“I found it [Palms Re-entry] useful in that it allowed me to see the similarities & differences my stories held in comparison with the others. It gave me a platform in which to share my stories with willing listeners, non-judgement & respect.”

An often neglected part of long-term cross-cultural work is the return home. Just as entering a new country and culture can present many difficulties and challenges, returning home or “re-entry” can often be shocking, disappointing or disheartening. “Home” may not be as a returnee remembers, or may be, disappointingly, exactly as remembered. The complexity and pace of Australian life can be confronting, confusing and frustrating. The apparent inequities and injustices can be infuriating.

Friends, family and colleagues are often baffled by a returnee’s inability to just slot back in. There exists a need to share stories with people who understand and can relate similar experiences. Often returning home, will not mean returning to an old life. New experiences have helped a volunteer develop and they may be looking at a new direction.

Palms Australia is aware of the difficulties of returning home and offers to all its returned volunteers a re-entry program to ease the trip back home. Palms re-entry workshops offer a chance to share stories, explore new understandings of development, debrief on global and local issues and better understand the new role a returnee can have at home.

Palms welcomes volunteers and workers from other organisations to attend our re-entry workshops. If you have returned or are about to return from a long-term, cross-cultural assignment, contact Palms for information on re-entry programs. Workshops can be run over a weekend, or for smaller groups over the course of a day. The benefits of a well-administered re-entry program are undeniable.

To participate in our next re-entry workshop or to organise one for your group, contact Palms Australia via email or phone (02) 9560 5333.