What is Re-Entry? 

Re-entry can be defined as the unexpected and sometimes difficult experience of re-adjusting to life in one's home culture after living abroad. Some study abroad returnees do not find re-entry to be difficult; however, most returnees experience some degree of stress upon returning home. In fact, for many students the process of re-adapting to home after study abroad is even more difficult than adjusting to the host culture. You have had a wonderful experience that has taught you many things, but the new things that you have learned may not fit into your everyday world. Re-entry is different for everyone, just as your experience abroad was unique and special. 

Things you may experience during this period:

  • Sense that you can’t fully explain your study abroad experience or its importance
  • Realization that others do not want to hear very much about your travels
  • Feeling of being “out of place” or boredom with being home
  • Experiencing “reverse homesickness” for the place where you studied abroad
  • Sensing that relationships with family and friends have changed
  • Viewing your home in a way that is negative or overly critical

Ways to cope with these feelings:

  • Try to use the same adaptation skills that you developed while you were getting used to being abroad to make the transition to being home
  • Just as you did while abroad, try to be patient in dealing with the temporarily unfamiliar culture of “home”
  • Allow yourself time to adjust to being home and reflect on how you can incorporate parts of your study abroad experience to your current lifestyle
  • Seek the company of people who understand you, who may not be the same people who understood you before your life-changing travel experiences

Seek help from Counseling and Psychological Services if you feel that your readjustment is more challenging than you can handle. If you have any other questions about re-entry, do not hesitate to contact your study abroad adviser. 

Want to learn more about re-entry? Here are the top ten re-entry challenges as rated by university students.