When You Return
Reverse Culture Shock
Upon returning from your Study Abroad experience, it is important to keep in touch with friends you have made overseas, as well as your friends and family back home. But, you will have changed! While many of these people won't understand exactly what you are going through, they can help provide encouragement and support as you transition. For many of you, however, the culture shock you experienced when arriving to your host country abroad will not be nearly as difficult as the shock of returning home after your study abroad experience, known as “reverse culture shock.”
Watch Hailey (Thailand Spring 2013), Stu (Thailand Spring 2013) and David (Thailand Spring 2012) talk about returning home after a semester in Cha-am.
Here are a few resources to help you understand and adjust to this experience:
- What's Up with Culture? Re-entry information from University of the Pacific.
- Dealing with Reverse Culture Shock from University of California, Davis.
- Glimpse Magazine, student traveler branch of National Geographic, has advice on what not to do after returning home. Other fun study abroad stories are available on the site.
- Reverse Culture Shock. Information about the stages of the re-entry period from StudentsAbroad.com.
- Re-Orientation PowerPoint, presented by OSA.
Continue & Share Your Experience!
There are many ways to use the interests and skills you gained while abroad. Be creative in applying what you learned so your growth can continue:
- Ask your Study Abroad Office how you can help out! Throughout the year, there are study abroad fairs, classroom visits, peer advising and Pre-Departure Orientations--lots of chances to help future study abroad students learn the ropes.
- Talk about your experience to clubs and groups, including adults and children.
- Join international organizations and clubs on campus.
- Continue your foreign language or take courses with an international focus.
- Continue studying your host country by taking related courses, reading international papers, viewing films and videos, writing research papers, etc. The Webster University Library is a great resource!
- Volunteer to work in the community with organizations such as the International Institute; or on campus, such as with the Multicultural Center. Help organizations that support community service and development. Look for groups working with immigrants, refugees, or the aged so you can use your skills of listening, patience and empathy.
- Start thinking about when and how you'll return abroad. You can apply for Fulbright Scholarships to study and conduct research; find employment possibilities while you are abroad (which can be tricky); volunteer abroad; join the Peace Corps after graduation; or just return to visit host family & friends.
- Life After Study Abroad is a guide for students after they study abroad and/or graduate. It features opportunities in TEFL, Teaching, Jobs, Intern, and Volunteer abroad.
- Webster students can utilize Going Global, an international career information website. Simply log-in to your Gorlok Jobs account to sign up!
- American Firms Operating in Foreign Countries: Searchable directory of public and private American firms with headquarters, branches, subsidiaries, etc. in foreign countries.
- Foreign Firms Operating in the United States: Searchable directory of public and private foreign firms with headquarters, branches, subsidiaries, etc. in the United States.
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