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Study Abroad Re-entry Resources
As difficult as it is to adapt to an entirely new culture, it can be just as challenging to return home after being away for any period of time. When you return, you may find you aren't the only one who has changed during your absence. Friends and family may be interested in stories or photos for a while, but "really don't understand." It may be difficult to express your feelings in words. Remember that many people may have difficulty relating to what you are saying because it hasn't been a part of their experience.
While adjusting to life back home, take advantage of the opportunity to:
• share your overseas experience with others who also studied abroad
• ask study abroad advisors questions about grades, transcripts and financial aid
• gain tips on easing the process of re-entry shock
• find out how to keep your international experience alive at UWM
• learn how to market your study abroad experience on your resume
• discover the possibility of an international career
To help keep your international experience alive:
• Work or volunteer in the CIE Study Abroad office.
- Offer to participate as a returnee student during a site-specific orientation
- Volunteer to become a buddy for incoming international exchange students
- Share photos and blogs with the CIE Study Abroad office.
• Join Internationally Focused Student Organizations such as the Global Student Alliance. Sponsored by the CIE, GSA is a student organization devoted to breaking down barriers to cross-cultural communication and bringing U.S. and international students together. More information on Internationally Focused Student Organizations can be found here.
• Get involved in International Activities on campus!
• Write about your experience abroad: Submit an article and photos for the Center for International Education's biannual Global Currents bulletin (contact the study abroad office for more information). Alternatively, consider writing an overview of your experience for Abroad View Magazine.
• Add studying abroad to your resume--visit the UWM Career Development Center for help with cover letters, resume writing and interview practice.
• Attend public programs organized by CIE's Institute of World Affairs.
• Give your body and mind some time to adjust.
• Take some time to think about how you have changed and how your experiences abroad have contributed to the new you.
• Question yourself about which experiences and people have affected those changes.
• Contemplate how studying abroad has influenced your life goals, especially now that you're home.
• Keep journals of your thoughts and feelings during and after your trips.
• Try small discussion groups with students and the study abroad staff about personal changes they experienced after studying abroad.
• Get involved with the international community in your area to find activities that enable you to explore different cultures.
• Keep up your language skills through courses, foreign films, and periodicals.
• Correspond with friends abroad in each other's languages.
• Share your emotions and feelings about re-adjusting to home life with your family so they can better understand what you are feeling.
• Organize your pictures, videos, and other memorabilia as soon as possible. This will make it easier for you to share your overseas activities with your family.
• Be open to questions and comments and try to be patient if, at first, your family doesn't quite understand.