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Repatriation refers to the process of returning a person, an item of symbolic value, or an asset by force or willingly to place of origin or to the owner. Repatriation process becomes a challenge as an individual strives to adapt to life back home after years away in a foreign country.
Reverse culture shock occurs as result of a sudden change of culture. The majority of expatriates are usually happy when coming back home but most are unaware that they might face reverse culture shock. Expatriates experience reverse culture resulting from a change of routine which results from the fact that they have to get used again to living with their family and therefore, adapting to a routine where their family is involved again becomes a challenge since they have to adapt to the new life. Additionally, during the repatriation process, expatriates tend to miss some aspects of their life abroad experiencing reverse culture shock by not being able to enjoy some of the things they enjoyed abroad.
Expatriates also experience reverse culture if the life they were living abroad was far much better than the life they have returned to. For example, if they used to enjoy huge expatriate allowance, they will feel the downgrade. Companies can help expatriates to continue being part of the community by enrolling them in a transition seminar. In the transition seminar, an intercultural coach trains and advice the expatriates on how to cope with reverse culture shock. During the seminar, expatriates can get to interact with former expats who have been able to effectively cope with the repatriation process and learn from their experience. If I was going through the repatriation process, I would wish for the company to provide transition seminars and sufficient time off so that I can be able to adapt back to my culture and spend time with my family before I returned back to work.
Baruch, Y., Altman, Y., & Tung, R. L. (2016). Career mobility in a global era: Advances in managing expatriation and repatriation. The Academy of Management Annals, 10(1), 841 889.
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