Get Involved on Campus
Welcome back! So, you have successfully completed your study abroad program and have returned home. Chances are you had an incredible time in your host country and experienced tremendous personal and academic growth. Now that you're back, you may have noticed that you are feeling disoriented or disconnected from your friends and family. Don't worry - that's normal! It's known as "reverse culture shock," and it could take a few months to adjust back to life in the U.S.
Become a Peer Adviser
When students return from abroad, they will receive an email from the Education Abroad office with instructions on how to apply for a peer adviser position. Typically, peer advisers are selected at the beginning of each academic year.
Peer Adviser Application Process
Did you meet with a Peer Adviser before you studied abroad? Did you love your study abroad experience and want to help other students navigate the process? If yes, apply to be a Peer Adviser!
Applications will open in fall 2017.
Who are Peer Advisers?
Peer Advisers are the “first face” of education abroad at Penn State and are an important part of the Education Abroad Office. The purpose of the Peer Advising program is to provide general information to prospective education abroad students on a walk-in basis in a comfortable environment. Prospective study abroad students are strongly recommended to meet with a Peer Adviser to understand the basics of studying abroad through Penn State while learning how to research suitable education abroad opportunities. Peer Advisers meet with students to provide general information about the education abroad process, program options, website navigation, scholarships, and sharing their own abroad experiences. Peer Advisers are provided with training upon selection to prepare for this role. This is an unpaid, volunteer position.
Each Peer Adviser will be expected to commit to the following during each semester:
- Volunteer 2-4 hours per week in the Education Abroad Resource Room, as well as individual projects as assigned.
- Complete a student spotlight
- Assist with pre-departure orientation workshops upon request
- Lead live online chat sessions with prospective study abroad students
The Education Abroad Office has set strategic goals to provide additional advising support for particular student interest groups in an effort to increase the number of students studying abroad. Peer Advisers will play a vital role in accomplishing some of these goals by advising in a designated specialty:
- Regional Advising (e.g. Latin America, Asia, Africa, Middle East, etc.)
- Career Advising
- Collaborating with the Global Ambassadors student organization to promote study abroad
What Happens Next?
Applications will be reviewed beginning January 4th for Spring 2017 positions. Students who are selected to interview will be contacted directly via their Penn State email account by Wednesday, January 4th. Interviews will be held January 9th and 10th, 2017. Please note that the number of Peer Adviser positions is limited and acceptance is not guaranteed. Peer Advisers are expected to participate in a training sessions which will run on January 12th from 5:00-7:00pm.
Please contact Education Abroad with any questions about the Peer Adviser program or application process.
Become a Global Ambassador
Who Are the Global Ambassadors?
The Global Ambassadors are a recognized student organization actively connecting fellow Penn State students to education abroad resources on campus. The Global Ambassadors work closely with the Education Abroad office to create awareness of study abroad opportunities. They also share their own personal experiences from abroad with their Penn State peers. They inspire and challenge students to take the plunge to an educational and life-changing global experience. While most Global Ambassadors have studied abroad, all students with an interest in global engagement at University Park are welcome to join the student organization.
What Global Ambassadors Do
Global Ambassadors are a valuable partner to the Education Abroad office in promoting global opportunities. The Global Ambassadors reach out to organizations and classes on the University Park campus to offer Study Abroad 101 presentations on program options, cost structure, housing, how to apply, and beginning the study abroad process.
Some events that Global Ambassadors sponsor include:
- Welcome Week involvement fair
- The Education Abroad Fair
- HUB tabling
- Penn State Around the World poster session
- "Ask Me About Study Abroad" Q & A sessions
- Social media outreach
- The Global Ambassador student organization encourages creativity in developing new ideas for ways to reach students who may not have previously considered study abroad as a possibility.
Reasons to Become a Global Ambassador
- Students who have studied abroad often look for ways to connect their study abroad experience to their time at Penn State, and Global Ambassadors is a great way to start.
- Share your international experiences with the Penn State community and inspire others to go abroad.
- Continue your global engagement upon return.
- Connect with other returned students and reflect on shared experiences together.
- Add an international component to your time on campus if you haven’t studied abroad, or if you are thinking of applying to study abroad in the future.
- Facilitate the development of practical skills in public speaking and marketing as well as provide leadership opportunities.
To become a Global Ambassador, please contact Global Ambassadors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Strategies for Successful Re-entry
There are many ways to remain internationally engaged on campus after returning your study abroad experience. Find opportunities on the Penn State campus and get involved globally.
- Attend the Global Engagement and Leadership Experience program (GELE)
- Volunteer with Global Connections a local non-profit that promotes intercultural understanding.
- Stay up to date on international news and events.
Share Experiences With Family & Friends
Your family and friends will want to hear about your study abroad experience. Share with them your memories, your photos, and what you learned about your host culture and yourself while abroad.
Maintain Contact With Host Country and Culture
While you're abroad you probably made many connections to locals in the host country, as well as friends on your program either abroad or who are also back in the United States. Find ways to keep in touch even after you return.
- Use Email, Facebook, Twitter and other social media to keep in frequent contact with the friends you made while abroad.
- Take a course at Penn State related to the history or culture of your host country.
- Invite international friends to visit you in the U.S.
- Visit local ethnic grocery stores and restaurants.
Share your Experience With Potential Study Abroad Students
If you enjoyed your study abroad experience and want to share it with students interested in your program, we're looking for your help! The best resources about program specifics come from our returned study abroad students. When requested, we want to provide future and accepted students with contact information of program alumni.
Reverse Culture Shock
Some students may experience reverse culture shock upon return to the U.S. While it is normal to feel overwhelmed while adjusting back to your life at Penn State after spending time in a foreign country know that you can schedule an appointment with a Penn State Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) counselor if you feel depressed or you need additional help re-adjusting.
Internationalize Your Education
Now that you have been abroad, find a way to act and learn globally during your remaining time at Penn State.
- Add an International Studies Minor or a minor related to your host country's history or language
- Join an international club or intercultural group
- Attend the Global Engagement and Leadership Experience (GELE) program
- Take courses that expose you to diverse views and concepts
- Become a host to an exchange student
- Mentor an international student
- Volunteer to teach English as a Second Language
- Discuss your international experience with a professor in your field
- Conduct research projects or write papers that incorporate learning from your study abroad experience
Use and Develop Language Skills
Keep practicing your new language skills, or begin learning a new language.
- Become a Language Partner through Global Connections
- Join a language club
- Continue formal language study at Penn State.
- Volunteer as an interpreter at a local hospital or court house.
- Watch movies or read books in the language of the host culture.
- Write a reflective journal or blog about your most significant experiences abroad.
- Explore international art, music, and literature at museums or the library.
On Your Campus
Check out what's going on on your campus!