For Returning Students
Welcome Home, Bulldogs!
Congratulations on completing your study abroad program. We hope you had a meaningful study abroad experience and look forward to welcoming you back to Fresno State!
A check-in with our office after you have studied abroad is mandatory. This is a group meeting with other returnee students to reflect together on their study abroad experience and an opportunity to build connections with other Fresno State students that have had similar experiences.
The second part of your Welcome Back Check-In is to complete the Study Abroad Program Evaluation form. Your study abroad coordinator will email you the evaluation form once you return. This helps us have a better understanding of your study abroad experience and better serve other students based on your experience. The survey will help you reflect on your experiences and allow you to add your best pictures and videos from abroad!
You must complete both the Welcome Back Check-In and the Study Abroad Program Evaluation form.
As part of receiving a scholarship or grant, you will be required to participate in Study Abroad events and activities upon your return, including but not limited to:
- Writing a brief thank you letter to the donor who has funded your award and submit it through your study abroad account
- Participating in the Study Abroad Fair with the Study Abroad Office
- Completing a post-travel survey and share pictures of your experience with the Study Abroad Office
- Attending an award reception where you will have an opportunity to thank the donor in person and say a few words about your study abroad experience
Returning home after living abroad can be challenging, despite reconnecting with your loved ones and jumping back into old routines. The re-entry culture shock may be even more “shocking” than the culture shock you experienced when you first arrived in your host country. Much like when you left your home to go abroad, you must also give yourself some time to re-adjust back into your life here in Fresno. Remember, this is a common experience for most students, so allow yourself some time to reflect on your experiences positively- from traveling abroad to returning home. Students experience re-entry challenges to various degrees and at various stages upon their return from their time abroad. This information will help you ease your way back into your home community:
- Boredom and Restlessness: After an exciting and stimulating time abroad, returning to family, friends, and old routines can seem dull. It is natural to miss the excitement and challenges which characterize the study abroad experience. Challenge yourself academically and socially, and gradually strike a balance between your life at Fresno State and your international interests.
- Reverse Homesickness: Home is supposed to be familiar and comfortable. However, after spending a substantial amount of time in another country, coming home may not be as easy as you thought it might be. It is natural to miss the people, places, attitudes or lifestyles that you grew accustomed to in your host country. Try to alleviate these feelings of loss by keeping in contact with people you have met abroad and keeping your international interests alive at Fresno State
- No One Wants to Hear You: Your family and friends may not be interested in hearing about all of your adventures and observations abroad. Remember that they are not rejecting you or your achievements. You just need to be realistic in your expectations of how fascinating your journey is going to be for everyone, and remember that they may not be able to relate to your experiences.
- Relationships May Have Changed: After a long period of separation, people often need to renegotiate relationships and adjust to being together again. Just as you have altered some of your ideas and attitudes while abroad, the people at home are likely to have experienced some changes, too. Flexibility and openness are important qualities in successfully developing "new" relationships with relatives and old friends.
- Identity Issues: Some students feel unsure of how to integrate their "old" and "new" selves. Feeling frustrated about the lack of opportunities to apply recently acquired social, linguistic and practical coping skills is also common. Be creative, be patient and above all use intercultural adjustment skills to assist in your own re-entry.
- Compartmentalization of Experience: Returnees often worry that they will "lose" their international experiences. Memories and experiences are not souvenir objects that you take out occasionally and look at. Keep your study abroad experience alive by maintaining contacts with friends and host families abroad, talking to people who have experiences similar to yours, pursuing the interests and using the skills you developed when you were abroad.
Adapted by Aleks Nesic, from "Welcome Home: Managing Reentry or Reverse Culture Shock" by Alice Wu and "The Top Ten Immediate Re-entry Challenges," by Dr. Bruce LaBrack.