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How do I go back to being who I was while at Korea? I'm stuck in a weird slump

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Question - (13 July 2017) 4 Answers - (Newest, 13 July 2017)
A male United Kingdom age 18-21, anonymous writes:

Okay, I am a 20 year old guy who just returned to my middle of nowhere hometown after the most amazing year abroad in Seoul, South Korea studying at a University that I've always dreamed of attending and it finished, AN incredible, what i thought to be unforgettable experience now seems like it happened in another life and its only been 2 weeks since I came home. Coming home it feels like i never left, going back to university after summer might change that but for now I need advice. I grew as a person in Korea, I became accepting, sociable, an extrovert and 100% proud of me, who I am and my sexuality. But now I've become nervous at people looking at me, paranoid of what people think of me and what people say about me who aren't even my friends. Things i didn't give a second thought to in Korea, and the person I was not even in University but in high school is who I feel like now. Also since all i have to do this summer is sit at home until i go back to university I just keep thinking about old drama, being angry or upset about things that happened way too long ago for me to care about. How do I stop being such an awkward person and be the person I found in Korea again? How do I get over this weird slump I've found myself in?

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A female reader, maverick494 United States +, writes (13 July 2017):

The big difference between your experience abroad and back home is that abroad, nobody knew you. You could start clean and just be who you are without anybody having any expectations about you.

Back home, you're confronted with people who have known you for a long time, and suddenly, this person that felt like 100% you in Korea is on shaky ground. Because who you are now isn't who you've always been and deep down you're afraid people will judge you because they expect something different from you, based on the past. In short: you've got history here.

What you need to do is start building a bridge between your past and who you are now. And you have to be completely unapologetic about it. People's strongest asset is their ability to change and adapt. At the same time, fear is what keeps us clinging to the past.

When I visited my online friends abroad for the first time, I felt I could finally be truly me. They knew about everything I'd kept a secret at home, because at home I'd been afraid of judgment. I found my friends because they had the same quirks I did. We bonded over it. I returned home thinking I had the strength of ten men, only to find out that deep down I still wasn't ready to show my family this real version of me, because I thought they were attached to the past version of me.

In the end though, people don't care. They won't judge you because they're too busy to be afraid of judgment themselves. So hold your head high, swallow hard, and show them your true colors. I did so with my friends and family and they reacted a lot better than I thought they would.

Don't stay at home either. Get a summer job, volunteer, pick up a new hobby, just do stuff that gets you to meet new people and stay out of your own head.

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A male reader, Phil052 United Kingdom + , writes (13 July 2017):

Phil052 agony auntIt's normal to feel a huge sense of anti-climax when you return to mundane normality after a life changing experience like you experienced in Seoul. It can take a few weeks to accept that a life enhancing chapter has closed. The only way to address it is to get out and do something positive, whether it is paid work, voluntary work, or travelling in the UK. Sitting at home isn't going to help you get over the blues.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (13 July 2017):

You have learned from this experience a little bit more about yourself as a person and you have found the happy gregarious person you intend to be at university.

It is a culture shock returning from abroad and I sense you dont want to run around as the toast of the town!

However during this stagnant time you have recalled previous or unhappy events connected to yourself that you had left in the past!

There is no point in tormenting yourself during your last few weeks before university so quit caring about who thinks what.

Those people and events are no longer your problem and it is unwise to get drawn back into past topics.

It is better if you continue to move forward.

For example start writing about your time abroad to publish at a later time if necessary.

Also continue to look outside of yourself for something to keep you ticking over!

If needs be start exploring your own wider area with day trips etc.

Maybe contact a language school so that you can help out with teaching English.

You will find similar people to yourself at these kind of places and you know how a student from abroad feels about coming to a new country.

Maybe do a crash course in Teaching English as a Foreign Language as you will want to travel again and your university years are very suited to this lifestyle.

Whatever you do head forwards. Not backwards!

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A male reader, Denizen United Kingdom + , writes (13 July 2017):

Denizen agony auntStop feeling sorry for yourself. Get out there and engage with something. Shouldn't you be looking for a holiday job? Can you not volunteer some time to help others? Is there not something you can do with your time until uni'?

You have been on a high exploring a new country and its culture. It sounds, from what you write, as if you got laid too. Well your future can be full of excitement and new things but you have to go and find them. They don't do house calls.

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