Welcome Home, Study Abroad Alumni!
We hope you have just returned from one of the most rewarding experiences of your life! The following is information to help you re-adjust to Pittsburgh, become more involved in the international community here, and also help plan your next adventure abroad! This section of the website is dedicated to our study abroad alumni as a way to help stay connected to study abroad, market your experience, and take care of any practical matters that may still need your attention. To help you readjust to life in the States, the study abroad office has created a Welcome Back Newsletter with tips from prior students as well as information on how to stay connect with the study abroad office. Please also visit the Events page for more information regarding upcoming events for Study Abroad Alumni.
Coming home can be a challenging experience for study abroad participants; feelings of anxiety begin well before the day you actually return to the USA. You will have a second period of adjustment, one which involves many conflicting feelings and will require time and understanding by you, your friends and your family. This last adjustment process, known as "reverse culture shock" or "re-entry shock," is sometimes worse than the original culture shock you experienced when first entering your host culture. Reverse culture shock occurs because upon your return home, you will not be experiencing that wealth of newness and feeling of adventure as you did when you first went abroad.
While preparing to return home, you may be very excited to see your family and friends. At the same time, however, you will probably be upset to leave your new home and friends. You will probably only then realize how close you've grown to your friends and/or host family and culture.
Your return home may also be as uncomfortable for your friends and family as it is for you. Give them time to re-learn you and take the time to re-learn them. You may use words that are unfamiliar, feel insecure away from your surrogate family and friends, feel superior for what you have accomplished and learned, experience a shift in political ideas, have difficulty communicating what you have learned, and experience identity issues as you try to fit back into life at home.
It is very important to remember that all of these feelings are very normal, and it will simply take time to readjust.
For more information on adjusting to life at home and coping with Re-Entry, visit the Study Abroad Alumni .pdf document.