Welcome home and congratulations on successfully completing your education abroad experience!
We hope you had a great semester abroad. Your time back here in the U.S. can be one of great ups and downs as you adjust to life here in the U.S. again. Give yourself some time as you get back into things.
Your education abroad experience does not have to end just because you’ve returned to the US. Now that you are back, we want to let you know about some of the international events and activities going on here on campus this year. This website provides some information about things you can do to keep your international experience alive. Explore the links below to learn more about returning to CSU and our international activities.
The unsettled feeling that can accompany one’s return from abroad is what some refer to as “re-entry adjustment” or “reverse culture shock” and is a very common reaction for students coming home from abroad. Feelings can range from the sense that nobody understands how you’ve changed, to feeling panicked that you will lose part of your identity if you don’t have an outlet to pursue the new interests that were sparked abroad.
According to professionals in the field of International Education, 85% of people returning home have some kind of re-entry challenges, and of those, 15% have more serious difficulties adapting to their return. If you’re having difficulty with your return, think back to the adjustments you made to succeed while you were abroad. These same skills can help you in coming home. Remember that “W” curve of cultural adjustment. It may have included an initial euphoria, followed by lots of criticism, followed by general acceptance and understanding of the new culture. The same pattern applies to re-entry. The coping skills and strategies that were successful in helping you adjust to your overseas culture will be just as helpful in making the return home: get involved, identify a support group of other education abroad students, suspend judgment of others, keep a journal of your observations, and don’t forget to keep your sense of humor.
Coping, Adjusting, and Getting Involved
Many of the feelings you may experience come from the change you have undergone and the uncertainty about how the new, changed you fits into your old life. One thing to remember, change is a positive thing. You have new ideas and insights giving you a better sense of yourself. The goal is to figure out how to incorporate your new perspectives into your life back in the States.
There are several things you can do to feel comfortable again in the US while still retaining new knowledge and perspectives. First, do not consider education abroad a singular experience; instead, look at it as the start of a lifetime of international experiences. You can go abroad again! Second, find ways to continue pursuing newfound interests. Make the most of the resources that exist for you on your home campus and in your local community.
What’s Up With Culture – Select Module 2 – Welcome Back, Now What!