When you return to United States and the TLU campus, it is important to know that this, too, will require cultural adjustment.
For some students, the return home can be more challenging than the culture shock experienced abroad. Living and studying abroad changes us. It broadens our perspectives, and gives us new insight into ourselves and our home culture. However, we often lose sight of the fact that changes are happening at home, too.
Reverse Culture Shock
Adjusting from reverse culture shock, like the initial adjustments you went through abroad, progresses through stages. How strongly you will be affected by these cannot be predicted: even those who have studied abroad and returned home before may, after a second experience, find themselves more deeply affected than they were before. As with your journey outward, though, you will emerge from this period of adjustment.
Here are the general stages that categorize cultural readjustment:
Leave-taking and Departure
Cultural readjustment begins before you even leave your host country; it begins as you prepare to depart and say your farewells to the new friends and "family" you made abroad. You may feel anticipation and excitement at the prospect of seeing your family and friends at home, and you may also feel some regret that your experience is coming to an end. These emotions mixed together, may make you feel ambivalent about your move and unsure of how you will feel when you do arrive home. Being very intentional about your leave-taking and creating some sort of closure to you studies abroad can help.
Your first weeks home will likely be exhilarating. You will experience the thrill of rediscovering your home and reconnecting with those you love. Friends and family will make you the center of attention, meaning there will be many opportunities to talk about your experiences abroad.
Irritability and Hostility
After those first few weeks, as life begins to settle back into its routine for both you and those around you, you may begin to slide into reverse culture shock. You may resist or resent the way that you are expected to fall back into the routines of home, work, and classes at TLU. You may find yourself unfavorably comparing the United States with your host country or feel that people and things at home have changed too much -- or have not changed enough -- in your absence. You may also find yourself feeling "homesick" for your life abroad.
Readjustment and Adaptation
With time, you will adjust to life back home. You will reestablish connections and make new ones. You will find yourself able to see both American and host-country cultures in perspective and to value their differences. You will also begin to integrate your experiences abroad into your life back home.
Ways To Stay Engaged On Campus
When you return to TLU, stay engaged. Doing so is a way to share your experiences and enthusiasm and can help you as you readjust upon your return. Turn your study abroad experience into a life-long learning process.
Complete the Online Evaluation
Completing the online evaluation for your study abroad program is a good way to say “thank you” to your program provider. This will help them advertise their programs so more students can participate in international experiences.
Study Abroad Photo Contest
Submit photos to the study abroad photo contest -- or just post some to the TLU Study Abroad Facebook page.
Study Abroad Fair
Participate in our fall study abroad fair. This is a great chance to talk about your experiences and help encourage other students to study abroad.
Study Abroad Information Sessions
Attend study abroad information sessions and the pre-departure orientation to talk with prospective study abroad students.
Write About Your Experiences
Write a short piece on your study abroad experience. We love posting those on our website and sharing it with the TLU Marketing and Communications Department.
Talk About Your Experiences
Take advantage of the speaking engagements that the International Education Office asks for like FREX classes, prospective visit days, Family Weekend, and other classes.
Continue With Your Language Education
Continue your language instruction and look for volunteer experiences that allow you to use your language skills.
Talk With Faculty
Talk with faculty and staff members about your experiences. Not only do they enjoy hearing about them, but you're a valuable source of information that they can use in class.
Stay Involved On-Campus
Join clubs and attend co-curricular events with an international and/or cultural focus. Attend the welcome-back events the International Education Office plans.
Market Your Skills To Future Employers
Go to the Office of Career Development:: they can help you think about ways to build on your international experiences and how to incorporate them into your resume, cover letters, and future job interviews.
Tell Us About Your Trip
Stop by the TLU International Education Office. We would love to hear all about your experiences, what you learned, stories you may have, and anything else you would like to share with us.
Keep Your International Connections Alive
Contact the friends you made while abroad. Stay in touch with them. You never know when you could be going back or vice versa.
Seek Out Other International Experiences
There are multiple ways to go abroad again, from volunteering, teaching, working, interning, or studying abroad again.