Just as you adjusted to living in your host country, it will take some time to adjust back to life in the U.S. You’re not the only one that has changed during your time abroad. You may find that things back at home have changed too! This cultural adjustment back to life at home is called re-entry.
You may be sad to be leaving your life abroad, excited to be coming home, or a mix of both. It’s important to keep a positive outlook and your sense of humor. Your time in your host country may be over (for now!) But now you have an opportunity to share your experiences with everyone here at NU! There are lots of opportunities to connect with other students who went abroad, get involved with GEO, and find your next opportunity to go abroad! This section contains information on how to transitions smoothly to life back at home, and ways for you to continue your international experience on campus.
Reverse culture shock has a number of stages, which you can imagine as a U-shaped curve.
At first, you may be excited to return home, seeing friends and family members, wearing the rest of your wardrobe, and eating at your favorite restaurants. However, this initial euphoria may not last long, and you might find yourself feeling out of place in your own culture. This is when you may experience reverse culture shock. It is the bottom of the curve and is often the roughest part. Although it may take time, you will begin a gradual adjustment back toward feeling comfortable with where and who you are.
In the meantime, use some of the same coping skills that helped you adjust when you first arrived abroad. Get involved in some of your favorite activities on campus. Join support groups for other study abroad students returning home. Teach a language at NUCALLS; become active in GEO — perhaps apply to become a Peer Advisor, or share your experience with other students at a GEO fair. Try not to judge a situation until you understand it, and remember to keep a sense of humor.
Do you want to share your experiences with other students at NU? How about help a student with their first steps in going abroad? Maybe you want to connect with students from your host country that are studying at Northeastern. Whatever you want to do, GEO has lots of opportunities to do just that.
GEO Peer Advisor Program
Becoming a GEO Peer Advisor is a great way to stay involved in the GEO community and become part of the GEO team. Peer advisors provide information on the various types of international programs available to students and help them select a program that meets their needs. They also assist students in the application process, run study abroad info sessions, help out with GEO fairs, assist in creating GEO marketing materials, and many more duties.
GEO Ambassadors Program
The GEO Ambassadors program is a great way to get involved with GEO initiatives around campus. Our GEO Ambassadors are paid study abroad or Global Co-op alumni and assist GEO with the continued promotion of study abroad and Global Co-op. They conduct classroom visits, learn more about our programs and policies, and serve as the student body face of GEO programs. Up to 20 Ambassadors are selected per semester. There are opportunities to become a Senior Ambassador as well, if you have already completed one semester in the GEO Ambassador role. The Senior Ambassadors serve as mentors to the new Ambassadors.
If you would like to get more involved via either the Peer Advisors or the GEO Ambassador Program, and be financially compensated for your effort, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Global Pathfinders Program
The Global Pathfinders Program will pair international exchange students studying abroad at Northeastern with a current NU student who has participated in one of our outbound global experiences. Global Pathfinders will meet regularly throughout the semester (a minimum of 8 times) to share their cultural experiences, explore Boston together & make friends from around the world!
Every year we recruit new students at our Study Abroad, Dialogue of Civilizations, and Global Co-op Fairs.
The Study Abroad Fair is usually the second week of September. This fair is a great way to connect directly with Host Institutions and get answers about program-specific questions. Often students from past years are also there to help answer questions from a student perspective.
The Dialogue of Civilizations Fair is usually the last week of October and allows students to connect with Faculty Leaders, Co-Leaders, and TAs leading the next summer DOCs. This fair provides details about the program and lets you speak with students from previous years.
Held in September and January of each year, the Global Co-op fair is a great way to learn from Global Co-op alumni about their experiences and program opportunities.
All fairs are held in the Curry Student Center indoor quad. Come represent the programs you have been a part of or investigate new opportunities! Faculty leaders and providers will be on hand to answer questions. Please see the website for more details, or look for the posters on campus!
GEO will host a re-entry event for all students on Traditional Study Abroad, Dialogue of Civilizations, and Global Co-op programs upon your return to the U.S. GEO understands that re-adjusting to life in the U.S. and NU campus can be challenging.
At the re-entry event, GEO provides useful tips on how to re-adapt to life back in the U.S. Stories will be shared, and there will be a photography contest as well as a variety of activities in which to partake. This great event lets you reunite with study abroad students from your program and meet other NU students who have gone abroad and have shared similar experiences.
GEO values your input. What should we improve in terms of preparing you, and how can we help to improve your overall experience abroad? Please fill out an online GEO evaluation available following the completion of your program. We will use these evaluations to assess our programs and to prepare the next group of students who look forward to hearing about your personal experience abroad.