I’m back from Shanghai: Now what?
Reverse Culture Shock and Re-entry Stress
Keeping Chinese Alive at BU
Putting Your Abroad Experience to Work
Returning to China
Once you’re back home, what can you do with your study abroad experience?
- Check in with your on-campus study abroad office. They may need work study students with abroad experience or they may look for volunteer peer advisors to help underclassmen thinking of going abroad. They may also look for helpers in orientations or meetings promoting study abroad around campus.
- Stop by the International Students and Services Office of your campus. See if you can help with greeting international students coming to the US – with your new cultural sensitivity, you are a perfect candidate to participate, and meet new and interesting people along the way!
- Attend a returnee conference which can be very helpful in your adjustment back home as well as in giving you ideas on how to use your study abroad experience in your life back in the US.
- Ask your old elementary school or high school foreign language instructors if you can give short guest lectures, illustrated with photographs, slides or videos.
- Many local civic and children’s organizations enjoy speakers who share their foreign travel anecdotes. Audience members often add their own stories to the conversation. Kiwanis, Rotary clubs, Girl and Boy Scout troops may be able to utilize your experiences through presentations. Schedule a night at your dorm, sorority or fraternity to show off your photos and tell a few stories.
- Talk about your experiences with others who have recently traveled abroad and who may be experiencing the same feelings you’re having. They may be able to share some tips with you on how they learned to deal with their feelings.
- Take classes: Don’t let your Chinese fall by the wayside! Take other courses in Chinese history or literature that you may have only touched upon in class here in Shanghai. You may audit a language class or participate in a conversation group at the Educational Resource Center.
- Watch Chinese films and listen to Chinese music. Keep an eye out for special lectures on campus.
- Be part of the Chinese community on campus. There’s the Chinese Students Association on BU campus and a whole specialty dormitory dedicated to speaking Chinese.
- Update your résumé. Be sure to include this experience on your résumé, as it will set you apart from lots of other people and will also serve as a great conversation point in interviews.
- Visit your campus career services office. What resources do they have for international jobs or graduate schools? How can they advise you on the best way to utilize this experience? Can they put you in touch with alumni who now live and work abroad and who may be good contacts for you?