Education Abroad Office

When You Return

Rocky

WELCOME HOME!

We can't wait to hear all about your experiences abroad. In fact, we host a Study Abroad Alumni Reception every semester for all our returning Rockets. Look for your invitation within the first few weeks of your returning semester.

Many students tell us that the hardest part of the Education Abroad process is 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!

We provide you with some tools to help ease your transition back into your home environment. Review the resources we've hand-selected below for you addressing reverse culture shock.

RE-ENTRY SHOCK

Coming home may be easy, you are back in a familiar surroundings with your family and friends. All of what you missed when you were away and now here in front of you. You are home.

However, 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 typically only want a summary of your experience. 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 gossip or university news, topics more locally relevant.

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Source: "Returning  from Abroad." Central Michigan University Wordmark. www.cmich.edu n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2018.

Below are some of the top challenges students face when coming home:

  • Boredom
  • 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 very normal. This is because you've changed in both little and huge ways, gaining a brand new 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.

StudyAbroad.com has an engaging series titled Life After Study Abroad that delves into the adjustment period during re-entry, integrating your experience into your life at home and how to apply your study abroad in your budding professional career. The UT Counseling Center might also be a valuable resource if you find yourself struggling with this transition. YouTube has a variety of videos portraying other peoples' experience with reverse culture shock in their home countries. The most important thing to understand is that you're not alone. Please feel free to reach out to any of the study abroad advisors during this time as well.

SAA logoIn addition, join our Study Abroad Association community! This is a newer student organization that provides a space for study abroad alumni to share their abroad experiences and connect with like-minded individuals. Contact their current president as Kelsey.Obrien2@utoledo.edu for more information.

Last Updated: 11/5/18