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Tips for Returning Home
Helpful Tips for Re-entry
Reentry, or reverse culture shock, is a very common reaction to returning home from studying abroad. It can range from feeling that no one 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 new interests that were sparked abroad. As you go through this transition period, you may find the following tips helpful:
- Your reactions surrounding reentry may include one or more of the following symptoms: restlessness, boredom, depression, uncertainty, confusion, isolation, wanting to be alone, missing the people, places, attitudes or lifestyle of your host country, changes in goals and priorities, negativity or intolerance towards the U.S., including American behavior, attitudes, customs and common social practice.
- This process is much like the culture shock you may have experienced when you first went abroad. Similar to having to adjust when you go to another country, you must make some adjustments coming home, too. 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, keep a journal, and always keep a sense of humor.
- You may recognize that many of your values and beliefs have changed. Learn to incorporate new and meaningful values and beliefs in your life.
- Understand that your friendships and relationships might change as a function of your new experiences. Explore new places and people with whom you can share your international experiences.
- Accept the reality that reentry is a time of transition! Learn ways to take care of yourself and ease into your surroundings.
Read about Reentry & Reverse Culture Shock
The more you know, the better prepared you will be to deal with it!
- Coming Home: Life After Study Abroad (Middlebury College)
- Reentry or Coming "Home" Again (University of Colorado at Boulder)
Lift Your Morale
- Tour the Snite Museum of Fine Arts Museum or the Chicago Art Institute to enjoy art and artifacts from the country where you studied
- Write about it! Submit an article about your abroad experience to The Observer, Scholastic Magazine or The South Bend Tribune
- Host a program reunion with your fellow returnees
- Create a photo album or website about your semester or year abroad
- Get involved with international organizations on-campus or locally
- Read the local news from your host country on-line
- Enjoy a cappuccino or latte or cook some of your favorite food from your study site