Upon return, it is important to understand the changes you may experience when re-adjusting to your home culture. Many experience more severe symptoms of culture shock, including those that may impact your health, when coming homethan when you first went abroad.
The Re-Entry Phase
Now that you have returned from your study abroad experience, you have entered a new stage of culture adjustment. For some, the “re-entry” phase is the most challenging aspect of their study abroad experience.
For many people, the process of re-entry is greatly eased by sharing the overseas experience with like-minded or interested people. Seek out other students who have returned from studying abroad with whom you can share your thoughts, or international students, especially those from the country from which you have just returned. Our Getting Involved section gives specific activities, organizations and events for you to reach out to and engage.
Returning Home and Your Health
If you are finding it particularly difficult to re-adjust to your life back home, and feeling depressed or isolated from your friends and family, consider talking to a counselor about your feelings. You can share your experiences and find solutions that will help ease your transition. Some find it helpful to read about re-entry or reverse culture shock to gain a better understanding of what they are going through. There is a great deal of literature available on the subject. See some suggested readings and websites below. It is common to have difficulties readjusting and you are not alone.
It is important to follow up with your physical health as well. Don't forget to complete any vaccine-related steps as well, such as finishing any anti-malarial pills or getting a follow-up tuberculosis test or other tests, if applicable.
- Coming Home: Sustaining the Experiences of Studying Abroad, Leah Howell (1999)
- Cross-Cultural Re-entry: A Book of Readings, Clyde Austin (1986)
- So You’re Coming Home: The Social Dynamics of Coming Home, Blak, Stewart, and Hal Gregrersen (1999)
- Life After Study Abroad
- Transitions Abroad
- Top Ten Challenges for Study Abroad Returnees