The Art of Coming Home | Craig Storti

Summary of: The Art of Coming Home
By: Craig Storti

Introduction

Embarking on a journey overseas is filled with anticipation of new experiences, but what about the challenges faced upon returning home? In ‘The Art of Coming Home’, author Craig Storti focuses on the overlooked process of readjustment that expatriates face when they come back to their home countries. This book carries valuable insights garnered from studies and personal experiences on how reverse culture shock affects returnees. As you delve into the summary, explore the unique challenges faced by both the returnee and their family while reassimilating, learn how workplaces and organizations can provide better support, and discover the mental preparation strategies needed to facilitate a smoother transition back home.

Returning Home: The Neglected Adjustment Process

Returning home after an extended period abroad can be just as difficult as leaving in the first place, yet this adjustment process is often neglected. The phenomenon of “reverse culture shock” affects a wide range of people, from business executives to military personnel to students. Studies reveal that as many as 80% of expats find coming home more challenging than adjusting to life overseas. Reentry also has significant financial implications for companies investing in expatriate employees, as high attrition rates and dissatisfaction with post-reentry assignments can result in a significant loss of resources. Despite these challenges, most companies fail to provide adequate support for the return process. This summary highlights the importance of recognizing the need for readjustment resources for returning expatriates and the implications for both individuals and corporations.

The Struggles of Repatriation

Repatriating after living abroad is a significant shift that many people undergo, just to realize that they have to cope with a variety of emotional, psychological, and professional challenges. For instance, an American businessman experienced a loss of authority upon returning to his office in the US, having accounted to numerous higher-ups, while he had been an independent supervisor abroad. A Finnish executive discovered that his company no longer valued his expertise, leaving him without a position fitting his qualifications. Additionally, individuals who have access to household help overseas might not find the same level of privilege in their home country. Furthermore, repatriation affects children the most, who crave familiarity and routineness, something they lose during reentry. Similarly, a military spouse resettled in the US with her family and found the sudden change overwhelming, resulting in anxiety and insecurity. It’s essential to be aware of these challenges associated with repatriation and provide support and resources that help newcomers resettle successfully and adapt to their new environment.

Challenges of Re-entry

Returning home after a significant period abroad can be a challenging task for anyone. The re-entry process forces individuals to redefine their lives and adapt effectively. It is not uncommon for individuals to feel like a stranger in their own home and miss their overseas country, culture, friends and co-workers. Despite being overwhelmed by multiple re-entry issues and a lack of support, the practical and logistical matters of coming home should not be overlooked.

Strategies for Readjusting to Life After Returning Home

Returning home after living abroad can be overwhelming with the need to deal with the practical, psychological, and emotional components of reentry. This book provides readers with various tips to help make the process smoother. It emphasizes the importance of preparing for reentry while still overseas, seeking emotional support from other returnees, and staying in touch with foreigners after coming home. The book also explains that readjustment doesn’t occur all at once but happens in four stages: leaving and departure, a honeymoon phase, reverse culture shock, and finally, readjustment. It also addresses the personal and professional challenges returnees may face upon returning home, including loss of status and autonomy at work and having to catch up with new professional developments. The book highlights the need for individuals to take initiative and seek the kind of help and attention they need during readjustment to ensure a smooth transition.

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