At first, coming home may seem like a straightforward process. For many returnees, however, coming home actually involves some re-adjustment and lots of learning. In many ways, the process is similar to the cultural adjustment you probably experienced when you first went abroad: it may trigger feelings of excitement, trepidation, alienation, frustration, boredom, depression, and reverse homesickness. Re-adjusting to home may feel even stranger because we generally don't expect to have to re-adjust to familiar surroundings.
During your time abroad, you likely changed and grew in a variety of ways, both personally and intellectually. Because of these changes, you may notice that some of your relationships are a bit different than they were before, or that you now view your own culture through a different -and often more critical -lens. Sometimes you may not even realize the ways in which you've changed until you have spent some time at home. Coming home involves figuring out how to integrate the parts of you that are new into your old life. Reflecting on your time abroad and being open to your re-entry experiences and feelings can help you continue to grow.
Strategies for Navigating Re-Entry
Listed below are some re-entry recommendations for students. To read more about strategies for navigating re-entry visit the re-entry resources page.
- Take time to reflect and cut yourself some slack.
- Keep in touch with your friends from your time abroad.
- Engage with the international learning community on campus.
- Take advantage of campus resources.
- Get involved in activities related to language skills or interests you developed abroad.
- Show an interest in what happened in your friends’ lives while you were abroad. Ask about their experiences and share some of your own.
- Talk to family or friends about the ways in which you may have grown or changed, and ask for their ideas.