Although most students do not expect it, the culture shock of returning home after a semester or year abroad can oftentimes be more challenging than the culture shock experienced when first arriving at your program site. The study abroad experience can be very intense, exciting and life-changing. Returning home, reconnecting with friends, and adjusting to life in the United States can be surprisingly challenging.
Are you experiencing unusual emotions? Are you bored? Do you miss your host country and homestay family? Do you feel misunderstood? Are you goals different?
Coming back home is an adjustment. You're most likely going through some reverse culture shock. Things that interested you before may seem less interesting and you may feel reverse homesickness, which is when you miss your host culture and the friends that you made. You are not alone; most people who immerse themselves in a different culture feel the same way. Remember how you felt when you first moved to your host country. The coping strategies that you used there will be useful in the move back to the U.S.
Studying abroad brings about new perspectives and growth in a person. You may find that you are interested in new things. Getting involved is another great way to readjust yourself to being back on campus. St. Thomas has an array of clubs for every interest level.
A full list of St Thomas clubs and organizations can be found at http://www.stthomas.edu/ustclubs/default.html. But, a few of the internationally focused clubs are:
Remember, change is a positive thing. You have new ideas and outlooks that will help give you a better sense of yourself, your surroundings and the world. Now try to incorporate your new perspectives into your life in America and on campus. Your study abroad experience does not have to be your only international experience. Instead it is the start of a lifetime of international experiences.