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Avoid the shock of returning to your homeland

Published: 
Sunday, March 11, 2018

Remember when you left Trinidad to go to another country—whether for educational purposes, or you were just relocating due to a job offer or better living opportunities? But the day came when you decided to return home, and returning home can be extremely difficult.

As you drive from the airport, you look around only to realise that you have stepped into a time warp because nothing has changed. The road to your family’s home has the same amount or more potholes than when you left. The houses looked the same and there is a woman walking along the road with buckets of water in her hands. The sight of the woman takes you back to the days of when there was no water in the tap and electricity would go every other night.

After a couple of days home reacquainting yourself with family members who have changed dramatically, you realise that you had lost touch with your friends as you would have left the country before social media.

Some people experience feelings that can be difficult to come to terms with, but there are ways to help make the transition smoother.

Here are 8 ways to help avoid the initial shock of returning home.

1. Before returning, talk to family members about what life is like. Ask questions about things that have become a way of life in the foreign country ie, what is the water situation like? Are there good Internet and cable providers? What are food prices like? Is it easy to get organic foods? Price of transportation and what is the school system like?

2. Read the newspapers online to get a feel of what is going on in the country.

3. Writing in a journal is a great way to deal with one’s feelings and frustrations. Talking about one’s foreign experiences can alienate those around you and make you feel alone.

4. Eating foods that you have not had in years can cause weight gain, so it is important to exercise. Join a gym which is a great place to make new friends. Where possible, take regular walks as the power of exercise will help to boost your mood.

5. Join organisations that allow you to meet new people with the same interests as you. One such organisation is InterNations. You can connect with international people and locals. Build a network of global minds and get in touch with people who share your interests and experience. In the event you decide to move back overseas, there are lots of tips and information about everything you need to know about moving aboard, read about other expats experience and share your own.

6. Returning home can feel like a large step backwards especially if you had lead an exciting life filled with adventure. Staying busy is crucial to avoid boredom which can lead you into a depression. There are lots of activities that you can get involved with ie, hashing, hiking club, visit the turtles and the historical places in T&T etc. Do all the things that you dreamed of doing upon returning home. Rediscover your surroundings with fresh eyes.

7. Last but not least, make a goal to go back to the country that you lived in to re-establish yourself and enjoy your old surroundings.

8. Forms of ID are important. Renew passport, national ID and driver’s licence. You will need to have two forms of ID in order to open bank accounts and one form of ID to create utilities accounts. Proof of address is also critical in establishing the accounts mentioned.

Try not to slip back into old routines. Rediscover your surroundings and look for new experiences you can have and enjoy them.

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