Returning to Loyola
Re-Entry and Reverse Culture Shock-When you return from your study abroad experience you will be a different person. Your reactions to people and situations at home will be affected by your experience abroad. You will have been exposed to many new ideas, experiences and independence. Remember the adjustments you experienced while abroad? What happens when you return is known as "reverse culture shock." Immediately after your return, you can probably expect to go through an initial stage of euphoria and excitement.
Most people are overwhelmed by the sheer joy of being on their home turf again. But as you try to settle back into your former routine, you may recognize that your abroad experience has changed many of your perceptions and assumptions, old ways of doing things, even what it means to be yourself. This intellectual and personal growth means that you can expect a period of disorientation as you are adjusting to Loyola, not unlike the experience you had when you first went abroad.
Be prepared for people to ask about your experience but not want to hear all you have learned and want to share. Some people ask and just want to hear your response, "Oh it was amazing" and that is it. This is another good reason to get involved with international groups on campus and other study abroad returnees. Your experience does not have to end with your return to the U.S.
How can you prepare for re-entry?
It is helpful to talk about your challenges with former study abroad program participants and to begin to think about ways you can continue to share and develop your international experiences.
Try to stay in touch with friends you made while abroad. Remembering what it was like for you to have been "for a time" a foreigner should inspire you to try to get to know the international students on campus who may themselves be feeling some of the same social disorientation and alienation you once felt.
Loyola has international clubs and events and a growing international community. Joining clubs and meeting international students and scholars is a wonderful way to continue your international growth upon your return to campus.
Initiating contact with international students, with those who have been abroad, and those who are currently abroad is a good way of readjusting and staying in touch with the international scene.
Here are some additional activities and opportunities to continue your new global vision:
- Apply to CIE for a work-study position. Non-work study options may also be available. (Contact CIE.)
- Apply to CIE to be a peer advisor for students interested in studying abroad. (Contact CIE.)
- Become a mentor or “buddy” for a new international student attending Loyola. (Contact CIE about the inBUS “buddy” program.)
- Volunteer to staff your study abroad country table at Loyola’s annual country fair. (Contact CIE or ISA.)
- Volunteer as a past participant with CIE. Represent your program at the Study Abroad Info Table, participate in the annual Study Abroad Fair, or serve on the student panel at the pre-departure orientation for the next group of outgoing study abroad participants.
- Submit your travel photos to the CIE for the annual International Photo Contest.
- Write about your experiences on the Loyola University New Orleans Study Abroad Facebook page (see the “Discussions” tab).
- Work or volunteer as a tutor for the Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP). Contact CIE if interested.
- Submit original writing you did while abroad or reflections on what you learned or on being back to The Maroon, or travel magaines and websites such as Transitions Abroad, Glimpse, Cafe Abroad or Abroad View.
- Enroll in courses at Loyola that build upon your overseas experience.
Have another go! There are many ways of ‘returning’ -- if not to the same country, then to another. Perhaps you are seeking voluteer work or teaching opportunities abroad. Maybe you’re qualified for a graduate fellowship, such as a Fulbright, Marshall or Watson. Or maybe you would like to do graduate or professional school work, earning a degree from a university in another country. For information on study and work opportunities abroad, contact CIE or the Career Development Center.
Adjusting Back to Loyola
Internationalize Your Resume
Internationalize Your Life