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Getting used to a new culture can be tough, even when it’s your own!

A good deal of time is spent encouraging you to prepare for your study abroad experience and the adjustment to a new culture. It’s important to realize that virtually everyone experiences a readjustment period (or re-entry or reverse culture shock). Sometimes, coming home can be just as or even more unsettling than going abroad. 

Returning to your home culture probably feels much like when you arrived in your host country. You may find that you have changed, and that home might feel “foreign,” or no longer feel familiar and natural.

Emotions you might experience when returning from study abroad may include:

Your Experience is Your Own 

While there are common emotions you may have after returning from abroad, everyone reacts differently to coming home. Realize that these feelings are a normal and on-going part of your cross-cultural experience.

You changed when you were abroad and now you’re in an environment where you can see those changes. Cultural readjustment doesn’t mean you have to return to your pre-study abroad self; it means you’re rebuilding relationships and negotiating this new you with people who remember the old you. 

Strategies for Managing Reentry

Take it from the experts – other study abroad returnees: readjustment takes time. If you’re stuck in a rut, think about these three Ps – Be Patient, Present, and Proactive.

Be Patient

Readjustment can take days, weeks, or even longer. Patience is a study abroad virtue.

Be Present

Starting your home routine may seem boring compared to life overseas, but recognize that everyday moments can be adventures, just as they were abroad!

Be Proactive

Take chances and make a plan. Figure out what you need to do for yourself and do it. Check out the Important Returnee Information section for some inspiration.

If You’re Having a Hard Time Adjusting, Seek Help.

At any time, if you think you might need help dealing with reentry effects (i.e. more intense emotions for a longer period of time), talk to someone. Counseling services are available through Cowell Center.

Signs you may want to consider seeing a professional:

The ups and downs of reentry are to be expected and usually pass in time. Part of your readjustment is taking the time to consider what your study abroad experience means for your future.

Getting Involved

Conveying your study abroad experience to family, friends, and future employers can be a struggle. However, on your end, you can’t talk about it if you haven’t thought about it. It’s important to take time to reflect on the way you want to convey your study abroad experience. This helps maximize the impact so you can pull out the connections you’ve made between countries, cultures, and cross-cultural skills. Knowing what made your experience unique will set a foundation for sharing your stories.

After study abroad, apply your new skillset as you develop personally, academically, and professionally. SCU offers international/intercultural clubs students can get involved with. Remember, if you have a wanderlust itch that you just can’t scratch, you can also always go abroad again!