Returning to the US
Welcome back from your adventures abroad! We hope you have returned with more than just a new stamp in your passport. We want to help you transition smoothly back to life at Iowa State University and realize the skills you gained during your time abroad. We offer this resource to help you connect your study abroad experience with your next big adventure, whether that be a career or a new international opportunity.
Want to make the most of your experience? Check out these articles from Forbes and CNN:
Forbes article: How Studying Abroad Makes You a Better Leader
You’re back on campus and may have some readjusting to do. Refer to the checklist below to confirm you have taken care of all administrative tasks.
- Complete your post-study abroad evaluation. Your feedback is extremely valuable to ensure the success of our future programs.
- Pick up your host institution transcripts from the Study Abroad Center.
- Set up an appointment with your academic advisor to ensure your classes transfer back as planned and you are registered for the upcoming semester.
- Meet with your college’s Career Services office to update your résumé to include your international experience (more info).
- See Continue Your International Experience for more suggestions.
Many students do not anticipate the “reverse culture shock” that comes with re-entry. Remember how difficult it was to adjust to changes in everyday life when you first arrived in your host country? Well, it will take some time to adjust to life at home, too! You may struggle to effectively communicate your experiences to friends and family members or you may find it difficult to readjust to the structure of classes at Iowa State. Whatever it is, refer to the resources below for tips on how to successfully manage your re-entry phase.
Continue Your International Experience
Don’t let you study abroad experience become a faint memory or a pile of photos stuffed in a shoebox in the back of your closet. Whether you want to practice a new language or reach out to international students, there are plenty of ways you can continue your international experience right here on campus!
- Join the Study Abroad Alumni and Friends organization to meet other students like you and share your stories with someone who can relate
- Volunteer at the Study Abroad Center
- Join a language or culture student organization – the International Student Council is for American students, too
- Take a class in language or culture
- Check out WLC 491: Experiences Abroad: Learning to Think Globally a course for study abroad returnees
- Customize your senior honors project or an independent study course to focus on your experience abroad
- Introduce yourself to an international student in class and make a new friend
- Explore additional study, volunteer, work and internship experiences abroad
- Submit your story and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured in the next issue of the Study Abroad Center newsletter, We're Going Places
- Apply for a Fullbright Grant to continue your international experiences
- You may also apply to become a Peer Advisor in the Study Abroad Center and advise other students as they plan their study abroad experiences.
Marketing Your Study Abroad Experience
Have you considered that the skills you gained as a result of studying abroad can help you become a better employee? Read on for tips to effectively communicate how your study abroad experience has developed career related skills.
Did you know studying abroad and other international experiences provide great opportunities for personal and professional development? To the right you can find a few examples of how you may use the STAR Approach (video) during an interview to highlight experiences from an international experience.
Employers are using behavioral-based questions to find out how you deal with situations that are relevant to the position. They will ask for specific examples to highlight a particular skill. When you give an example, utilize the STAR method – Explain the SITUATION, describe the TASK, explain the ACTION you took to accomplish your objectives, and talk about the RESULT.
When you returned from your study abroad experience, how many times did a friend or family member ask you about it? Now try to remember, how many times did you respond by saying, “It was a great trip, I had a lot of fun.”? It is difficult to sum up an entire semester, or even a few weeks, into a succinct story, but it is important to reflect upon your international experience and be able to communicate the lessons you have learned.
By changing the way you respond to this simple question, you can articulate how much you learned and the skills you gained while abroad. Listen to Danielle give a 60-second elevator speech on what she learned from her time overseas.