Welcome back! Now that you've had such an awesome experience abroad, you are probably looking for ways to use your new knowledge and skills at home. As you return to EIU, think about volunteering with the Office of Study Abroad and getting involved in student organizations. Note: the Office holds a few paid employment opportunities for returning students. We'd love to have your enthusiasm, knowledge, and insight. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We Love Pictures and Writings!
We collect photos and writings for our website, newsletter, and many promotional purposes. If you have any pictures that you would like us to include with your name, please send by e-mail as an attached document.
You should have your transcripts sent to:
Office of Study Abroad
1207 Blair Hall
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920 USA
PLEASE NOTE: Until we receive a transcript from your study abroad program, you will not receive credit. Please allow at least eight weeks after your program has ended before you call our office to ask if your transcript has been received.
Please be advised that foreign countries may have different education systems, including grades and course credit. Example: In Ecuador, when registering you will see that each course is worth 4 credits. Please take note that the 4 credit system is only for internal purposes (Ecuadorian students only) to comply with a new disposition of the National University Council, therefore, you will still have 3 hours per week of class and will receive a transcript with 3 credit courses, except for sports and lab classes that are worth “0” credits.
Coming home can be a challenging experience for study abroad participants; feelings of anxiety begin well before the day you actually return to the USA. It is another adjustment to make which involves many conflicting feelings and which will require time and understanding by you, your friends and your family. This last adjustment process, known as "reverse culture shock" or "re-entry shock," is sometimes worse than the original culture shock you experienced when first entering your host culture. Upon return home you won't be experiencing that wealth of newness and feeling of adventure like you did when you first arrived overseas.
While preparing to return home, you may be very excited to see your family and friends. At the same time, you will probably be upset to leave your new found home and friends. You will probably only then realize how close you've grown to your friends and/or host family. You will realize that life has gone on without you back home, but that it was not nearly as exciting or adventuresome as your time was overseas.
Your return home may also be as uncomfortable for your friends and family as it is for you. Give them time to re-learn you and take the time to re-learn them. After all, you've all changed! You may use words that are unfamiliar, feel insecure away from your surrogate family and friends, feel superior for what you have accomplished and learned, experience a shift in political ideas, have difficulty communicating what you have learned, and experience identity issues as you try to fit back into life at home.
It is very important to remember that all of these feelings are very normal, and it will simply take time to readjust. Have the re-entry blues? The website for Intercultural Press has many re-entry resources you might be interested in as well as other materials. Titles for re-entry include:
- Help I'm Home by Brande Nicole Martin
- The Art of Coming Home by Craig Storti
- Student Abroad: Strangers at Home by Norman L. Kauffmann and Judith N. Martin
If you want to talk to someone about what you are experiencing, feel free to stop by the Office of Study Abroad to chat with others who may have experienced what you are feeling. Also, you may consider speaking with someone at the EIU Counseling Center.
Depending on your interest and schedule, there are many ways to get involved:
- Attending the events that we have for returning study abroad students
- Participating in the Study Abroad Fair
- Participating on panels and in forums
- Conducting independent projects with our office to promote study abroad
- Participating in a study abroad returnee conference (http://www.lessonsfromabroad.org/)