7 Reverse Culture Shocks in the USA

7 Reverse Culture Shocks in the USA


In this post, I am sharing seven reverse culture shocks I have experienced as an American expat living in India and Morocco. After moving abroad, I am back in the United States and have much to say. I get a bit more natural and honest in this post; truthfully, it’s refreshing. Life is not always positive, and I believe that we can better support each other when needed by talking about the good and the bad.

Being an expat is an exciting experience. I did not realize how much I struggled with the things I mentioned in this post until recently. I hope the seven reverse culture shocks I share as they relate to my experiences resonate with you.

Table of Contents


    After about four months, reverse culture shocks have hit me like a ton of bricks. Let me explain this first point: Racism. Racism is alive and well, and let’s say, the lingering effects of racism and the fact that people are straight-up racist in the United States was not new to me. I was not surprised about it when I moved back home, either. I’m more upset about the racism that leads to insurrections and the killing of minority individuals in this country on what feels like a more than regular basis.

    With all of that, I have to say this. I love my country and am grateful for the privileges I have as an American, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. It’s like there’s a yo-yo effect in my mind with the idea that I’ve moved back to a place that I could love and sometimes also really dislike because of how people are treated.

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    Can we talk about why everything is so expensive in the U.S.? This is one of those reverse culture shocks you don’t think about until you are hit with sticker shock. Our rent is expensive, and the food here is expensive too. Truthfully, it’s not that my husband and I can’t afford the things we need or want to spend money on, it’s the fact that in other countries things are more affordable. I feel like the things one must pay for daily (or monthly) in the United States are really high.

    However, some items are a little more accessible in the U.S., so sometimes I feel like that is the trade-off. I do feel like I have everything I need. In other countries, however, I struggled with finding the ‘perfect’ version of an item like sugar. Consequently, in the U.S., you can easily find ten different sugar varieties (even vegan versions)! The juxtaposition is sometimes unreal.

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    On another note, it’s hard to rationalize how I sometimes feel regarding my idea of ‘home’. I’m at a stage where home is not home anymore. It has essentially changed, both physically and mentally.

    I’m from Colorado, born and raised. I moved to Morocco, the first country ever traveled to and moved to so that was already a big shock. I picked up my life and moved to another country for an extended time. Now, I have moved back to the U.S., to a new city (i.e., not Colorado). ‘home’ has always meant family, food, laughter, and memories. For the past four years, while ‘home’ was in different countries, I had to adjust my definition of a home.

    This is the fourth transition of my life in recent years, and I have to restructure what home looks like again. As my husband and I transition and try to figure out our next steps, ‘home’ will continue to look different. Physically, we are currently living in a one-bedroom apartment in Virginia. In Morocco and India, we lived in three-bedroom apartments (which were very privileged, I know).


    Something I had to realize is that I have changed too. Of course, my core values are very much the same, but I believe in many things that others may disagree with. I think that comes from having a new mindset and living abroad. It’s hard not to connect with people on the same level anymore. It has also been hard to meet people here in Washington, D.C. I have not been going out and doing many things (due to our current times). That said, I’m looking to make more meaningful connections moving forward.

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    I am about to get honest and vulnerable with you, friend. I’ve felt like my life is not as attractive anymore since I moved back to the U.S. This feeling has made it hard to know what to share online. It wasn’t until I had a subscriber-friend on Instagram tell me, “Share what you want, but remember that even though you aren’t in India anymore, your life in the U.S. is equally as interesting to those of us who don’t live there.”

    I have made myself believe that you (my audience) don’t find my life, content, and the things I share interesting anymore because I don’t live abroad. For those that moved back to America (and maybe lived an interesting fast-paced life abroad), it’s hard to be back living a ‘regular life’. Honestly, a ‘regular life’ is just relative, however. If I can be honest, my life is similar to mine in India. I was in the house like I am now, and I wasn’t traveling as much as I wanted to because I had to work.


    I do realize that in real life, most people are not as interested in hearing about my experiences abroad. But as a content creator, I share a lot about these things regardless of if people in my real life are interested. I realize that people offline are just trying to get by, especially now. They are just trying to make it day by day and I hearing about my expat journey and travels is not a priority for them right now, and that’s okay.

    The last point about reverse culture shock is that I am much more critical about everything in America. I don’t know if it’s because I am overly sensitive or highly aware of social issues and politics now. I do know, however, that I would have loved to return to a country that is not as divided as it is. But I do not desire a fair expectation from a nation far from perfect and complete of imperfect people.


    Someone asked me in a live stream if I experienced any reverse culture shocks, and I said no. I think that was because I was moving back during a honeymoon phase. As an expat returning home, you have a ‘honeymoon’ where you go to McDonald’s to eat a burger you’ve been longing for. You also try to do things you feel you have missed out on. Then you get hit with a lull and your back down to earth.

    For me, where that sensitivity and realization comes from is when I see what America is truly like under the surface. We have so much here in America, yet many of us take our freedoms and privileges for granted. When you live abroad and see how people maneuver and live their lives with much less (and don’t complain), it becomes evident that you’re living in a completely different space. If there is one thing Americans could work on, it is their gratitude, and I will leave my thoughts here for now.

    Check out some of these videos of my life abroad and in the United States:


    Thank you so much for following along. If you have experienced reverse culture shock after moving back to your home country, definitely let me know. I’d love to hear your story!

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