Summary of The Art of Coming Home

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If you spent months in Paraguay or Latvia longing for modern supermarkets, octo-plex movie theaters and mega-malls, coming home will surprise you. All that consumerism, all those different breakfast cereals, all that plenty and pizzazz may not play as well with you as you had remembered. Never mind. Eventually you’ll again expect to be offered 15 different kinds of herbal tea with your $18 lunch, but when you first return and the deprivations of your overseas station are still fresh, reentry can include a big shot of culture shock. Companies pay plenty of attention to executives and workers who need help and advice when they’re given an overseas assignment. But Craig Storti thought it was time to address the needs of those same expats when they return and face the challenge of readjustment. He does so expertly in this practical guide, which includes hard logistics and some soft psychology. highly recommends this book to homecoming expats and to those who play crucial roles in managing their reentries.

About the Author

Craig Storti is founder and director of Communicating Across Cultures, a Washington D.C.-based international communication training and consulting firm that designs and delivers seminars on cross-cultural adjustment and repatriation. A former Peace Corps volunteer, he is the author of several books including The Art of Crossing Cultures and Figuring Foreigners Out. Storti is a veteran in the field of crossing cultures and a media spokesperson on issues of intercultural relations.



You’re Back

Everyone who moves overseas to work, study, travel or volunteer, knows about the adjustment process and the culture shock that accompanies that transition. However, far less attention has been paid to the readjustment issues those same expatriates face when they eventually return home. Coming home can be just as stressful, challenging and disorienting. Returning expatriates need just as many helpful resources and as much advice as they did when they moved abroad.

Reentry is not the simple process that even expatriates think it will be. Ask any returned expatriate and he or she will tell you how surprisingly difficult the adjustment turned out to be. This reverse culture shock, as it is called, is evidenced by these statistics:

  • In one study, 64% of American returnees reported "significant culture shock" upon repatriation.
  • In another survey, 64% of Dutch and 80% of Japanese expats said they found coming home more difficult than adjusting overseas.
  • Only 7% of returning teenagers said they felt at home with their U.S. peers.
  • More than 50% of Swedish exchange students said they "didn’t fit in" when they returned to Sweden.

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