Welcoming your child home from studying or interning abroad is an exciting time, but there are a few items to consider as they are making the adjustment to life back in the U.S. What are some things to expect?
New style: Students may adopt a popular style as a way of fitting in while they are abroad. This may help students hold on to the international experience as long as possible. It could reflect a new "international" identity, or they may just like their new look!
Passion for talking about the host country and new experiences. A common complaint among study abroad returnees is that people ask them, "So, how was your study abroad experience?" and then expects an answer in 10 words or less. Please take the time to listen! Expect comments to be forthcoming for a period of time as this experience is often life changing for many students.
Reverse Culture Shock: In addition to culture shock being present at the beginning of the semester abroad, most students also experience "reverse culture shock" upon returning home. After spending a significant amount of time with increased independence and new experiences, it can be difficult to readjust to returning home. Students often want to share their experiences with family and friends. While it can be hard for families to relate to these experiences, it is also important for family members to be involved in the process of re-entry. Some suggestions are offered by World Learning's SIT Study Abroad programs in their Readjustment Manual for Parents.
As your son or daughter returns to life back at Stonehill, there are several resources for them to ease the transition. There are also additional international experiences to consider for after graduation: Returning from Abroad, Information on International Work.