Returning Students

Evaluate Your Study Abroad Program

Once you return home, please log in to your My Study Abroad account one last time and complete a short evaluation. This registers your experiences and opinions, and helps future participants.

Going Abroad Again

Many returned students tell us they would like to go abroad again, to study, volunteer or work.  Program Search

Events For Returning Students

A Welcome Reception takes place each semester for recently returning & newly-arrived exchanges students. The winners of the annual Photo Contest will be announced each fall.  Check our calendar page for upcoming events.

Outlets For Creative Travelers

Photo Contest each year for Purdue students who have gone abroad on Purdue-affiliated programs.

Travel Writing from study abroad participants is also accepted & published by study abroad oriented magazines like Transitions Abroad.

The Purdue Exponent sometimes accepts essays and reporting about study abroad experiences during the semester.  The paper also prints a special "Literary Edition" near the end of each semester which would be more likely to accept more reflective pieces, fiction or poetry.

International Living at Purdue

Returning to West Lafayette doesn’t mean saying goodbye to a lifestyle with international and intercultural connections. 

Social & Volunteer Opportunities

Many returned students find it important to build a social circle of people who have had international and intercultural experiences similar to their own.  Here are some suggestions for staying connected to the wider world.

Study Abroad Ambassadors are returned study abroad participants who do classroom talks, meet with new program participants, hang posters and staff information tables (among other tasks) to promote study abroad across the Purdue Campus.  How to be involved?

PASSPORT is the “Purdue Association of Student Study Abroad Participants and Other Recent Travelers."  This group of returned study abroad participants and visiting international students is primarily a social club.  Details?

PISA is the Purdue International Student Alliance.  This is a fun, active, multi-ethnic group.  Details?

The International Students and Scholars office provides numerous opportunities to interact with Purdue students from other countries.  (Remember how much it meant to have friendship and help from local people when YOU were abroad?)  Click here for info on being an Orientation Volunteer for incoming international students, attending the weekly Cultural Perspectives talk, or being a part of the International Friendship program.

Dozens of Purdue Student Organizations have international, ethnic or cultural themes.  Click here to search.

The International Center of West Lafayette, Inc., an independent not-for-profit community organization (not affiliated with Purdue) offers numerous cross-cultural programs organized by international and US residents from the community.  Click here to visit.

The School of Languages & Cultures has weekly tea & coffee hours for speakers of other languages.  Click here for a schedule.

If you studied in Germany and would like to encourage others to do the same, apply to become a DAAD Ambassador for the German Academic Exchange Service.

If you studied in Britain and would like to encourage others to do the same, apply to become a Student Ambassador for the British Council.

The West Lafayette Global Fest celebration (Labor Day weekend) always needs volunteers.

Volunteer to talk about your experience to clubs and groups, including adults and children.  Teachers and civic organizations are always looking for interesting speakers!

Food

Now that you are used to eating formerly “unusual” things (sushi…brie…haggis…vegemite…), try some of the Lafayette-area restaurants that you always used to pass by.  Click here for a list of ethnic restaurants within easy reach.

Film

Some sections of the School Of Languages & Cultures run foreign films each semester.  Click here to check.

Adjusting To Life At “Home”

"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."  - Nelson Mandela

Few people anticipate experiencing culture shock upon returning home, but many students actually find that it is just as challenging to get used to being at home again as it was to get used to living abroad. 

Some students find that they have changed and grown a great deal while abroad, but that home, family and friends have not, and this gap makes it challenging to slip back into old places and old relationships. 

You may find that your old “world” just doesn’t look the same through new eyes.   You should expect a certain amount of this if you have had a full and enriching experience overseas.

Things you may experience during this period of “reverse culture shock”:

  • Impression that you can’t fully explain your experience or its importance
  • Realization that others do not want to hear very much about your adventures
  • Sensation of being “out of place” despite being home
  • Boredom with being home
  • Experiencing “reverse homesickness” for the place where you studied abroad
  • Seeing that relationships with family and friends have changed
  • Feeling that others misunderstand your growth, or see the “wrong” changes in you
  • Assessing your home in a way that is judgmental or overly critical
  • Feeling that your experience abroad is lost or cut off from the rest of your life

If you find yourself experiencing difficulty after coming home:

  • Try to use the same cultural 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, show respect and patience in dealing with the temporarily-unfamiliar culture of “home”
  • Seek the company of people who understand you, who may not be the same people who understood you before your life-enriching travel experiences
  • Maintain connections with “the international life” through the many opportunities available at Purdue (see above)

Seek help from Counseling and Psychological Services if you feel that your readjustment is not going well, or if the rough period lasts longer than a couple of months.

Further Study Abroad

Graduate study.  If you are thinking about graduate school, be sure to ask if the program that you are considering offers the possibility to spend time abroad doing research, taking classes or teaching.  Many graduate programs do not offer study abroad opportunities.  Click here to read about international education opportunities that are open to graduate students at Purdue and other institutions.

The US Student Fulbright Program supports more than 1200 US citizens in all fields of study annually for a year of study, research, teaching experience or professional training in the arts in more than 140 different countries.  The program is meant for recent BA/BS graduates, masters and doctoral candidates, young professionals and artists. Click here for details.

Work, Teach, Volunteer or Intern Abroad

Purdue offers information on all of these options, some available to current students and others to post-graduates.  Check out our Work, Volunteer, or Intern Abroad page for details.