Santa Clara University

Study Abroad

Returning to Santa Clara from abroad

Dear Study Abroad Returnees, 

Welcome back! We trust that your readjustment to life back on campus is going well. If you haven’t already felt the re-entry culture shock, you probably will at some point in your readjustment to life back in the US and Santa Clara. Coming back can be a stressful and confusing time as you cope with all the emotions of missing the study abroad experiences. But this is also the time when incredible personal growth can occur as you begin to reflect on that whole experience. As you go through the re-entry process, please know that this is a natural phase of cultural adjustment similar to when you had to adapt to studying abroad in your host country. We encourage you to get in involved on campus to keep your international experience alive and meaningful. Below are a few of the ways that you can do that: 

Welcome Back Event
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
California Mission Room, Benson
Open to All Who RegisterAmbassadors

A day for returning study abroad students to reconnect with each other to reflect on your study abroad experiences and the inevitable readjustment process. The program is open to all interested returnees. 

EVALUATION: Complete the Study Abroad Evaluation
Please take about 5-10 minutes to fill out our survey based on your study abroad experience. The results of the survey will be made available to students who will be researching their study abroad options. Your help is greatly appreciated. To complete the online survey, please visit:

WORKSHOP: Resumes for International Aficionados
February 8, 2010, Williman Room, 5:00 – 6:00 PM
(Room Changed from Lucas Hall to Williman Room)
Learn how to integrate your international experience on your resume.  Find out how to communicate skills that are valued in a global market.  Take away tips for approaching an international job search. Limited seating. For more information and RSVP online to secure your spot: 

CLUB: Join the International Club

Join international students and other study abroad returnees for social and educational opportunities. For more information and to join, please visit:


MENTOR: Be a Student Mentor to an International Exchange Student
Want to serve as an American student mentor to an international Exchange Student who will be coming to study for a term or year at SCU? For more information and to sign up, please visit:

SERVE: Pre-Departure Orientation 2013
Saturday, April 27, 2013. Locatelli Student Center, Time TBD
We could use your help to co-facilitate the group meetings following the general session on that Saturday. Please sign up to be an International Ambassador and be on the look out for emails from us. For more information:



REFLECTION: Submit article or photos to One World
Submit an article or photos on your experience abroad for One World, Santa Clara’s social justice magazine. Copies of the magazine can be found outside of Campus Ministry. For more information, please email Zena Andreani or Kate Bradley at


PHOTO CONTEST: Show Off Your Best Photos
An opportunity to share your study abroad experience with the Santa Clara community, alumni, parents, prospective students through images. Winning photos will be featured in calendars, on our website, and other University publications.  Photo Contest rules and guidelines will be emailed to you soon; categories may include the following: Cross-Cultural Immersion, Scenery, Broncos in Action, Justice Overseas, etc. 


Frequently Asked Questions

When can I expect my abroad grades to be posted to my ecampus account?
Your patience is needed for this phase as it all depends on the efficiency to which your program provider sends transcripts to SCU. This process can take several weeks (sometimes months) before Carol Bonney at the Registrar’s Office receives your transcript As soon as she gets it she will forward it on to Lori Johnson at the Drahmann Center who makes the appropriate credit transfer to your ecampus account based on the Study Abroad Course Approval Form you submitted to her before you left for your program. If you want to know the actual timeline of when your transcript will be sent to SCU, feel free to contact your program provider (e.g. IES, CIEE, Syracuse, etc.) directly and they will advise you.


HELPFUL READING: What is Re-Entry?

Excerpts from the Study Abroad Office at Middlebury College.


 Re-entry can be defined as the often unexpected and sometime difficult experience of re-adjusting to life in one's home culture after living abroad. Some study abroad returnees do not find re-entry to be difficult; however, most returnees experience some degree of stress upon returning home. In fact, for many students the process of re-adapting to home after study abroad is even more difficult than adjusting to the host culture! Re-entry is different for everyone, just as your experience abroad was unique and special. However, there are some common re-adjustment issues that study abroad students report:


 Personal Growth and Change--You may have experienced a challenge to your beliefs, convictions, values and world view while you were immersed in a different culture. You may have also experienced more academic freedom and personal independence while abroad. You may feel that you have matured and become more self-confident. You have undoubtedly changed in many ways. One of the greatest challenges of re-entry is having to adjust your "new" self to your "old" home. It is very common for returnees to experience loss of identity during this time.


 New Knowledge and Skills--Just as your attitudes changed while you were abroad, you probably developed new knowledge, skills, and behavior patterns. For example, you probably developed competencies that helped you survive in your everyday life overseas, such as learning to find your way around a new city, to act in a culturally appropriate manner, and to converse about new subjects, and of course, foreign language skills. Other new competencies may include new knowledge about your major, new research skills, and new problem-solving skills. Some returnees feel frustrated if they feel these skills are of little use once they return home.


 Relationships with Family and Friends--Some study abroad returnees say the most difficult issue to deal with when they return home is relationships with family and friends. It is important to realize that other people did not stay the same while you were gone. Also, all of your changes will undoubtedly affect your family and friends. Many returnees describe feelings of alienation, and some say they feel pressure from family and friends to revert back to the person they were before study abroad. Perhaps the most difficult, and most common, aspect of this issue is telling others about the overseas experience. Many returnees find that beyond polite inquiries and general questions, their friends and family do not seem to be very interested in hearing about their experiences.

How does one cope with re-entry?


 There are many positive ways of coping with re-entry. The process of re-adjustment can take weeks or months, and it is very important to give yourself time to cope with the experience. Perhaps the most vital coping strategy is to recognize that what you are going through is normal and very, very common. Expect a period of stress, and know that re-entry is a natural part of the re-adjustment process. The following are coping strategies suggested by study abroad returnees:


Talk with people who understand your situation. All of us in the Office of International Programs have spent time abroad and love to hear about your experiences, and we can also help put you in touch with other returnees. Keep in touch with people from your host country and from your program.

Tell others about your study abroad experience. Let the Office of International Programs know if you would be interested in speaking with prospective study abroad students or helping with pre-departure meetings or other international events. Write an article for the One World Social Justice Magazine, or other school publication. Telling others who really want to hear about your experience can be a wonderful way to keep your study abroad experience alive.

Continue being a multi-cultural person. Seek out situations in which international experiences and perspectives are appreciated. The Office of International Programs can tell you about opportunities to get involved in working on international events on campus, for example. Use your international perspective and skills to work on issues in the United States.


In conclusion, re-entry can be a time of stress, confusion, and tremendous personal growth. As you go through this experience, remember that re-entry is just another phase of cultural adjustment, and just as you adapted to your host culture, you will be able to re-adapt to the United States and to Santa Clara. Remember to look positively on your re-entry experience, and allow it to help you look at your own culture as if you were discovering it for the first time.


We look forward to hearing about your study abroad experience. Feel free to stop by our new location at 755 Franklin Street (next to Henry's Mexican Restaurant, across from Alumni Science).


- International Programs Staff

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