On your return
So you're back from your trip – now what? Read on for advice and resources.
If you haven't left yet, check out our before you go section.
When you get back from your trip, it’s important for you to spend some time reflecting on your experiences, processing everything that you have witnessed, and considering how these experience might impact your life going forward. We will call you a short time after your trip so that we can talk to you about your trip and pray with you, and you will also be asked to complete an evaluation form within two weeks of your return, which will give you some opportunities to do this.
We would also recommend that you read the booklet 'Re-Entry' , a short booklet for those returning from short-term missions, which has been produced by Global Connections, the main evangelical network for world mission in the UK.
Reverse culture shock
What is it?
Reverse culture shock is the shock of returning from a trip to find that your home is the same, but you are not. Many people find trips abroad have a deep impact on the way they think and feel about the world, and return to find they cannot navigate their home country in the same way that they used to.
When you first get back, the hope and courage you have seen in people you have met will probably leave you feeling pretty great. However, after a time you may feel anxious or down due to feelings of anger at the materialism and triviality of life at home. You may also feel confused about the way your trip has made you think about the future.
Dealing with reverse culture shock
If you experience any of the feelings described, don’t worry – this is perfectly normal. However, if you don’t experience any of these feelings, that’s also fine – some personalities find it easier to adapt to different changes than others.
- Acknowledge your feelings – don’t try to hide them or pretend everything is fine, but also remember that they won’t last forever.
- Accept – coming to terms with your experience may take time. Give yourself a few days after your trip to process your thoughts and memories before you move back into your daily life.
- Friends – keep in contact with friends you travelled with, as they are most likely to know how you are feeling. Discussing the trip together and how you have found returning home can help you to feel more settled.
- Challenge – set yourself new challenges. Perhaps you could speak to your church about your experiences, or use them in another way to get involved in something positive.
- Career – if your trip has left you feeling unsatisfied with your current career path, consider speaking to a careers advisor or someone who works in the area you are interested in moving into. However, don’t make any hasty decisions – take time to consider your course of action.
- Help – If after a few weeks you don’t feel like your feelings are improving, consider seeing someone who can help, such as your pastor, GP or a counsellor.
Once you have returned from your trip you will have many stories and photos. We encourage you to share these (although there may be certain things you are asked not to share).
Some groups who may be interested in allowing you to share about your experiences include:
- Your church
- Your bible study group
- The CU at your school or university (past or present)
Share an account of your experiences and encourage your church to act and pray on behalf of the people you met.
Continue to support your persecuted family
Raising support isn’t all about money – the persecuted church also needs our prayers and our voices. Here are a few ways that you can help us make a difference.