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Reentry Challenges

Few people anticipate culture shock when they return home, but many students actually find that it is just as challenging to get used to being at home again as it was to get used to living abroad.

Some students find that they have changed and grown a great deal while abroad, but that home, family and friends have not. This gap makes it challenging to slip back into settings, routines and relationships that were once familiar and comfortable. You should expect a certain amount of this if you have had a full and enriching time overseas.

It is important not to ignore the return experience as a facet of study abroad: readjusting to life at home is difficult and what you're feeling is entirely legitimate.

Common reentry experiences

Ways of Coping

If you find yourself experiencing difficulty after coming home:

Reentry Resources

Austin, Clyde. "Cross-Cultural Re-entry: A Book of Readings." Abilene, Texas: Abilene Christian University Press, 1986.

Bruce, A. "Culture Shock at Home: Understanding Your Own Change – The Experience of Return." Transitions Abroad. January/February, 1997, p. 79–80.

Chisholm, Linda A. and Howard A. Berry. 2002. "Understanding the Education—and Through It the Culture—in Education Abroad." New York, NY. The International Partnership for Service-Learning.

Hogan, John T. "Culture-Shock and Reverse-Culture Shock: Implications for Juniors Abroad and Seniors at Home." Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American College Personnel Association (Houston, TX, March 13–16, 1983).

Howell, Leah. "Coming Home: Sustaining the Experiences of Studying Abroad." The Vermont Connection. 1999.

Kauffman, Norman L., Martin, Judith N., and Weaver, Henry D. "Students Abroad: Strangers at Home." Yarmouth, Maine: Intercultural Press, 1992.

Kepets, Dawn. "Back in the USA: Reflecting on Your Study Abroad Experience and Putting it to Work." NAFSA: Association of International Educators, 1995.

Kohls, L. Robert. "Survival Kit for Overseas Living." Yarmouth, Maine: Intercultural Press, 1996.

Martin, Judith N. "Patterns of Communication in Three Types of Reentry Relationships: An Exploratory Study." Western Journal of Speech Communication. v50 n2 Spring 1986, p. 183–99.

Paige, R. Michael, Andrew D. Cohen, Barbara Kappler, Julie C. Chi and James P. Lassegard. Maximizing Study Abroad: A Student's Guide to Strategies for Language and Culture Learning and Use. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota, 2002.

Storti, Craig. 2001. "The Art of Coming Home." Yarmouth, ME. Intercultural Press, Inc.

Woody, Stacey. Programming for Reentry: Issues and Solutions for Study Abroad Returnees. Transitions Abroad. Mar/Apr 1998, p. 107–8.

"Welcome Home Stranger!" article by Alice Wu

"Reverse Culture Shock," article by Bill Hoffa

What's Up With Culture: Online cultural training resource for study abroad

It's Your World: Studyabroad.com's pre-departure handbook for students. Part V covers re-entry.

The Center for Global Education: Reverse Culture Shock

Write About Your Own Experience

Abroad View

Glimpse: Your Stories From Abroad