Welcome back to Auburn! We hope your time abroad was full of exciting and enriching moments. As you readjust to life in the U.S., you may find it challenging to return to your routine. Even though you are coming back to a familiar environment, you have a new perspective on what it means to be an American and may view U.S. policies and customs in a different way. In addition, time did not stop while you were away, so your family and friends may have changed as well.
Adjustment upon re-entry varies for each person, and it may affect you differently after each time abroad. Common symptoms include boredom, fatigue, irritation, missing your host country, feelings of isolation, or a change in eating and sleeping habits. Many students also find that family and friends are interested in hearing their stories immediately upon return but eventually tire of the subject. If this happens to you, remember that it is not a reflection of their feelings about you. They were not direct participants of the experience and may not fully understand the impact it had on you.
Tips to Manage Your Re-Entry Adjustment
- Continue your international experience.
- Keep in touch with friends you made abroad.
- Talk to others who have traveled and share your stories.
- Allow yourself time to reflect on the experience.
- Which moments bring a smile to your face, and which ones make you shake your head? What did you learn from these moments?
- How did you grow or change as a result of your time abroad?
- What problems did you encounter on your program? How did you overcome them?
- What do you miss most about your host country? Why?
- Did you experience any situations that challenged your beliefs or values?
- Given the opportunity to view it from the outside, what did you learn about American culture?
- How can you articulate the answers to these questions to your family and friends? Consider coming up with one-minute, five-minute, and ten-minute “elevator speeches” that will allow you to adequately convey the impact of your experience when asked about your time abroad.
- Write in a journal or start/continue a blog. Look for opportunities to submit articles to online magazines or other publications.
- Create playlists, photo albums, scrapbooks, or other items that keep you connected to your experience.
- Submit a Global Tiger Tale to be featured on the study abroad blog.
- Get involved on campus or in the community – join a new student organization or volunteer to share your story at local high schools.
- Check out additional resources:
Last Updated: September 6, 2016