Parents and Family: When Your Student ReturnsReturning home after completing an Education Abroad experience can sometimes feel like as much of an adjustment as going abroad. Here are some resources to help you understand how to help your student settle back in to life after his/her Education Abroad experience:
Reverse Culture Shock*
Just as your student may have experienced a period of cultural adjustment at the start of their Education Abroad experience, upon return it is extremely likely that they will experience challenges in re-adapting to life in the United States (or their home country). Many students find that exposure to new cultures and different worldviews causes them to reexamine their priorities and values, as well as those of their home culture. This shift in perspective can lead to a feeling of psychological discomfort known as “reverse culture shock,” which occurs when a student returns to their home country.
Upon returning home, many students may expect to be able to pick up exactly where they left off, and are unsure how to react when returning home feels foreign. This inconsistency between expectations and reality can cause students to experience feelings of frustration, anger, alienation, loneliness, disorientation or helplessness. The degree of difficulty of readjustment will vary from individual to individual, but – in general – the better integrated a student became to their host country’s culture and lifestyle, the harder it is to readjust during re-entry.
It is important to understand that it is completely normal for your student to experience some degree of difficulty adjusting to life back home. Eventually your student will adjust and things will start to seem normal again. The key to helping your student overcoming reverse culture shock is to understand that it is a phase that many students experience, and that they will re-adjust to life back home! One way to ease the transition from life abroad to life back home is by encouraging your student to incorporate the positive aspects of their international experience with the positive aspects of their life in the United States or home country to build o their international experience.
*Adapted from The Center for Global Education’s Study Abroad Handbook
Building on Your International Experience
After participating in an Education Abroad program, there are many ways your student can build on their international experience. Please encourage your student to take advantage of these opportunities; here are a few suggestions from the Office of International Programs:
Represent their host institution at the Education Abroad fair, held annually in October, and share their experiences with students who are interested in participating in similar programs.
Get involved with an internationally-focused or multicultural organization on campus. Babson has plenty of student-run organizations that have a global focus and will help your student maintain a connection to their experiences from abroad.
- Enter the International Education Week Photo Contest, held annually in November, and showcase memories from their international experience for all to see! Or host an internationally-themed event as part of International Education Week.
- Share their experiences at the pre-departure sessions held for students preparing to go abroad, and help future Babson students have a similarly rewarding Education Abroad experience.
- Volunteer to be a Babson Exchange Ambassador and help an incoming exchange student adjust to life at Babson and in the United States.
- Stop by OIP and to share their experiences with us! We are always excited to hear their stories and see pictures from your experience abroad!
- Begin thinking about their next international experience – explore opportunities to study, volunteer, work or travel abroad; check out graduate school programs abroad or with a global focus; or research programs that provide opportunities for recent graduates to serve as ambassadors abroad, such as Fulbright, Peace Corps or Rotary International programs.
- Multicultural Fair
- Education Abroad Fair
- Marketing Your International Experience to Employers
- International Education Week
- International Education Week Photo Contest
Taking Care of Business
Once your student is settled in back home, there are a few steps they will need to take here at Babson to complete their Education Abroad experience:
After participating in an education abroad program, your student will be asked to complete a program evaluation to help us improve the program for future participants.
Verifying Transfer of Credit
Upon your return from a non-Babson education abroad program, your student’s grades from abroad will be manually entered according to the conversion charts on the approved course spreadsheets. It is your student’s responsibility to ensure that the information which appears on their Babson transcript is accurate.
Prior to this, your student should make sure that all of your courses have been evaluated properly and approved for Babson credit and that the grades you receive from your host institution are correctly indicated on your transcript. We strongly recommend that you verify your grades before departing your host country, as it will much easier to correct any potential errors while you are still in the same time zone! Additionally, you should save copies of all of your exams, papers and other graded material, just in case you need to provide additional documentation of your work at a later date. Finally, once your grades have been entered on to your Babson transcript, please verify that the grades and credits have been transferred correctly and match the conversion rates provided in the approved course spreadsheet.
Upon return from an Education Abroad program, staff members from the following offices on campus are available to help your student get settled in to life back at Babson:
- Residential Living
- Student Affairs
- Student Financial Services
- Student Health Services
- Glavin Office of Multicultural & International Education