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When Your Student Returns

Returning home after completing an Education Abroad experience can sometimes feel like as much of an adjustment as going abroad. Here are some resources to help you understand how to help your student settle back into life after his/her Education Abroad experience:
Getting Settled
Just as your student may have experienced a period of cultural adjustment at the start of their Education Abroad experience, upon return it is extremely likely that they will experience challenges in re-adapting to life in the United States (or their home country). Many students find that exposure to new cultures and different worldviews causes them to reexamine their priorities and values, as well as those of their home culture. This shift in perspective can lead to a feeling of psychological discomfort known as “reverse culture shock,” which occurs when a student returns to their home country.

Upon returning home, many students may expect to be able to pick up exactly where they left off, and are unsure how to react when returning home feels foreign. This inconsistency between expectations and reality can cause students to experience feelings of frustration, anger, alienation, loneliness, disorientation or helplessness. The degree of difficulty of readjustment will vary from individual to individual, but – in general – the better integrated a student became to their host country’s culture and lifestyle, the harder it is to readjust during re-entry.

It is important to understand that it is completely normal for your student to experience some degree of difficulty adjusting to life back home. Eventually, your student will adjust and things will start to seem normal again. The key to helping your student overcoming reverse culture shock is to understand that it is a phase that many students experience and that they will re-adjust to life back home! One way to ease the transition from living abroad to life back home is by encouraging your student to incorporate the positive aspects of their international experience with the positive aspects of their lives in the United States or home country to build o their international experience.
After participating in an Education Abroad program, there are many ways your student can build on their international experience such as attending the re-entry conference, continuing the conversation, and continuing to participate in abroad programs. Please encourage your student to take advantage of these opportunities; students have more access to this information on their student profile. 

Begin thinking about their next international experience – explore opportunities to study, volunteer, work or travel abroad; check out graduate school programs abroad or with a global focus; or research programs that provide opportunities for recent graduates to serve as ambassadors abroad, such as Fulbright, Peace Corps or Rotary International programs.

Upon return from an Education Abroad program, staff members from Cultural and Global Engagement are available to help your student get settled into life back at Quinnipiac.