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! You will receive an email with details about how to apply to become a Peer Adviser before the start of each semester. Finalists will be selected for a phone interview and notified via email.
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 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
- Lead sessions with prospective study abroad students
Please contact Education Abroad with any questions about the Peer Adviser program or application process.
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!