Study Abroad Returnees
Study Abroad Returnees
After successfully adjusting to your host country’s culture, it is time to return home. You’ll join the ranks of thousands of other UD students and alumni who have studied abroad since the first Blue Hens traveled to France in 1923. Congratulations on completing this hallmark UD experience. Your world will never be the same!
The Center for Global Programs & Services is here to help you as you navigate the transition back home and begin to put your new skills and experiences to use.
“As excited as I was, I couldn’t have imagined how incredible the experience would be. New Zealand and the people I shared it with will forever hold a special place in my heart. ❤️🇳🇿”
Share Your Story
The University of Delaware invites you to share your impressions of the world with the world! Submit an entry in the UD Study Abroad Photo & Video Contest. Mention @UDGlobal on Instagram and Twitter to appear on official University social media, and include #UDAbroad.
Use good judgment when creating posts as content can go anywhere on the Internet, and represent the University, as well as you. For more information, visit www.udel.edu/socialmedia.
Prepare for Reverse Culture Shock
You probably looked forward to coming home – regardless of how exciting and life-changing your study abroad experience was – and now that you’re here, you may be feeling confused, with many mixed emotions. This is completely normal.
In fact, many students returning from studying abroad find that, in some ways, it may be more challenging to readjust back to life in the U.S. than it was to go abroad. Chances are, your perceptions of your U.S. life and culture may have changed as a result of your study abroad.
Similar to the culture shock you may have experienced when you arrived at your new home abroad, you may also experience reverse culture shock when you return after your study abroad experience. It is common to feel psychological and emotional stress during reentry. This is often referred to as reverse culture shock.
What is reverse culture shock?
You may feel homesick for the culture that you left behind in your host country. While everyone has their own unique experience there are also many common feelings that are very “normal” as you readjust to life back at home:
- You may be bored with the daily routines that you have to re-learn from before you left on your study abroad program.
- You may just want to return to where you were living abroad. After all, you spent many weeks trying to adapt and feel comfortable in your environment there.
- You may have experienced enormous personal growth while abroad but find that nothing has changed with your family or friends and you may feel like you don’t “fit in.”
- You may feel like no one at home understands you. Frustration and loneliness can set in when you want to share your stories from abroad, but your family and friends may not be interested.
When you experience reverse culture shock, it is not uncommon to have feelings of irritability and depression as you gradually readjust to life at home. Although there is no specific time frame when you can expect to feel relief from these symptoms, everything will start to feel “normal” again as you fall back into those familiar routines. Be aware of your your new or different beliefs, views or goals that may have changed from before you left. Be patient and positive with yourself and others as you go through this process of reentry. A good way to share your experiences may be to start a blog or create a video to share with friends and family. After sharing your experiences, find shared interests to focus on and strengthen those relationships.
Look for ways to positively incorporate aspects of your experience abroad in your life at home. If you experience severe physical or emotional symptoms, the UD Center for Counseling & Student Development or a counselor in your home area can help.
Keep the experience in perspective and remember to use the knowledge gained to your advantage by continuing to adopt a global outlook in all aspects of your life.
Leverage Your 21st Century Skills
Study abroad is an investment that pays off in the classroom and as you embark upon a career. Update your LinkedIn and resume-- and be sure to call upon your global skills and experiences in interviews. Need a letter of recommendation or reference? Consider asking your UD study abroad faculty director or a faculty member from your host institution abroad.
Volunteer your Experience
Contact your faculty director to see if you can volunteer to speak during an interest meeting, class or Study Abroad & Global Studies Fair. Future study abroad participants greatly value returnee advice.
The Center for Global Programs & Services also annually hires a small team of UD undergraduate students. Contact CGPS for additional information and to indicate your interest.