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Returned Students

Welcome home! Some find returning from an education abroad program the most challenging part of their journey. The following are resources that may help you process re-entry and reflect on your experiences.     


Navigating Re-Entry and Re-Entry Shock

Navigating Re-Entry and Re-Entry Shock

When you arrived in your host country, you probably experienced culture shock, which is the expected confrontation with the unfamiliar 1. Environments that are foreign to us bring new challenges that we adapt to over time. This process of readjustment can either be obvious to us or so subtle that we don’t realize how much we are changing.

Returning home from a study abroad program is often more difficult than we anticipate. Some may experience reverse culture shock or re-entry shock, which is the unexpected confrontation with the familiar 1. What was once familiar may feel completely unfamiliar to you right now and it is important to recognize that you are not alone!

The following resources were compiled with re-entry shock in mind and will provide you opportunities to read other students' stories, engage in reflection, and navigate change. It is important to note that taking time to process your journey will prevent you from shoe boxing or putting away your memories, connections, and personal growth from life abroad.


Paige, R. M. (2002). Maximizing study abroad: A students' guide to strategies for language and culture learning and use. Minneapolis, MN: Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, University of Minnesota.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Mental Health and Wellbeing

As fellow sojourners, the team at Education Abroad recognizes how difficult returning home can be, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we are not able to advise you on specific mental health concerns, you can explore the following resources to get additional support.

  • MSU Counseling & Psychiatric Services has services for students studying remotely including after-hours crisis counseling, referral assistance, and other resources that may help you assess what you want and need from mental healthcare. 
  • Center for Survivors at MSU, formerly the MSU Sexual Assault Program, provides free and confidential services to survivors of sexual assault and relationship violence. 
  • The Trevor Project is a national resource that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25 years old. 
  • Trans Lifeline is a national transgender-led organization that connects trans people to the community, support, and resources. 
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a national resource that provides resources to persons in crisis.

Your Career and Education Abroad

Your Career and Education Abroad

Many students return to campus with new interests and a greater sense of direction academically and professionally. Some may explore additional international opportunities and degrees. If this applies to you, check out the ISP list of Global Majors and Minors and connect with your academic adviser to discuss your interests.

If you're pursuing professional opportunities, consider the ways education abroad can open doors for you. Employers seek job candidates with skills that you have developed during your time abroad including cultural awareness, adaptability, problem solving, independence and leadership to name a few. Our office has teamed up with MSU Career Services to provide the following resources regarding your career and education abroad. Their staff have tips for how to incorporate your study abroad experience on your resume, how to talk to employers, and much more. We encourage you to schedule a career advising appointment to get personalized feedback on your professional portfolio.

Incorporating EA on Your Resume

Incorporating EA on Your Resume

Your resume is about you and about highlighting the relevant skills and outcomes the reader will care about. MSU Career Services provides an example resume with study abroad laid out in every section of the document. Note that it can be as brief as a single bullet point in your Education section or could have many bullet points in any other section.

Communicating with Prospective Employers

Communicating with Prospective Employers

Even though your study abroad experience was cut short, it’s an opportunity to show your resilience and flexibility. Employers most value experiences related to the internship or job you are hoping to obtain and may not understand how a study abroad experience relates. By highlighting the skills you developed and discussing what you learned, you'll help the employer connect the dots. 

Identify the skills you developed with the employer in mind. There are certain skills employers of all industries tell us they value most. Get familiar with these top skills, and consider the experiences you've had (study abroad, class projects, internships) where you grew these skills. 

Understand and practice common interview questions. Understanding the structure to answer common interview questions will help you to feel prepared to discuss your experience. The PARK or STARL method helps to organize your interview responses so that employers can quickly understand your experiences and skills. After coming up with a few experiences you would like to highlight to an employer, you'll want to practice on your own and then with a Career Advisor.

Get personalized support to “unpack” your experience. MSU's Career Services Network staff is trained to help you talk through your study abroad experience and translate it to resumes, cover letters, interviews, grad school applications. Learning to articulate the value of your experience to an outside audience can be done in a one-on-one career advising appointment.

Job Hunting During COVID-19

Job Hunting During COVID-19

Job hunting in the wake of a global pandemic is daunting, especially if you are a graduating senior. There are a few online lists tracking hiring trends and employers still looking for talent. The following resources regularly to get a pulse on whether employers on your radar are looking to fill roles.

International Careers

International Careers

Your education abroad experience might have you thinking about pursuing an international career. The following resources can help you become familiar with careers in international education, education abroad, and more!

Careers in International Education

  • SECUSSA-L Listserv can help you become familiar with jobs available in international education. Many universities post jobs to this listserv and on the NAFSA career page. You can receive a daily digest or get individuals emails by signing up.
  • NAFSA is the largest organization in international education. NAFSA is separated by 12 regions across the US, which will allow you to set your job search to the area you're most interested in. 
  • The Forum on Education Abroad is a great resource if you are looking to work specifically within the field of education abroad and focuses exclusively on sending US students overseas. 
  • The Institute for International Education (IIE) is among the world's largest international education and training organizations. They administer the Fulbright Program as well as the Boren and Gilman scholarship programs. 

Other International Opportunities

  • The Fulbright Program is a competitive grant program funded by the US Department of State that enables US citizen students to do research, study, or teach English abroad. These awards are open to all MSU students who will have a BA/BS by the time the grant would begin. Masters and PhD students may also apply. 
  • The Peace Corps recruits potential applicants dedicated to the goals and objectives of the US Peace Corps. Their office will work with you to improve your competitiveness as an applicant and can share more information regarding upcoming deadlines and opportunities.

MSU Student Organizations

MSU Student Organizations

Connecting with students and alumni who have studied abroad can be a great way to stay connected to your experiences abroad and meet fellow sojourners on campus. The following groups organize a series of events and workshops that aim to promote cultural learning and diversity: 

  • Spartans Abroad Global Ambassadors (SAGA) is a student organization at MSU that was created with the intention of providing resources for future and past education abroad participants. 
  • International Students Association (ISA) is the largest student organization at MSU and works closely with the Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS) to collectively promote and enhance international awareness, cultural diversity, and dialogue among international students on campus.

Stay Connected

Stay Connected

There are a variety of ways to stay connected to the education abroad community here at MSU and beyond. We encourage you to share your experience by Telling your Story and entering our Photo Contest as soon as your return.

Additionally, start thinking about participating in MSU's Annual Learning Abroad Conference. It's a great way to gain experience speaking to a larger audience; and for undergraduates, may be a great way to begin building your My Spartan Story, MSU’s new interactive platform that aims to capture experiences that complement your academic course of study.

If you'd like to get more involved, consider applying to the Peer Adviser Program to help prospective students find a program that suits their schedule, major and interests. Peer Advisers guide students through the application process, answer questions about scholarships and financial aid, and offer a student perspective on the various aspects of being abroad and returning home.

The American Semester Program and Exchanges also encourages education abroad participants to volunteer and work with them through the ASP Steward and Ambassador Program that welcomes international students to East Lansing.

The options are endless!

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