Reverse Culture Shock
Returning from your study abroad experience can be a challenging and difficult time. It is a time of readjustment that often times can be just as hard as your arrival in your host country, and many students will experience reverse culture shock. Reverse culture shock is not unilateral, and includes the many emotions associated with your re-entry: joy in seeing your family, friends and familiar places, sadness in missing the country you called home and the experiences that came with it, and stress in not knowing how to "properly" readjust.
Readjusting to your return to the United States can take time, and students must remember to reflect upon their experience. Tell your story to friends and family. Connect with the friends you made while abroad. In short, take the necessary steps to allow yourself to experience your re-entry while keeping your time abroad alive.
Students returning to the United States during the Spring 2020 semester are experiencing a different re-entry process than those who have the opportunity to complete their full semester abroad. This adjustment is, unfortunately, harder than what their fellow classmates may have experienced...and yet, should not be dismissed. Not only have students returned two or three months early, but the re-entry itself includes isolation at home away from familiar faces and places. Reverse culture shock is surely a part of this process, but how does it differ?
The Office of International Education, in collaboration with the Counseling Center and Spiritual Life has created a returnee presentation that addresses the re-entry process at this unprecedented time. Our goal is to assist students in recognizing the difficulties and stressors that may come with their readjustment, while at the same time ensuring that students reflect on the positive experience they had while abroad. We aim to highlight a sense of gratitude that comes with the shortened time abroad, question how feelings/reactions have changed from the time of learning the program was ending to now, and offer suggestions on how students can remain engaged while at home.
We invite students and their families to view the presentation, initially delivered through Zoom with returnee students, and hope it provides a way to normalize the experience our students had and are continuing to have. We also encourage students and families to reach out to us for support, or with any questions. Contact details can be found below.
Study Abroad Returnee Session
Warren Jaferian, Dean, International Education
Alicia Vinal, Study Abroad Advisor, International Education
Reverend Dr. Gail Cantor, Director of Spiritual Life
Cheryl Etu, Counselor, Counseling Center