Life After Study Abroad

Table of Contents

Re-entry Information
Signs of Reverse Culture Shock
Tips For Coping With Re-entry

Re-entry Information

Studying overseas was undoubtedly one of the most academic and culturally enriching experiences of your life. It is an experience that will forever change how you view the world and how you interact with it. It is vital that you find ways to use this experience in your life at home, both to make the most of your own experience and to share your experience with those around you in order to change their lives.

Now that you're back stateside, you should feel right at home, but some things are a bit off. Learn the signs of re-entry shock, how to cope, and how to keep your international experience alive.

Signs of Reverse Culture Shock

Your reactions to re-entry may vary, and may include one or more of the following:

  • Restlessness
  • Depression
  • Reverse homesickness
  • Changes in goals and priorities
  • Negativity or intolerance towards the your home country including behavior, attitudes, customs, and common social practice

No matter how much time you spent abroad, you will experience differences in yourself, your family and friends, and your surroundings upon your return home. At times, you may feel that no one understands how you've changed, and it may be difficult for you to realize that life has not only changed for you, but it has also changed for your friends and family. All of these things can make you feel a little out of place at home.

This process is much like the cultural adjustment you experienced when you first went abroad, only in reverse. Similar to having to adjust when you go to another country, you must make some adjustments coming home as well. The coping skills and strategies that were successful in helping you adjust to your host culture will be just as helpful coming home: get involved, identify a support group of other study abroad students, suspend judgment until you understand a situation, and always, always keep a sense of humor.

Tips For Coping With Re-entry

Stay in touch with your friends from abroad

  • Video chat via Skype
  • Connect on social media
Join clubs or organizations
  • ISA Global Ambassador Program
  • Community service group
  • International or multicultural club
  • Student/social/political awareness group
  • International Student Association on campus
Continue studying a new language
  • Continue studying at your home university
  • Find native speakers in your community
  • Join a language club on campus or in your community
Stay connected to the experience
  • Read your journal
  • Make a playlist of songs that remind you of your time abroad
  • Create a photo album of pictures from your time abroad
  • Watch movies or read books about your host country
  • Add your experience to your resume and practice how you will talk about it in interviews
  • Write a review of your time overseas online
Stay motivated to travel and explore
  • Subscribe to the local online newspaper from the city, region, or country where you lived
  • Read online blogs of current travelers
  • Subscribe to travel magazines
  • Follow travel-focused Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages