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Goodbye Adventure, Hello ‘Home’. A primer for Gustavus faculty and staff e ngaging with study away returnees Jill S. Fischer, February 7, 2014. Some Terminology. Study Abroad Returnee : a student coming back to campus after studying abroad / studying away

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Goodbye Adventure, Hello ‘Home’


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    1. Goodbye Adventure, Hello ‘Home’ A primer for Gustavus faculty and staff engaging with study away returnees Jill S. Fischer, February 7, 2014

    2. Some Terminology • Study Abroad Returnee: a student coming back to campus after studying abroad / studying away • Reentry: the period of time immediately after study abroad; could be a long reentry or short reentry, depending on the student and their experience. (Lifelong reentry) • Reentry Shock / Reentry Adjustments: “The reverse culture shock experienced when the expatriate returns to their home country” (web definition.)

    3. “Culture shock is the expected confrontation with the unfamiliar.”

    4. “Reentry shock is the unexpected confrontation with the familiar” -Michael Paige, UofMNprof Maximizing Study Abroad

    5. Students think they are returning ‘home’, a place they know well, as a changed person,

    6. but they often find ‘home’ has also changed while they were gone.(and/or their sense of home, etc.)

    7. This creates dissonance and requires re-rooting, and adjustment process

    8. Reentry Adjustment Curve (over simplified) Downloaded from website, 1/16/13 http://www.esf.edu/international/adjustment.htm

    9. Top 10 Challenges* of Reentry for the returnee: Boredom No one wants to hear You can’t explain it Reverse homesickness Relationships have changed People see the wrong changes People misunderstand Feelings of alienation/Critical eyes Inability to apply new knowledge and skills Loss/Compartmentalization of Experience Adapted from Dr. Bruce La Brack, School of International Studies, University of the Pacific  * Returnees may experience these challenges to varying degrees. Returnees may experience some of these, or may experience none of these – everyone is different.

    10. Manifestations of Reentry Shock Returnee may feel: • Down/sad/blah • Unmotivated • Unengaged in classes, work, friends, interests • Unreasonably critical of ‘home’ culture • Cranky/irritable • Crying/emotional (more than normal) • Frustrated with self and/or others • Place extreme focus on experience abroad • Considered normal part of re-adjustment

    11. When to get concerned? • When it goes beyond ‘normal’ • Returnee is in an extended ‘rut’ • Returnee is isolating themselves for extended periods of time • Doesn’t seem to get better, Returnee doesn’t seem to have any good days • Returnee tells you it’s time

    12. What can we do? • Encourage Returnee to PROCESS & SHARE & UTILIZE RESOURCES • Don’t “pack up” the experience and put it away! • Some of the richest learning can come AFTER one’s return from study abroad via processing the experience (reflection, sharing, picture organizing, etc.)

    13. Tips for Returnees: Coping with Reentry Shock • Let yourself feel what you’re feeling / give yourself time and space to feel sad without judgment • Get together with folks from the program • Read international newspapers online • Journal/write/creative expressions • Share your experience with friends/family / campus • Organize pictures, have a gathering to share photos • Share experience in class/connect to academics – current and future courses • Be PROACTIVE! Get involved on campus • Talk with a professional if desired/needed

    14. People Resources and Programming for Returnees: • CSL staff (Chris and Amy in Vocation; Career Counseling) • Counseling Center – don’t have to have a “problem” to visit with them; can simply want to process • D-Center • Academic Advising Center • Study Away Advisor in CICE –individual debriefing sessions • Returnee’s mentor, Academic Advisor, Profs, CF, RD, etc. • Reentry Core Group – (contact Jill Fischer for more info, to join)

    15. People Resources and Programming for Returnees: • CICE reentry email – sent semesterlyto semester students, lists resources & upcoming events • Email to Academic Advisors semester student returnees • Reentry Class – next fall (Intercultural Issues) • Pizza and Pictures – semesterly social gathering for recent semester returnees • Annual Minnesota Returnee Conference (fall, being revised) • Well-Being Center (?) • new ideas… Caf’ Returnee Table, Facebook Groupand CICE Sessions – discuss various topics

    16. On-line Resources: • CICE Website – Reentry Strategies - HUB

    17. Reentry Strategies Includes • Reentry adjustment info • Links to other websites – Engaging Study Abroad, What’s Up With Culture, etc. • Resources for Going Abroad Again • Resume/Job Search/Integration/Career links • Reading List • How to get involved • Coping Tips • and more…

    18. Contact Jill Fischer, CICE jfische4@gustavus.edu Ext 7546