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Many students tell us that the hardest part of the Study Abroad process in coming home!
The deeper and more meaningful the experience you had abroad, the more challenging the re-entry process will be. No worries, this culture shock of returning home is short-lived and a normal part of the process.
The best way to prepare yourself for re-entry to the U.S. is to inform yourself about the process!
Coming home may be easy, you are back in a familiar surroundings and seeing your family and friends. All of what you missed when you were away and now here in front of you. You are home.
You may discover that coming home is not as easy as it sounds. While you were away learning about the world, studying, traveling, and meeting new people, everyone else was here, living the same routine they lived before.
You just had one of the most exciting and exhilarating times of your life, and when talking with friends and family, you will find they want you to summarize it up in 10-15 minutes. Sharing too many photos and stories at once can be overwhelming ...eyes may start to glaze over. When with your friends, you may find yourself wanting to talk about politics, people, and tell travel stories. Your friends, on the other hand, may prefer talking about the latest celebrity gossip or university news.
Below are some of the top challenges students face when coming home.
- Nobody wants to hear about our experiences
- It's hard to explain
- Relationships have changed
- Feelings of alienation; seeing home with critical eyes
- Fear of losing the experience, storing it away in a box that we only look at occasionally
- Fear of losing the new friends we have made overseas
These feelings are all normal. This is because you’ve changed in both little and big ways, gaining a new fresh outlook on life. It is important to respond to these adjustments much like you did while you were abroad by keeping your sense of humor, staying open-minded and flexible, and easing yourself back into life in the U.S.
UT Study Abroad Ambassador
Incorporate your international experience into your life by getting involved in the international academic community at UT, or to work, intern or volunteer in the Center for International Studies and Programs. Call 419.530.5268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can get involved.
Marketing Your Study Abroad Experience
Now that you are back and may be planning for graduation you may be thinking about how to incorporate this experience in your resume.
Here are some examples of skills gained through study abroad that can enhance your resume or to share during an interview:
- Interpersonal Skills
- Intercultural Communication Skills
- Global Business Practices
- Diversity Training
- Overcoming Adversity
- Networking Opportunities
- Language Skills
Incorporating Study Abroad onto your Resume:
Study Abroad can be listed under your education.
If you did an internship or job abroad, it can be listed under your work experience.
Consider creating a section on your resume called “International Experience.” Add a bullet point in the education section of your resume under the University where you studied listing any specific studies (i.e., language, culture, international business, etc.).
Cover Letters and Job Interviews:
A cover letter is an excellent chance for you to sell yourself and to match your skills
to those that the employer needs. If it is appropriate to mention your international
experience in your cover letter to highlight a skill, then for sure mention it. Remember
to keep your cover letter on point.
During your interview, remember to only use stories from abroad that highlight a skill or help to answer a question about you. As we all know, it is very easy to start talking about our experience overseas and to end up going off on a different topic.