Author – joyeglenn

Going back to the USA after 4 years: Reverse culture shocks

My family and I recently spent our July in the United States of America. This trip was especially important to our entire family because it had been 4 years since we’ve been back! Our main goal was to reconnect with our family and I’m so glad we accomplished that. But in addition to us reconnecting with our family, we dealt with some interesting “reverse culture shocks”.

The term “reverse culture shock” means the readjustment to one’s own country and culture after living or studying abroad for a while. When we first arrived to the United States in the airport we found out that our luggage had been misplaced at the airline. So my family and I immediately drove to Walmart to get some things we needed. Walmart, like most grocery stores in United States of America has an over-supply of products and services. Simply put, we have too many products, options and selections. For example, I needed to buy some deodorant and Walmart had 40 different brands and over 50 different types of deodorant for women alone! I believe the modern term is called “American consumerism”, which is the practice of a rising consumption of goods. But for me personally, the amount of options caused me to feel overstimulated and slightly anxious.

The second culture shock was our bearing witness to American efficiency. Efficiency is the ability to complete something in a timely manner but with the least amount of resources. Certain things can be done quickly and easily in the United States, such as setting up a bank account or purchasing a vehicle. However, in Spain it might be a bit more difficult and take more patience to get some of these tasks completed. As Americans, we pride ourselves in our efficient engineering skills. However, these skills seem to have formed a certain mentality of doing everything with a sense of urgency. Thus, seeping into other aspects of our lives. We rush at school, we rush at our jobs, we rush when we shop. Never taking a moment to pause. Spaniards are not like this. They don’t rush things. To be honest, living in Spain has caused me too take a moment to breathe. I walk slower and realize that not everything in my life has to be rushed. This has given me more peace.

The last reverse culture shock was the difference in the food. In the United States of America, much of our food and products are pumped with unhealthy additives and preservatives. Meanwhile the organic and healthier foods are much more costly. Here in Spain, certain additives are not legal therefore the food is much healthier. Additionally, we typically eat dinner earlier in the evening between 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm in America. In Spain, dinner is typically between 10:00 pm – 11:30 pm.

In conclusion, our overall experience in United States went amazingly. Our family had a great time traveling throughout Florida, going to the zoo in Orlando, visiting the beaches in Miami, seeing family and eating together. There is something special about South Florida unlike any other part of Florida and any other state in the United States of America. The beaches, the palm trees, the diversity, the homes. All these things play a role in the personality and beauty of South Florida. Simply smelling the air felt good to me and being in my hometown with my family and friends felt even greater. We appreciated the time spent with them and our American culture. And we’re also grateful for our lives here in Spain.

Check out my time in Florida on my YouTube channel!

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