No matter how long your study abroad program was, returning home is always tough. Balancing the emotions that come with reverse culture shock, the excitement of seeing friends and family back home, and integrating back into your “normal” life can be overwhelming. If your USAC study abroad program is ending, you’re probably wondering how you can keep the study abroad momentum going. Find tips below for navigating reverse culture shock, returning to life back home, and staying connected with study abroad.
First Things First: Let Reverse Culture Shock Happen
Just like the initial culture shock you experienced in your host country, reverse culture shock is inevitable after time abroad. It’s important that you understand the symptoms of culture shock and prepare yourself for ups and downs when you return home. You might be tempted to dive headfirst into whatever you were missing back home, but don’t try to avoid reverse culture shock with a busy schedule. Allow yourself time to process your emotions, reflect on your experiences, and give yourself the space you need to adjust to life at home.
Next: Get in Touch With USAC
If you’re eager to stay connected to study abroad, we’ve got you covered. USAC is always looking for alumni to help future students prepare for their study abroad. There are a few different ways you can get involved with USAC after your study abroad:
- Share your contact information with future students who are looking for advice or have questions about your program.
- Submit your photos, videos, blogs, and testimonials to be used in marketing materials, on the USAC website, and social media.
- Review your program on GoAbroad.com and GoOverseas.com to help future students in their research.
- Volunteer to speak on the USAC podcast, participate in an alumni panel, or get involved with USAC events.
Don’t forget to check in with your home university’s study abroad office to learn how you can help with on-campus events and promotional efforts during the school year.
Finally: Set Some New Goals
Hopefully studying abroad ignited a fire within you and primed you to conquer whatever life throws your way. Whether you’re jumping back into your studies, pursuing an internship or new job, or are already planning your next international adventure, setting some goals for this next chapter of your life will help keep you organized and focused. Use the momentum you built up during your time abroad to tackle your next hurdles.
As you set your new goals, consider how study abroad can help you reach them. Did you work with a professor from your program who can write you that letter of recommendation? Can your host family recommend where to stay on your next trip? Consider updating your resume with the skills you learned during study abroad, too. Once you start reflecting on your program, you’ll realize that you grew, learned, and gained a lot during study abroad that can help you back home.
For alumni resources like re-entry materials, career tips, and ways to connect with USAC, visit the USAC website.