Though it may sound silly, reverse culture shock is something that many volunteers experience when returning from a long-term placement. After adjusting to the often significantly different conditions in a developing country it can take a while to readjust to UK life. My placement with 2Way Development lasted for 18 months, and coming home to the UK in the middle of December has been a bit of a shock in many ways. Though it’s great to see all the preparations for Christmas and catch up with friends and family, I miss India. I miss the craziness, the people, the driving, the chai, and the fact that I am automatically the most interesting person in any room (though my old housemate may disagree!). I also miss the heat; a difference in 30 degrees is significant to say the least.
Prices are also an issue. When you can have a very nice meal out in India for less than £2, it can be difficult to justify to yourself spending £15 plus for one person. Similarly, spending £1.50 on a cup of tea seems extortionate when it costs about 6 pence from an Indian cart.
There are many things to love about coming home; the relative calm, the comparative wealth, the lack of rubbish on every street. It’s also great to be able to get all the things that you’ve been missing during your time overseas; great pubs, English language cinemas, western food, beef, and most importantly in my case, good cheese and wine! However, I think that anyone that has spent a long time in India will always miss certain aspects of Indian life. Personally, I’m not ready to be back in the UK for good, which is fortunate as in 5 weeks time or so I will be returning to India and starting a new part-time voluntary position in beautiful Udaipur, Rajasthan.