Office of INTERCULTURAL LEARNING

Returned Students

If you have not met with Sue for your post-abroad meeting please email studyabroad@southwestern.edu to make your appointment. Make sure you have completed your Credit Transfer Form!

Study Abroad Fair — September 28, 11:00 - 1:00 — Prothro Center Atrium

Help us get the word out about the fair.  Stop by the fair to see the rep. from your program. 

Intercultural Learning Symposium — November 2, 2010

Share your study abroad experience with a poster display or oral presentation.  Check back on this site for the online event application.

Many students experience the return home as the most difficult piece of the cultural adjustment process. Everything about being abroad was exciting and challenging and everything about being home suddenly seems dull and annoying. Many students experience feelings like this upon returning home.

Here are several good resources to check out.  The first is from the Arcadia web site.  SIT (School for International Training) also has a great tool for returnees.

When You Return

Returnees seminar

The Culture Learning Seminar (INS 38-301) is meant to help students process the experience abroad in the context of the return home, to use your experience in your education back at SU, and to have a voice in how study abroad is integrated on the campus. The seminar also gives you a good chance to get to know fellow returning students and to compare your experience with theirs.

Study abroad provides an opportunity for personal reflection and change. New insights are gained, skills are learned, and world views are shifted. While this process can be very exciting, the “aftermath” (in other words, the return home), is often a difficult experience for students and others returning from a sojourn abroad.

This return is often referred to as “reentry.” Reentry takes many forms. It occurs any time one comes back to a culture that once was familiar, only to experience that culture as somehow incomplete or (in more extreme cases) anxiety-producing. In this class we will discuss the specific example of reentry from a study abroad experience, but we will also explore general notions of cultural transition. We will refer back to cultural adjustment readings used in pre-departure preparations to superimpose them on the reentry process.

The course will also invite you to explore the specific experience of being back at SU. We will engage in an interrogation of the campus community’s response to study abroad returnees. You will be required to engage with the campus, but we will also look at the ways in which the campus climate constructs your reintroduction to life at SU. You will also have the opportunity to help departing students prepare for life in another culture.

Finally, this is meant to be a course which continues the learning process of study abroad. Some of the most interesting revelations of your international experience happen after you return home. The aim of this course is to assist you in continuing to nurture the beliefs and values you developed while abroad.

Returnees gathering

For those unable to participate in the seminar, there will be a gathering at the beginning of each semester to welcome you back, to complete program evaluations, and to hear about your experience.

Program evaluations

It is very important that you complete a program evaluation so that future students can learn from your perceptions. Program evaluations will be available on survey monkey with a link emailed to returning students.

Following up on credit transfer

If you completed the credit transfer form before your departure, you will simply need to verify that your transcript arrives to the Registrar’s office and that all information is complete. If you did not complete the credit transfer form, you will need to do that within three weeks of your return to campus. If you are experiencing difficulties with this process, please contact the Office of Intercultural Learning (IL) immediately, and we will assist you in whatever way possible. Remember that the transfer of credit is ultimately your responsibility, so you need to be in charge of making sure the process moves along. Both IL and the Registrar’s office stand ready to help, but you have to ask for help or we won’t know you need it!

Getting involved back on campus

You will have learned quite a bit while studying abroad, and your new experiences and knowledge can enrich greatly the life of the SU campus community. There will be numerous opportunities for you to share what you’ve learned. Some of these include:

  • International Club—an organization for returned study abroad students, international students, and all others interested in being involved with other students committed to an international/intercultural perspective.
  • Intercultural Symposium —You are able to share your experience through participation in a poster display or oral presentation.  The Symposium is scheduled for November 2, 2010 in the Prothro Center Atrium.  Deadline to submit participation form is October 8.
  • Study Abroad Fair—each spring, returned students sponsor a study abroad fair to give others a chance to hear about study abroad programs in a casual one-on-one setting. The fair is a great chance to talk at length to people who are interested in hearing what you have to say about living in another country.
  • Classroom Visits—Some professors enjoy having returned students speak to their classes. These visits are usually brief and informal (about 5 minutes of general information).
  • Panel Presentations—This forum provides a more formal opportunity to speak to a group about your experience abroad.
  • Writing an article for The Megaphone—Put your writing skills to work by writing about your experiences abroad in the student newspaper
  • You’ll receive information about all these events and others once you return to campus.

Going Abroad Again

Studying abroad

Some students choose to study abroad a second time. While certainly possible, a second study abroad will require that you do some careful planning in order to ensure that you are staying on track for graduation. You will need to come in for another advising appointment and we will go over your degree plan to see where another study abroad experience might fit in.

Working and Volunteering abroad

Many students choose to follow their study abroad experience with working or volunteering abroad. The IL resource room has information on these options or click here.