Strategies for Successful Re-Entry

The following list of suggestions and tips was compiled from returned study abroad students and intercultural professionals.

Find ways to demonstrate your new skills and follow your new interests:

  • Explore international career options
  • Seek out a professor with whom to discuss your international experience
  • Become active in international clubs/organizations on campus
  • Conduct research projects that incorporate learning from the study abroad experience
  • Work as an intern or volunteer in an international office on campus
  • Live in an international dorm, house, or community
  • Volunteer to give a presentation at a local elementary/high school or library
  • Share your knowledge/experiences with students interested in studying abroad—best ways to travel, places to go, what to bring, and everything you wished you had known before you went
  • Submit photographs or articles about your experience to local, campus or alumni newsletters
  • Stay up to date on international news and events
  • Continue to explore through international travel or even re-discovering your own city or nearby countryside

Re-connect and share your experiences with family and friends:

  • Put your pictures in a photo album right away and label them; the longer you wait, the more you'll forget where and when pictures were taken
  • Cook a typical dish from your host country and host a dinner party for friends/family
  • Exchange stories with friends who have also been abroad and look at their photos too
  • Share with family and friends feelings you had while living abroad; sharing feelings instead of experiences sounds less like boasting.
  • Briefly summarize one or two significant international experiences to share with people who politely ask
  • Be the learner; ask questions about changes, current events and things you may have missed such as good movies, concerts, sporting events, etc.
  • Research and express interest in what is going on in the community, on campus, and with your extended family

Continue to use and develop your language skills:

  • Tutor students studying your host country language
  • Seek out native speakers of the language and find a conversation partner
  • Join a language club
  • Become a mentor to an international student
  • Continue to formally study the language
  • Volunteer as an interpreter at a local hospital or court house
  • Watch movies/read books in the language of the host country

Maintain your interest in and contact with the host country and culture:

  • Organize an email or address list and keep in frequent contact with the friends you made while abroad
  • Invite international friends to visit you in the U.S.
  • Take a course in international history, anthropology, religion, literature, or art
  • Explore international art/music/literature at museums or the library
  • Write a journal about your significant experiences and re-read it on occasion

Find ways to meet international people or others with international experience:

  • Become a host to an exchange student
  • Join an international club or intercultural group
  • Participate in another international program in a different part of the world
  • Visit local ethnic grocery stores and restaurants
  • Volunteer to teach English as a Second Language

Feature your International Experience on your Resume:

The skills and qualities you acquire as a result of your study abroad experience will benefit you not only interpersonally but also professionally. Many of your newly strengthened or acquired skills can be presented on your resume in the following ways.

SkillsQualities
  • Manage Stress
  • Adapt a new environment
  • Cope with diversity
  • Organize time well
  • Relate to many different people
  • Handle difficult situations
  • Display adaptability
  • Take initiative
  • Communicate despite obstacles
  • Seek alternative solutions to problems
  • Learn quickly
  • Tolerate ambiguity
  • Respect differences
  • Independent
  • Self-sufficient
  • Open-minded
  • Inquisitive
  • Self-Confident
  • Self-aware
  • Assertive
  • Flexible
  • Insightful
  • Good judgment
  • Patient
  • Culturally sensitive
  • Observant