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Study Abroad Re-Entry

Study Abroad Re-entry: Welcome back!

As difficult as it may be to adapt to an entirely new culture while abroad, it can be just as challenging to return home and adjust 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 they really don't understand. It may be difficult to express your feelings in words. Remember that many people 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 have also studied abroad.
  • Ask study abroad advisors questions about grades, transcripts and  financial aid.
  • Get tips on managing 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 Study Abroad Office:
    • Offer to participate as a returnee student during a site-specific orientation.
    • Volunteer to become a buddy for an incoming international exchange student.
    • Share photos and blogs with the Study Abroad Office.
  • Join internationally-focused student organizations on campus such as the Global Student Alliance (GSA):
    • Sponsored by the Center for International Education (CIE), GSA is a student organization devoted to breaking down cross-cultural communication barriers and bringing U.S. and international students together.
    • Other organizations include AIESEC, Trafficking Ends with Action and CEDAR-Discourse: International Aid & Development Careers.
    • More information on GSA and other student organizations can be found here (LINK Panthersync).
  • Get involved in international activities on campus.
  • Write about your experience abroad.
    • Submit articles and/or photos for the CIE photo contests or the biannual Global Currents bulletin (contact the Study Abroad Office for more information).
    • Consider writing an overview of your experience for Abroad View Magazine (LINK).
  • Add studying abroad to your resume - visit the UWM Career Development Center (LINK) for help with cover letters, resume writing and interview practice.
  • Attend public programs organized by CIE's Institute of World Affairs (IWA).

Further Suggestions

  • Give your body and mind 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 the experiences and people that have contributed to those changes.
  • Contemplate how studying abroad has influenced your life goals, especially now that you're home.
  • Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings during and after your time abroad.
  • Try joining or forming small discussion groups with students and the study abroad staff about personal changes 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, literature, periodicals and conversation groups.
  • Correspond with friends abroad (especially in other languages if possible).
  • 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 revisit your experience and share your overseas activities with your friends and family.
  • Be open to questions and comments and try to be patient if, at first, your friends and family don't quite understand.