Step 5: Re-Entry
Welcome back! Now that you have had a successful adventure abroad, you may be wondering how you can get involved on campus, or you just might be suffering from reverse culture shock. You can find out about all of these things here. Click on the items below to find great information about how to keep your international experience going.
Whether you are returning after a summer, semester, or year abroad, you are undoubtedly experiencing some differences in yourself, your family and friends, your surroundings, and at the University of Idaho (or other home institution). Life at home has moved on while you were away, and you have moved on (perhaps at a faster pace than life here). All of this “moving on” can result in your feeling a little disjointed, or out of place at home. This is probably a new feeling for you, but rest assured it is normal, and it is called "re-entry" or "reverse culture shock." Some students feel that reverse culture shock is harder for them to deal with than the culture shock they experienced when they first went abroad, while others may not feel the effects of reverse culture shock at all, or perhaps they just don't recognize the "symptoms."
“Welcome back! We missed you!” These might be the only things that sound familiar to you as you re-enter the culture and environment that you knew as “home.” Readjusting to your surroundings may be more stressful than you realized. Here are some hints to make that transition easier.
- Remember the transition to your host culture. You may encounter similar experiences returning to the United States. The stages of re-entry include: initial euphoria, irritability or hostility, gradual adjustment, and adaptation.
- Remember that most students experience some stress readjusting to United States culture.Typically, the more you immersed yourself in the host culture, the more difficult you may find re-entry. Find someone who can update you on the university, local, and national changes that might have taken place while you were away.
- You may recognize that many of your values and beliefs have changed. Learn to incorporate new and meaningful values and beliefs into your life.
- Understand that your friendships and relationships might change as a function of your new experiences. Explore new places and people with whom you can share your international experiences.
- Recognize that you may need some time to adjust to the hectic pace and pressures of university life. Learn to gradually increase the pace of your academic studies and extracurricular activities. You may notice that the “old ways” of managing your time and stress are no longer appropriate. Seek counsel from academic advisors, “veteran” study abroad students, and other supportive faculty and staff.
- Accept the reality that re-entry is a time of transition! Learn ways to take care of yourself and ease into your surroundings.
- Check out the links on the left of this page, which include opportunities to mentor students thinking about study abroad, ways to get involved on campus, how to get a job in international education, and more.
Often the first question we hear when students arrive back in the States is, "When will my transcript arrive?" The answer depends on a number of factors.
First, students must make sure they have submitted all their coursework, taken all their exams, and paid all outstanding balances before the transcript will be released.
Second, students must realize that some institutions - particularly those in the southern hemisphere - follow academic calendars that make immediate issuance of transcripts difficult. The UI Study Abroad Office does its best to follow-up on any transcripts that are unusually late in arrival.
The host institution or program provider should send your transcript or grade sheet directly to the UI Study Abroad Office. Once the UI Study Abroad Office receives the transcript, staff make a copy of it for your file and send the original to the UI Registrar's Office so that the credits can be recorded on your UI transcript.
Financial Aid Suspension
Federal law requires UI to verify that financial aid recipients were enrolled full-time and received passing grades while overseas. You will receive a financial aid suspension letter if UI does not receive a transcript from the institution you attended by June 1 showing you were a full-time student and passed your courses. Students particularly affected are those who will be abroad during the spring semester, as there is little turn-around time between the end of their program and the June 1st deadline. If you receive a financial aid suspension letter, please contact us. We work with the Financial Aid Office and the academic colleges to request that student aid is reinstated until your study abroad transcript has arrived.
Special Note for Graduating Seniors
Students planning on graduating right after finishing their study abroad program should arrange and pay to have their overseas program coordinators send transcripts of their completed coursework by express mail. This should speed up the transfer of credits for graduation.
To speed the transfer of your credit (if you are on a Partner Institution program), non-UI students should request that a separate transcript from the host institution be sent directly to the home university.
Non-UI students will also receive one free official University of Idaho transcript. Prior to departure, non-UI students should have completed a Transcript Request Form (one of the Mandatory Study Abroad Post-Application Forms). As soon as your overseas records are received at the University of Idaho, the UI transcript will be sent. Please contact the UI Study Abroad Office if you have any questions about this.
Students who have just returned from abroad have the wonderful opportunity of mentoring an incoming international student. This is an excellent way to stay connected to the international world and to reach out to a new student who is trying to adjust not only to a new campus but to a new culture... not unlike yourself when you first arrived overseas.
If you had a "buddy" show you around when you arrived at your host institution you know how helpful it can be, or if you didn't then you might understand what it was like to wish you did have someone to connect with. This can also be an excellent way to keep up on your language skills, if you studied abroad in a foreign language environment.
There are two ways you can mentor an international student:
- IPO Link Program - Apply to become a “Link” for new international students – The IPO Link program brings a past study abroad student or international student who has been on campus for some time, together with new international students. Links are trained to help their mentee adjust to life at the UI and the U.S. If you’re interested in becoming a link contact email@example.com.
- ALCP Conversation Partner Program - The American Language and Culture Program (ALCP) at the University of Idaho is a program designed to teach new international students the English language and the American culture.
- Who: You, the volunteer, and one international student.
- What: Your conversation partner will be studying English all morning. When you meet you will primarily give them the opportunity to practice their English, but there may be some trade-off allowing you to practice their native language for your benefit as well. (Note: The ALCP program is primarily comprised of students from Asian cultures, and there are limited Spanish, French, and German speakers - if you are interested in students from a particular country you may request this on the registration form).
- When: Two times per week for a total of one hour per meeting is recommended. You and your conversation partner will decide when you will meet.
- Where: You and your conversation partner can choose where you wish to meet, but we ask that it be a public place such as the library lounge, a coffee shop, etc.
- How: Sign up online.
- Any Questions? Ask the ALCP staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Non-UI Students: Non-UI students are encouraged to look into similar opportunities on their home campus.
Students who have just returned from abroad have different opportunities to share their experiences abroad with other students who are thinking about studying abroad. This is an excellent outlet for you to express your thoughts and feelings about your own exchange, to share your stories, and to pass along the knowledge you have learned. Remember you are the expert now, and interested students value the tips and hints that you can pass along to them.
Past Participant Contact List
One of the best ways for you to share your advice is to volunteer your name and contact information for our "Past Participant Contacts" list. Your name, program and country of study, and e-mail address will be placed on our website so that interested students can ask you questions about what it is like, where you were able to travel, what you recommend bringing or not bringing, how the classes were, what the housing was like, and more. Most past participants report that there is little time commitment involved and that getting the e-mails from interested students, and then passing along their great advice, makes them feel great. If you are interested in this option, simply send an e-mailto the UI Study Abroad Office and indicate the following:
- Program and country of study (for example, USAC-Spain)
- Term you studied abroad
- Email address
If you ever decide you do not want to be listed in the Past Participant section anymore, simply contact the UI Study Abroad Office and ask them to remove your name.
Intern with the Study Abroad Office
Each year the Study Abroad Office hires various interns to provide, Study Abroad First-Time Information Sessions, peer-advise students thinking about studying abroad, promote study abroad at campus events and in classrooms, and work on other projects to get the word out about studying abroad. Some of the internships are paid and some are not. Some students have been able to arrange credit for the internship.
2016-17 Internships Available
USAC Program Ambassador
10/hour, 8-12 hours/week, Academic-Year position
1 position available
Deadline to apply for 2016-2017: TBA
The primary objective of the USAC Ambassador is to increase on-campus expertise and knowledge of USAC programs and to assist the UI Study Abroad Office in increasing support to students through pre-departure and re-entry programming. The USAC Ambassador will assist with student and staff support and will collaborate with IPO staff, student workers, interns, student ambassadors and volunteers. This position reports to the Study Abroad Outreach Coordinator in the International Programs Office.
- Student of the University of Idaho
- Alumnus of USAC Program, Specialty preferred
- Minimum 3.0 GPA
- Excellent computer skills (Microsoft Office, data entry, etc.)
- Skilled using a range of social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Experience in organizing programs, activities, or events
- Experience leading others
- Strong presentation skills
- Intercultural competencies; experience working with people from diverse cultural backgrounds with varying degrees of English ability
- Patient, creative, and diplomatic
- Ability to attend to details
- Demonstrate strong interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills
- Willingness to serve as a positive representative of USAC and the University of Idaho Study Abroad Office
- Availability and commitment to stay on the job for one academic year
- Experience with public speaking both in and outside of the classroom to both small and large audiences
- Ability to work day, evening and some weekend hours
Study Abroad Ambassador
Non-paid, 4-8 hours/week, Academic Year or Semester positions available
Students may arrange internship credits with the approval of their academic department
Numerous positions available
Goals of the Program
To provide students the opportunity to gain practical experience in the field of international education by:
- Presenting First-time Information Sessions, developing and conducting outreach events,
- Being listed as members of the staff and as Study Abroad Ambassadors on the Vandals Abroad website
- Attending events on campus including Study Abroad Fairs, Pre-Departure Orientations, Envision Idaho, Vandal Fridays, and activities with the international student community, etc.
- Incorporating this experience in the IPO and study abroad reflections into resume and job search preparations including cover letters and job interviews
To further reflect upon and articulate the value of an international education:
- Share with students how you selected your program and how you made the most of your time abroad
- Presenting your experience to various audiences on the UI campus and throughout the community
- Contributing to the development of the UI study abroad offices social media resources by writing short reflective articles and interviewing your peers and other related constituents to enhance the presence of study abroad online.
- Experience studying/working/living overseas
- Interest in study abroad and international cultures
- Public speaking experience
- Social Media management experience
- Ability to work day, evening, and possible weekend hours
- Demonstrate strong interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills
- In Academic Good Standing (Maintain a 2.5 GPA minimum)
- UI Study Abroad experience
- Event planning experience
- Availability and commitment to stay in position for full year
- Advanced skills in Microsoft Office Suite
If you have questions about these opportunities, please contact Jean Wenner: email@example.com / 208-885-4075.
Now that you’re back, and beginning to get into the day-to-day happenings on campus, you want to make use of what you learned as a study abroad student. There are a number of ways to do that on the UI campus:
ASUI Student Organizations
There are many ASUI student organizations that have an international or multicultural focus. You can get involved in almost any of them. Click on the ASUI Student Organizations link to the left to look at lists of organizations that might interest you.
International Programs Student Activities
Past Study Abroad students can be involved in most any student activity being organized by the International Programs Office. These activities give you the chance to meet and get to know international students from around the globe. To find out about these activities, sign-up for the International Student Newsletter by firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Programs Cultural Sharing Programs
The International Programs Office offers a variety of programs to help internationalize the UI campus and communities in Idaho. You can get involved in some of the programs as well.
International Programs Sponsored Events
The International Programs Office sponsors various international-themed events throughout the academic year. Check out the website by clicking on the link to the left to find out about upcoming events.
The Study Abroad Fair
Bi-annually at the beginning of September and the end of January, the Study Abroad Office hosts a number of Study Abroad program representatives for recruitment of students. Returned study abroad students are invited to work in shifts at the table in order to answer questions and give information about the various programs and universities where they studied, or just to help with the set-up or take down of the fair. If you would be interested in doing this, please contact the Study Abroad Office at (208) 885-7870 early in the fall/spring semester.
UI Martin Institute Events
The UI Martin Institute for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution offers various international events throughout the academic year. Students can attend the Martin Forums various times throughout the year. A very special event is the Borah Symposium. This is a three-day event each spring focusing on “the causes of war and the conditions necessary for peace in an international context” looked at each year through a different theme pondered by various experts within that theme.
Model United Nations
The Martin Institute organizes students from the UI and WSU to participate in a Model U.N. conference. Students interested in this program must register for the appropriate credits for the Fall. Enrollment is limited. Students will learn about the structure and organization of the U.N. In the spring, a group will be selected to travel to New York and participate in a Model U.N. conference. For more information, please contact the Martin Institute.
Global Languages United
This club was created to focus on learning languages outside of the classroom and to create international connections. The club meets regularly and is an active participant in international activities, and club creators hope to also plan an international service trip. Languages available: English, German, Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and many more to come. For more information, call IPO at (208) 885-8984.
Non-UI students should look into similar opportunities at their home university.