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Once You Return

Continue Your International Experience

  • Join a culture or international club.
  • Stay connected with the people you met overseas.
  • Continue with your language study.
  • Meet with your advisors and talk about your program.
  • Bring your international experiences to your classes.
  • Attend one of the language conversation tables.
  • Attend the international events held on campus - learn about a new country!
  • Contact the Career Center to find out how to spotlight your international experience on your resume.  Be sure to include language skills and cross-cultural communications.
  • Write a thank you letter to your faculty!  They will appreciate hearing from you
  • Volunteer as a "past participant" at orientations and informational meetings
  •  Investigate jobs in the U.S. that have an international focus.
  • Look into teaching English as a Second Language abroad.

What is Reverse Culture Shock?

As odd as it may sound, you should prepare yourself for a period of cultural adjustment - or reverse culture shock - when you come back to the United States. Returning travelers experience the same physical and emotional upheavals as in the early stages of life abroad. This includes jet lag, as your body adjusts to the change in time zones.

In fact, many returning students are surprised to find that adjusting to life "back home" is more difficult than the adjustment they made to life in a foreign country. Why is this? While students understand that study abroad is a life-changing experience, many of them are not immediately aware of how they changed or how their experience abroad has caused them to look at life in the United States through different lenses. You may also experience a sense of loss after leaving your new friends and the life that you led while abroad.

After your return, you may feel out of sync with friends and family, who ay express only a polite interest in the experiences that you found fascinating. You might experience boredom and a lack of direction. You may also return to find that problems that were on hold while you were abroad - personal issues or career questions - are still waiting for you.

Some returning students experience particular reintegrating into the structure and expectations of academic studies. For that reason, it is advisable to allow some time between returning home and starting classes, if this is feasible.

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