Often described as the most difficult part of the study abroad process, re-entry to your home country, culture and college, can be a significant adjustment.
Adjusting back to life in the U.S. and on-campus can at times be a challenge. You’ve seen and experienced things that no one else has. As Jacob Dylan sings in “One Headlight” by the Wallflowers, “I ain’t changed, but I know I ain’t the same.” This throw-back song from the 1990s speaks to a transformative experience like study abroad. Returning “home” is tricky because you might look the same on the outside, but inside your perspective on the world and how you approach life might have shifted. There is a range of how people process and address these shifts.
Washington College offers support and assistance to students who wish to debrief about their abroad experiences through re-entry programming and activities outlined below. The re-entry sessions hosted this fall are opportunities to get together and talk with friends, peers, and professionals who understand what you are experiencing.
There are also websites and guides to assist in making sense of how you are feeling and why.
You can also seek out ways to write about your experience abroad through these magazines:
Writing about your study abroad experience
Cara Subasic, Class of 2014, sends a post card back to Washington College while abroad at Pierre Mendes University France fall 2012.
Events and Opportunities for Students Returning from Abroad
Dinner & Dish: Welcome Back Get Together @ the Global Education Office, Foster House
Date for spring 2014: TBA
Hosted by Kate McCleary, Global Education Office
Come over to the Global Education Office (now located at 409 Washington Ave., Foster House) for some great conversation about your time abroad and a light dinner! Kate promises some homemade treats in order to counter the cafeteria food you are re-adjusting to. A grab bag of questions will be available to help prompt our conversation and to get you started on sharing your stories with others who traveled abroad last semester. This is your chance to talk to others who are excited to hear about what you did, and they get it! They have been abroad too!
Reflecting on the Emotional Side of Returning from Abroad @ Foster House
Date for spring 2014: TBA
Hosted by Kate McCleary, Director, Global Education Office
By the time this session rolls around, you will have been back to Washington College for three weeks, and you might be dealing with re-adjustment issues. Relationships with friends might not feel the same, your level of engagement in some things might be greater but in other things less, and your overall perspective on your college experience may have shifted. Join Kate McCleary for a conversation about the re-acclimation process to life in the U.S., and the ways in which your perspectives about life have changed.
Marketing Your International Experience for Your Future @ Career Development
Date for spring 2014: TBA
Hosted by Mrs. Vicky Sawyer, Career Development
“Studying abroad was awesome. It was a life changing experience.” How many times has that phrase come out of your mouth? With friends and acquaintances that might be an OK intro, but what about when you are in a job interview? Or at a networking event? Or sharing your thoughts in a graduate school application? What do you say then? Join Mrs. Vicky Sawyer as she walks you through the best ways to market your international experience in future employment and graduate/professional school applications, resumes, and interview.
Baltimore Re-Entry Conference February 2014
The annual Baltimore Area Study Abroad Re-Entry Conference aims to provide college and university students who have recently returned from a study abroad experience with a variety of information. Developed by a committee of study abroad professionals, the conference will offer sessions on topics including career paths of study abroad participants, volunteer and non-profit opportunities abroad, the fellowship experience, and internationalizing your résumé and interviews.
Ways and Places to Present on Your Study Abroad Experience
One of the ways to process your experience is to share it with others! There are many events, clubs and organizations that are interested in your study abroad experience. Here are a few:
Cultural Ambassadors Program:
Students are encouraged to get involved with the Cultural Ambassadors Program that matches an international and U.S. student in a culture exchange. Contact Theresa Capule (email@example.com) for more information.
International Relations Club:
Students are encouraged to become involved with the International Relations Club in planning social and cultural events for all students (U.S. and International students). Click here to see photos from IRC events!
Present at an Admissions Office Open House
Join Kate MCleary in talking to students about study abroad through Washington College. E-mail Kate (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to present at any of the upcoming events. Presentations are between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and dates for the spring Open House weekends will be posted in early 2014.
Present at a Language Club meeting or at a Department of Modern Languages’ sponsored event:
Talk to the Modern Language faculty about hosting an event on study abroad for other students taking languages! There are often specific presentations on study abroad for students studying French, German, or Spanish hosted by the Modern Language Department. Your assistance with these presentations adds so much! Click here to access all clubs at Washington College.
Present to a Class within Your Major or Minor Field of Study:
Talk with faculty members about doing a brief presentation to a class that you feel is relevant to your study abroad experience. International Studies students who have spent time in a particular region might want to talk with your professor about doing a short presentation on something relevant to the class content and your experience overseas. If you are a Biology major and didn’t think you could go abroad, ask to do a short-presentation on how you managed your schedule and studied abroad to a first-year class. Hearing from all of you about what you did and how you did it means so much to your peers!
Global Education Office Pre-Departure Session:
You know how much you valued getting advice from former study abroad students. Join the Global Education Office in September at our Pre-Departure Session. We rely on you to share the nitty-gritty details that you wanted to know before you left! Keep an eye out for dates.
Clubs, Organizations, Residence Halls, and Greek Life:
If you are part of a group that has lots of students interested in studying abroad, talk with Kate McCleary about co-presenting a session on study abroad. Kate can review the process, and you can share your fantastic stories about what you got out of the experience. E-mail Kate if you want to set something up: email@example.com.