of people here.

45. Lots of changes have happened and I don't really fit in.
46. Two of my closest friends being even closer
47. Receeding back to where I was 10 years ago
48. Having lots of experience, but nothing I want
49. Not going out to the pub/cafes every few days
50. Not being happy.

There! Done it. I hope you made it through to the end. I know I probably wouldn't have!


  1. love your list. I agree australia is behind on so many levels. lets hope they catch up soon.

  2. Thanks Danielle. I hope so too.

  3. Great list and I can definitely see me relating to some of those points when I finally make my way back to Australia!

  4. I love this list - it's great to see people coming up with really original and interesting ideas.

  5. Great list and interesting to see how Australia needs to catch up with the world.

  6. great list. I feel similar when I go back home to NZ (although I could make a complaint list about both countries) - especially about the regression! It's like I never left - depressing!
    anyway - welcome home - I guess, hehehe

  7. Great list! I've never lived overseas and until very recently had only been to Fiji, but after going to the US, there are quite a few things where I just think "Why don't we have that in Australia? Surely it can't be that hard!". Really does open your eyes!

  8. Perfect. Now send this to the politicians and let's get some change a-happen-ing.

    Well done you.

  9. Thanks for your lovely comments. Hope you all voted for me. ;)