Castleton University

Kathleen Mason: Randolph Center, VT 05061
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Coming Back From Study Abroad

Dear Returning Students:

          Coming back from a study abroad experience can be an emotionally difficult time for many people.  You are leaving new friends, coming back to old friends, leaving a place that has all the emotional connections of home, and coming back to a place that might not feel like the home you left.  It is both exciting and sad to come back from any study abroad experience, no matter the length of your stay, or how much you may have missed being home.  No one will be able to understand all of those complicated feelings as intuitively as your fellow travelers and adventure seekers.  You are now inducted into a very special group of people, who the travel novelist and philosopher Pico Iyer lovingly refers to as a Global Soul.  Iyer defines Global Souls as “full time citizens of nowhere, living in the cracks between cultures”, but perhaps we should think of the Global Soul as a full time citizen of everywhere.  We are not only living in a world that we can move around with great ease, but a world that is moving around us with even greater ease.  Your privilege of studying abroad allows you to navigate this world using the proper compass, and if used wisely, you will always be able to draw on your experiences to solve many of life’s problems.

          From the moment you packed your bags and waved goodbye to your family and friend, you began building skills.  This is like building muscles: the more you travel and the more of the world you experience, the more these skills develop.  Travel, reflection, and awareness are the building blocks of developing newer, better, and more useful skill muscles.  Now that you are back home, it is important that you begin to put your experiences abroad into the context of everyday life.

          What does it all mean?  Where do I go next? How do I make the most of my time abroad?  Understanding and truly captivating everything that you have learned is a lifelong process.  It will require additional work, as you start to look back at your experiences and apply it to TODAY.

Consider this quote from travel writer Mark Jenkins:

“Adventure is a path. Real adventure — self-determined, self-motivated, often risky — forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world.  The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it.  Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness.  In this way, you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind — and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both.  This will change you.  Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.”

With best wishes for your future,

Castleton University Study Abroad Program

Are you Missing your Host Country? 

Here are our Top 10 Study Abroad Re-entry Solutions: 
  1. Come visit the Study Abroad office. We are travel people, too. We want to see your photos, hear your tales and talk with you about your travels.
  2. Join the International Club.
  3. Create a Study Abroad Club or look into the various student clubs and organizations available at Castleton. Learn about the various activities they sponsor. Get involved in working toward making CU more culturally and socially diverse!
  4. Write for The Spartan newspaper.
  5. Befriend a newly arrived international student. You might remember how difficult it was when you first arrived in your host-country and how nice it would have been to have a ‘friend’ available to help. Ask us for details and a partner.
  6. Volunteer at any of the Study Abroad Events our office sponsors. We are constantly looking for energetic people to assist at the various events each semester. For example, join us at the Study Abroad Fair in fall.
  7. Blog about your re-entry process.
  8. Share your email address with students interested in studying on the same program or in the same country as you. Interested students love to email questions and hear first hand about overseas experiences. Your emails will be treasured!
  9. Make a scrapbook of your travels. Include your memories along side the photos and souvenirs. You will treasure the scrapbook for years to come!
  10. Study Abroad Again!!!

Additional Resources:

  • CLICK HERE for the Study Abroad Re-Entry powerpoint
  • The Wellness Center- Sometimes coming back from studying abroad can difficult.  If you are having difficulty, please let The Wellness Center or your Study Abroad Coordinator know.

Castleton University Study Abroad Office