University of California, Riverside

UCR Study Abroad - UCR Summer Abroad Program

UCR Faculty-Led Education Abroad Program Returning Students

The Art of Returning

When you return from studying or working abroad, you may be surprised to experience reverse culture shock. Just as you had a hard time adapting to your host country, you’ll have to get used to things in the U.S. Perhaps you left some new favorite places and hobbies behind. Maybe you fell in love with someone from your host country. Or perhaps you grew to enjoy your independence and the space you had to change in profound ways. Here are some tips to help you get with “re-entry”—adapting to the realities of home—once you return.

Be patient

As you were when you first got to your host country, be patient as you readapt at home. Realize you may feel disengaged from your friends at home. Remember that a lot changed for you while you were abroad. A lot may have changed for your friends at home, too. Most important, remember that you are not alone! Difficulty with re-entry happens to many students who return from studying or working abroad. In fact, this phase may be more challenging than the culture shock of moving to the host country.

Manage your expectations

Because you may miss your host country, you’ll be tempted to talk about your experiences with your friends and family members. Don’t take it personally if they are not as excited to hear about your experiences or don’t care. Remember that what you experienced abroad is truly your own and will have a tremendous impact on the rest of your life.

Talk to someone

If re-entry is too difficult to go through alone, talk to a counselor who can help you through whatever you’re feeling, whether it’s irritability, frustration or sadness.

Seek like-minded individuals

At home, look for ways you can enjoy the culture of your host country. Look for local groups who also have an affinity for your host country and have lived there themselves. You may even make new friends!

The Art of Sharing

You have received the gift of a cross-cultural experience! Now it’s time to pay it forward, sharing your new knowledge and experience and helping others to have cross-cultural learning experiences of their own.

Follow-on service projects

This is a requirement for everyone who received a scholarship, but everyone can participate. Look here for ideas for projects.

Volunteer with the International Affairs Office

Volunteer with the International Affairs Office.  There are students coming to UCR who may be experiencing excitement, fears, questions, and culture shock, perhaps some of the same things you just experienced. This is a great chance to continue learning about different cultures and make friends from all over the world. Apply to help with intercultural programming or become a peer advisor!

Volunteer with the Education Abroad Office

We are looking for returning students to help with information sessions, tabling at events like WorldFest, visiting classes, and promoting the programs through print and social media. Email to volunteer.

Talk with friends, family, and other students

You will inspire others who may never have considered studying abroad when you tell them about your experience. Look for ways to talk with high school classes, invite people over for dinner, or write an article for a local newsletter, blog, or paper.  

Blog: Coming Home

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Contact Information

Education Abroad
0321 Surge Building

Tel: (951) 827-4113