Returning from Abroad

Students who have spent time abroad meeting new people, adapting to new customs, exploring new places, and seeing the world through a new lens return home with many new skills and perspectives. These can enrich your studies, open new career paths, and help you to see who you really are. At the same time, returning to familiar spaces and faces may be challenging. Read on for tips on navigating this new stage of your international experience.

Expand All
  • Challenges

    While people traveling abroad usually expect “culture shock," many are surprised to experience a complicated range of emotions when they return home.

    • It can be boring to return to the routines of home after adventures abroad.
    • People may not want to hear about your experiences as much as you want to talk about them.
    • It may be difficult to explain why your time abroad was so fulfilling (but you know it was!)
    • You may experience “reverse homesickness” for the place you studied and the people you met there.
    • Relationships with family and old friends may feel different than they did before your time abroad.
    • Parents may not recognize how much you have learned about yourself and the world.
    • You may find yourself unfavorably comparing home to places you discovered while abroad.

    When getting used to your study abroad location, you had to be patient and flexible, and needed to make time to think about the changes you were experiencing. If you use the same skills to adjust to being home again, it will help to smooth your transition.

    But if it seems to be taking too much time, or it seems too hard, contact CAPS and ask to meet with someone about adjusting to life after study abroad.

  • Celebrate your experience

    Students returning from study abroad can find plenty of opportunities at UR to realize the benefits of your experiences.

    • Your Return, a self-directed, contemplative walk across campus, encourages you to see UR and its campus in new ways with the exploration skills you developed while abroad.
    • The International Club promotes multicultural understanding, and helps international students transition to UR and the US.
    • Each semester, International Education hosts a welcome back social event for returning study abroad students -- a great way to see old friends and meet others who can relate to your travel experiences. Our office will contact you directly for these opportunitie.
    • Submit your best shots to the Spiders Abroad Photo Contest -- typically accepting submissions in February of each year.
    • Apply to be an Orientation Advisor (OA) for next semester’s incoming international students.
    • Present your research or scholarly projects done abroad at the School of Arts & Sciences Student Symposium.
    • Submit your best work done abroad to the Forum Award for Academic Achievement Abroad for the opportunity to present to one of the major organizations for international educators.
    • Practice your new language skills and earn an extra quarter-unit through a Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum (CLAC) class.
  • Your international future

    People who have just returned from fulfilling and life-changing times abroad often want nothing more than another similar experience! Here are some ideas.