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Re-Entry Experience

Returning from Study Abroad Heading link

Please check back periodically as we make new resources available on this page.  If you are struggling with re-entry please reach out to the UIC Counseling Center for assistance or email to learn more about the re-entry experience.

Returning from an unforgettable experience abroad is complex. You may feel like you just woke up from a strange and wonderful dream, that no one understands you, or that you are ready to jump back on a plane to return abroad (or travel somewhere new).

We know returning to your former life at home after studying abroad can be challenging, but, with some reflection and effort, you can take your experience beyond the days, weeks, or months you physically spent abroad. These resources are designed to help you adjust, reflect, react, grow, and continue getting the most out of your study abroad experience long after your program has ended.


Take some time to reflect on the incredible experience you’ve just come out of. What went well? What didn’t? Did you get everything you wanted out of the experience? What surprised you? Spend some time musing on these questions, and dive deeper with the activities and resources below.

Activity #1: Find a quiet, comfortable space to reflect. Light a candle or play some soothing music. Set a timer for 5 minutes, and, with your eyes closed, complete the following sentence in your head as many ways as possible: “Being back home after an experience abroad is…” If possible, do this with a peer and share some of your completed phrases once the timer is up.

Activity #2: (coming soon)

Activity #3: (coming soon)

Diversity Abroad – Guide to Coming Home and Reentry

NYU – Reentry Reflection Prompts

IES Abroad – Stages of Transition

Cultural Readjustment

Think back to the cycle of cultural adjustment (also known as “culture shock”) that you experienced after arriving in your study abroad host country. How did you interpret and engage with the local culture at the beginning of the experience versus the end? Were you homesick? Now that you’re back “home”, are you sick for the second home you found abroad? What do you notice about your home country and culture now that you weren’t conscious of before? Check out these resources and activities to help you navigate cultural readjustment.

Activity #1: Pair up with a friend, family member, or person from the Study Abroad Office. If possible, find another pair to work with (i.e. two more participants) so you can switch off with different partners. In 30-60 second increments, succinctly describe your experience abroad – think “elevator pitch”. Utilize the following prompts if helpful:

  • What 3 words come to mind when you think about your time abroad?
  • What do you feel people most misunderstand about your time abroad?
  • What skills did you gain as a result of being abroad?

If working in a group, rotate partners every 30-60 seconds.

Once you have completed a rotation with all possible partners, spend some time discussing the following questions as a group:

  • How easy was it to condense your experience into a 30-60 second “elevator pitch”?
  • What did you leave out?
  • Did you accurately characterize the experience or did you modify your explanation to suit the audience?

Activity #2: (coming soon)

Activity #3: (coming soon)


Hofstede’s Cultural Comparison Tool

“Quick Tips” by Dr. Bruce LaBrack

Gilman Scholarship Program: Reverse Culture Shock

Put Your Experience to Work

As a study abroad alum, you are among the less than 10% of US university students who study abroad during their college career. Not only does this make you lucky enough to have seen and done what most students haven’t; you stand out from the crowd when it comes to your post-college career prospects. Here are some resources that you can use to learn how to leverage your study abroad experience in the job market and the workplace.

SAO Career Resources

Study Abroad Resume Example

IIE – Gaining an Employment Edge

UIC Study Abroad Alumni Network LinkedIn Group

Search for jobs, including in the field of International Education, using LinkedIn, Indeed, HigherEdJobs, and the NAFSA Job Registry

Go Abroad Again

So, study abroad changed your life and left you with an unquenchable thirst for travel – awesome! If you’re already itching for your next adventure, here are some resources to help you find ways to make that happen.

Go Abroad Again

UIC Office of External Fellowships

Fellowships and Grants (SIT Reentry Toolkit)