You Studied Abroad. Now What?
Returning from your study abroad experience can be both exciting and confusing. There are probably countless questions running through your head: How do you cope with re-entry? How do you articulate your experience to others? How should you showcase your experience on a resume and to potential employers? Are there opportunities to go back abroad? There are various resources where you can find the answers to these questions, and the Center for International Education can help you get started!
Articulate Your Experience
Avoid clichés like “Spain was amazing!” Be specific:
- What about your experience made it so special?
- How did this experience change you?
- Tell a story about a particularly momentous day or experience.
- Describe how your time abroad has altered your goals and perceptions.
Coping With Re-Entry
Re-entry stress or “reverse culture shock” is a real thing, but you can take an active role in overcoming it.
- Get involved at the Center for International Education, whether it be through volunteering, sharing your experience with others, or planning your next trip abroad
- Reach out to others who understand what you are going through
- Make a memory book
- Write a blog or journal
Make Meaning of Your Abroad Experience
Be sure to feature your abroad experience in various contexts:
- Cover letters
- Graduate School Applications
- Scholarship Applications
Focus on Skills You Gained
Highlight “transferable skills,” skills you gained abroad that are beneficial in various professional settings:
- Cross-cultural communication
- Flexibility and Adaptability
- Budgeting and Planning
- Independence and Teamwork
- Decision-making and Problem-solving
- Foreign Language
Realizing the skills you have gained abroad and capitalizing on these abilities can help you to articulate your study abroad experience to others and impress potential employers. If you caught the “travel bug” and find yourself yearning to go back abroad, researching international fellowships and careers can help you set new goals for yourself.