Return by Olga Marlinova, PhDr.
The author,a Czech Clinical Psychologist, describes her experience of return to the native country after a long exile in the United States. She analyzes social and interpersonal problems, which she encountered after her return to Prague where she was invited to teach in the Philosophical Faculty of the Charles University. She was originally welcomed, however, later she met with the lack of support and interest, misunderstanding and envy. She found that many Czechs viewed emigrants as people who left the country in difficult times in order to have a better life, rather than appreciating their desire for freedom and their protest against the Communist rule.The adaption in the native country was difficult ,because many social, political and psychological changes took place there, which were unfamiliar, and an experience of living in the open society was very different and hard to share. Also,her attitudes changed while living abroad and some of her behavior (like assertiveness and open expression of critical views) was often not accepted by Czechs.
Psychological problems of emigrants who return to their native country are difficult and complex.They have to reconnect with close people( which often is not possible), and face many challenges in establishing new home,new relationships and in adjusting in work and social situations. In the same time they experience loss of their adoptive country and a restriction of contact with family members, or close friends and colleagues.They have to undergo again a stressful cultural shock and usually they have to change their life style too.They have to work through their inner conflicts, face painful disappoitments, and mourn their losses again.Return often does not bring back what was lost in the past as emigrants may desire or wish for.
The full version of this essay in English was published in Prague in the journal New Presence in the Fall of 2003.
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