What’s Hard About Returning Home Post-TEFL?

  • Good old reverse culture shock. Thirty-five kinds of paper towels to choose from and twenty aisles to navigate at every supermarket! Three floors of English-language books and which floor is the first floor again? Conversations that you can understand going on everywhere around you . This is oh-so-disconcerting, not to mention distracting, if you try to read on public transport.
  • You have changed – in some way, shape or form. It may be your habits, your outlook or your view of your own role in the world, but you’ve had an experience that people at home have not, at least not at the same time as you, and you and they might not be able to relate about it easily. Similarly, your friends and family may have changed, and as you jump in after a year or two and haven’t seen the progression, it may be a surprise.
  • You may have to start more or less from scratch establishing yourself. You have to get a job and you’re starting without one, not with a cushion of time to set it all up. You have to find a place to live and perhaps find furniture as well. Especially if you left directly after school, you may have to re-establish friendships or just start anew.
  • People have widely divergent views on your experience. Some may be fascinated, but many won’t really understand it or see any value in it. Some people may think you spend your year traveling or goofing off – and it can be hard to reckon with this when you worked hard and overcame challenges.
  • Is there anything good about returning home? Of course.