Maram Meccawy writes:
Reverse culture shock, which afflicts expatriates after returning to their countries, is not our own unique problem.
However, there are a few disturbing things are unique to Saudi women who return home after the experience of life abroad. She would deal with people from other cultures and be self-reliant in many ways. These women know they will lose their freedom of movement, and when I say freedom of movement, it does not mean just driving a car, for not all women abroad have cars or driver’s licenses, but also the use of public transport — buses, subways etc. This freedom of movement also applies to their male guardians, as they are no longer obliged to work as a driver for the family all the time, but know they can rely on their female relatives to manage most of their affairs and family matters.
Even without the use of transportation of any kind, the female scholarship returnee knows that back home, she will not be able to even walk to the end of the street to buy what she needs from the pharmacy or grocery store. Not because there is a law that prevents us, but because our customs say doing so is unsafe and is not fitting. Even if she gathered her courage and ignores traditions, she finds that it would be actually impossible. There are no pedestrian crossings on any roads, and most of us do not have the courage to risk our lives trying to cross!
Many Saudi students who went to study abroad go through this, but it is certainly more difficult for the girls. That’s why some of them decide to go abroad again for another degree or two even if they don’t really need it, and that’s why some of them decide not to return home at all.