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Coming Home

Coming “home” after an international study/work program can be exciting, and also a little bewildering.  It is important to know that there are people on campus who can relate to this adjustment and who are interested in hearing about your study/work abroad experience.

We at QUIC want you to remember that the experience and insights you have had abroad makes you a wonderful resource on campus.  Your experiences, perspectives gained and knowledge of other places

  • Adds to the internationalization and diversity of our university academic and cultural community
  • Will be really helpful to those students interested in going abroad
  • Could also be an invaluable resource to international students studying at Queen’s

We highly encourage you to build on your international experience and to get involved at Queen’s so that we continue to create a campus that values international perspectives.  Here are some ways that you can do that:

Attend a Workshop for Students Returning from an International Experience

Coming Home/Re-Entry Workshops for students returning from an international experience are held at QUIC in the Fall and Winter term every year.

“Back From Abroad- Now What?”

Come to QUIC and meet other recently-returned students, share your stories from abroad, discuss the challenges to coming back, get advice from a Careers Counselor on future study/work opportunities, think about incorporating your international experience into your academic work, and learn about ways to be involved in all things international at Queen’s.

 

If you are unable to attend a Re-Entry Workshop, please read the following information. You are always welcome to talk to us in person about the challenges and tips written here.

 

What is Re-Entry?

Re-Entry is the adjustment process that you go through when you have returned from an experience abroad and encompasses the difficulties you may face upon re-entering your own culture.   Some people call this reverse culture shock but unlike regular culture shock, it is often unexpected, making it more difficult to re-adjust to your own culture and the routine of your old life. Some people even report feeling like a tourist in their own home.

COMMON CHALLENGES OF RE-ENTRY

§  Boredom

§  No One Wants to Hear/”Snob”

§  You Can’t Explain

§  Reverse “Homesickness”

§  Relationships have Changed

§  Inability to Apply New Knowledge and Skills

§  Feelings of Alienation/Loneliness/Compartmentalization of Experience

§  Loss/Grieving over Experience

§  Being Critical of Home/Contrasting cultures & lifestyles

§  Understanding the value of being away and the value of being here

 

TIPS FOR TRANSITIONING BACK HOME

§  Recognize that this is a major transition. Mentally prepare for the adjustment process

§  Give yourself sufficient time and space to reflect on your experiences

§  Understand that the familiar will seem different

§  Beware of comparisons; try not to put down your home culture while lavishing praise on foreign cultures

§  Don’t focus on how much you miss; think about what’s ahead for you

§  Respond thoughtfully and carefully when asked about your time abroad

§  Seek support networks, connect with other exchange students, get involved

§  Remain flexible.  Balance reconnecting to old networks with cultivating new ones

§  Cultivate sensitivity by showing an interest in what others have been doing while you were away

§  Understand that not everyone will fully understand your abroad experience

§  Share your experiences; act as resources for others

§  Be a tourist at home!

§  Incorporate your experiences abroad into your academic work here

§  Get involved in the Queen’s and Kingston international communities

 

For more information, or to organize a workshop, contact the Education Abroad Program Office.

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