Returning from Abroad

Welcome back! You may be feeling overwhelmed with all of the activity surrounding your return: catching up with family and friends; moving into a new place; returning for the next semester at WMU; or starting a new job. All of the changes may make it hard for you to pick up where you left off.

The resources below will give you insight into how to return to your life in the United States and at WMU. Study abroad staff members also know what it is like to return home after living abroad, so please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with your study abroad specialist if you would like to discuss your re-entry. We’d love to hear from you!

Re-Entry Resources

Many study abroad alumni find it helpful to reflect upon their experiences as they readjust to life at home and on campus.  Below are workshops, websites and publications we recommend for comprehensive, helpful re-entry information:

  • WMU Re-Entry Workshops: WMU Study Abroad hosts several re-entry workshops for students.
  • Study abroad transcripts
  • Center for Global Education’s AllAbroad—Refer to the section “Planning-Readjusting to Home” for re-entry information. 
  • Global Scholar—Online learning for study abroad. Developed by the Center for Education Abroad, this site offers a series of courses specifically designed to support students through the study abroad process—before you leave, while you're abroad and once you return.          
  • It's Your World—'s pre-departure handbook for students. Refer to Part V for re-entry information.
  • What's Up With Culture—Online cultural training resource for study abroad. Refer to Module 2: “Welcome Back! Now What?”
  • Useful Books & Articles:
    —Austin, Clyde. "Cross-Cultural Re-entry: A Book of Readings." Abilene, Texas: Abilene Christian University Press, 1986.
    —Hess, J. Daniel. "Studying Abroad/Learning Abroad: An Abridged Edition of the Whole World Guide to Culture Learning." Yarmouth, Maine: Intercultural Press, 1997.
    —Kauffman, Norman L., Martin, Judith N., and Weaver, Henry D. "Students Abroad: Strangers at Home." Yarmouth, Maine: Intercultural Press, 1992.
    —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.
    —Raschio, R.A. "College Students' Perceptions of Reverse Culture Shock and Reentry Adjustments." Journal of College Student Development. 1987, p. 156-162.
    —Storti, Craig. The Art of Crossing Cultures." Yarmouth, Maine: Intercultural Press, 1990.
    —Storti, Craig. "The Art of Coming Home. Yarmouth, Maine: Intercultural Press, 1997.
    —Summerfield, Ellen. "Survival Kit for Multicultural Living." Yarmouth, Maine: Intercultural Press, 1997.
    —Uchara, A. "The Nature of American Student Reentry Adjustment and Perception of the Sojourn Experience." International Journal of Intercultural Relations. 1986, p. 415-438.


Your flight home doesn’t have to be the end of your involvement with WMU Study Abroad!  Volunteering with our office provides the opportunity for you to help encourage others to study abroad, to practice articulating what you have learned through your study abroad, and gain volunteer hours.  Volunteer activities can include: classroom presentations, information sessions, Bronco Bash and the Study Abroad promotional events. 

Tell everyone!  There is nothing more powerful than encouraging people in your life to study abroad through your own experiences.  Talk about study abroad with your professors, friends, and family!  The more others learn about your experience, the more they start to envision it as a possibility for themselves.

Share your story. Let us know if we can feature you on our blog or social media. Email if you are interested!

Volunteer: Study abroad alumni are encouraged to stay involved by volunteering for study abroad outreach events, such as classroom presentations, information sessions, Bronco Bash and Study Abroad promotional events. Watch your email for opportunities from us via email to connect and be involved!

Connect with students considering study abroad. Prospective students enjoy having someone to talk to about the way things really are abroad. Watch your email for opportunities from us via email to connect and be involved!

Become a conversation partner. Western Michigan University's Career English Language Center for International Students office has established the Conversation Circle program to help international students learning English as a second language advance their language skills, better understand the American college experience, and make connections with WMU students.

Share Your Story

Let us know if we can feature you on our blog or social media. Email if you are interested! Check out other study abroad student stories