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Indiana University

Making the Transition

Coming home from a semester or year abroad can be as trying as acclimating to a new culture. Don't be shocked if you experience reverse culture shock; it is just another stage in the experience of studying abroad.

Here are some resources and advice to consider:

  • Preparing to Return Home: Quick Tips
    See Dr. Bruce LaBrack's advice on preparing for and handling the re-entry process.
  • Return: Readying to Re-enter, Reinvented
    This essay, published by CIEE in pamphlet form through their Knowledge Series, is an overview of how students can best prepare to return to the U.S., building upon their experiences abroad while also planning for the next phase of life which might include more travel.
Resources at IU and in Bloomington

There are many ways you can build on your study abroad experience and stay internationally involved upon your return. Take advantage of local resources.

Life after graduation

Integrate study abroad into your after-graduation plans such as job searching, applying to graduate schools, or volunteering. Here are some tips on how to document and verbalize your experience.

Staying Involved with Your Host Community

A few ways to keep in touch with the country you left are listed below:

  • Contact the friends you made overseas.
  • Read world newspapers at the library or on line.
  • Watch international newscasts on SCOLA (Channel 3 in Bloomington).
  • Look for foreign films through local outlets (the Ryder film series in Bloomington), rent one at a local video store or get one free at your public library.
  • Find ingredients for foreign dishes at the farmer's market or an international grocery store.
Resources for Future Planning
Going Overseas Again

Chances are likely that you are interested in going overseas again, possibly to work or volunteer abroad. See Alternative Overseas Experiences for more information.

Graduate Work in International Fields

Returned study abroad students are often interested in pursuing graduate work in international education and comparative international education.

Take a Class to Help with the Re-entry Process

COLL-X 311 Study Abroad: When You Return is a 1 credit class taught on the Bloomington campus every fall semester.  This 1st 8-week course provides students returning from a study abroad with practical advice on how their international experiences can be utilized for future educational and professional pursuits.  The class will focus on discussions and exercises that enable students to do two things: 1) process the emotional, experiential, and academic dimensions of the program they participated in; and 2) compile and create an "Overseas Study Portfolio" document that can be used to support ongoing educational and professional pursuits.  The way in which study abroad experiences can be integrated within life at IU will also be explored.

For more information or permission to enroll in the class, please contact Steven Rose or call 812-855-7588.

Re-entry Workshop: "Integrating Study Abroad into your Now... and Later"

Overseas Study hosts a re-entry workshop at the beginning of each semester for students who have recently returned from a study abroad program. The focus of the event is to discuss the "return" to the U.S. and/or IU, discussing common challenges and strategies for successfully reintegrating into the home culture. Opportunities to continue the international experience both NOW (campus/ community/ person) and LATER (careers, graduate schools, volunteer work abroad) will be presented. Students will also receive information about how to sell the study abroad experiences to future employers and graduate schools. All students will be sent an email invitation a few weeks before the workshop. For more information about the workshop, please contact Michael Rini.

It is hard to overstate the influence this travel has had on me, on who I am today. It has shaped my world view, what I find interesting, and what I think about.”

-Dionissi Aliprantis, IU Overseas Study Participant, Greece