As difficult as it is to adapt to an entirely new culture, it can be just as challenging to come back home after being away for any period of time. It is best to know what you might encounter in order to prepare for this adjustment period.
Expect to experience some measure of reverse culture shock. Reverse or re-entry shock can be defined as the unexpected confrontation with the familiar (R. Michael Paige). Remember that the world at home hasn’t stopped while you were gone. Upon your return home, you may find you aren’t the only one who has changed during your absence. Everyone and everything else will have changed too! Remember to take time to readjust slowly.
You’ll notice that you may think differently about the United States. You’ll spend time reflecting on the differences between the U.S. and your former host country, just as you did when you left. Friends and family may be interested in stories or photos for a while, but “really don’t understand.” It may be difficult to express your feelings in words. Remember that many people may have difficulty relating to what you are saying because it hasn’t been part of their experience.
Avoid experiencing anxiety about getting a job when you return home. Your study abroad experience can open employment doors for you, so be creative while abroad, ask for interviews by e-mail and promote the self-reliance and maturity you have gained through your experience. When you return, check the OSA Web site for when the “Unpacking your Study Abroad Experience” workshops are held. These workshops, sponsored by OSA and Career Services and Placement, help guide you on how to use your international experience as a résumé booster.