IUP artmark

Returning Home

  • Plane Returning Home
  • Re-Entry

    Returning from an education abroad program is an exciting and challenging time for many students. It is important to remember that, just as you adjusted to your host culture, you must also readjust to your home culture, which isn’t always easy. Many students at IUP have said it was more difficult to return to life at home than it was to go abroad. 

    The OIE staff is here to help you adjust to life back at IUP, so don’t hesitate to call, e-mail, or Skype us!

    Those who were abroad last semester, please join us for dinner to talk about your experience. Invitations will be mailed to your permanent address on file.

    Review your education abroad program with Abroad101. Share the challenges and triumphs of education abroad with your friends. You can review an IUP reciprocal exchange, faculty-led program, and third party provider program, which can help your friends to choose their own program based on your experience. Follow the link below to add your thoughts! 

  • Resources for Readjusting

    Welcome back to campus! The following links will help you with the transition back to IUP.

    Returnee Reception

    If you are currently abroad, your returnee celebration will be during the first month back at IUP.

    The spring and summer 2016 terms Returnee Reception will take place at Benjamin’s on Monday, September 12, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. Invitations will be sent out for this event, so be sure to RSVP, and we hope to see you there!

    Get Involved

    On-Campus Opportunities:

    • Join in the festivities at our International Unity Day celebration (April).
    • Volunteer at our Education Abroad Fair (October).
    • Be a member of our Education Abroad Panel during International Education Week (October).
    • Attend Coffee Hour to meet others interested in international education (two per semester).
    • Write an article for the website or to submit to the Penn.
    • Donate photos from your experiences abroad.
    • Come to speak at a Wednesday Workshop.
    • Do a testimonial about your program either written or a video.
    • Join the IUP Conversation Partners.

    To volunteer for events, please contact the Office of International Education.

    Host Transcript Information

    All overseas transcripts will be mailed from the partner institutions to the IUP Office of International Education. They arrive one to six months after the completion of the student’s coursework.

    Process:

    Once they arrive, they are promptly photocopied. A copy being sent to the student’s permanent address, in their OIE file, and the original is sent to the IUP Office of Transfer Services.

    Timeline:

    This process can take upwards of four weeks from the time the transcript was received.

    Who to Contact:

    It is important for you to understand that the OIE does not post credits. The entire process is the responsibility of the Office of Transfer Services, part of IUP admissions. Mr. Bill Sands wsands@iup.edu and Ms. Lori Roles Iroles@iup.edu are responsible for the evaluation and posting of credits to the IUP transcript. All inquires regarding the posting of credits should be directed toward either of these admissions officers.

    How are they evaluated?

    As long as you received the equivalent of an American “C-” or better, the credits will be transferred. No grades will be transferred, just the credits; thus, the IUP GPA will remain the same as it was before the semester abroad.

    Common Challenges

    Common Challenges when Returning from Abroad

    1. Boredom — While abroad, it is likely that you experienced many new and exciting things. Because of this, some students may find home “dull” or “boring” after their time abroad. You can help alleviate these feelings by trying new and exciting things domestically—such as travel, cultural events, or volunteer opportunities. 
    2. Apathy From Others — You will probably be anxious and excited to tell others about your experiences and stories from abroad when you return home. However, it may be challenging for some friends to demonstrate excitement about anything more than your story “highlights.” It can be helpful to look for individuals who really do have a genuine interest in listening at length to your stories. A fellow traveler? Other students who have participated in an education abroad program? It may also help to capture such stories in writing. 
    3. Trouble Articulating Experience — It can be very difficult to articulate your education abroad experience to individuals who weren’t there. Family and friends may not seem to “get it”—and that’s okay.
    4. Reverse Homesickness — Just as you may have missed home while abroad, you may also miss your “home abroad” once you return. This is a natural part of international travel. It may help, however, to stay in touch with roommates and friends you met while away. 
    5. Relationships Have Changed — Upon returning home, you may find that family and friends’ lives have changed or they have changed themselves. The best way to approach these changes is to remain open-minded and flexible. 
    6. People Misunderstand/Don’t Understand You — Loved ones may notice and, at times, feel threatened by changes they see in you—or they may not understand behaviors you developed while abroad. Be aware of how others perceive these changes and how they respond to them. 
    7. Feeling Isolated or Alienated — While abroad, you may have idealized “home” and become anxious to return to it. Students who return with idealistic expectations of home and find them unmet can experience feelings of alienation, isolation, or even depression. It may be helpful to talk to an objective listener such as a counselor, professor, or Education Abroad advisor.
    8. Inability to Use Knowledge/Skills — If you learned a foreign language while abroad and return home to find few opportunities to speak it, you might become frustrated. The same is true for many new skills acquired abroad. Look for opportunities to continue your learning, such as student groups, academic coursework, or professional opportunities. 
    9. Compartmentalization or “Shoeboxing” of Experience — Some students fear “losing” their experience once they return to “reality.” As much as possible, try to incorporate your international experience into your regular life.

    Readjusting to Life at Home

    Strategies for Readjusting to Life at Home

    1. Anticipate the adjustment and give yourself time. Take time to think about the transition and reflect on how it’s affecting you. 
    2. Know that things will be (or seem) different. Life at home has continued in your absence. Large political or cultural changes may have occurred. You may perceive family or friends differently. Understanding that things may be or seem different can better prepare you to react effectively. 
    3. Reserve judgments and respond thoughtfully. Just as you adjusted to a new culture abroad, it may take time to readjust to your culture at home. Be cautious about making snap judgments or responding rashly to people or behaviors. 
    4. Be sensitive to others. Family and friends may notice significant changes in you and not know how to respond effectively—or they may have trouble understanding your experience in general. Be patient and sensitive to loved ones who may also be adjusting to a “new” you. 
    5. Seek support. Readjusting to life at home can be just as difficult as adjusting to life abroad. Find ways to continue your experience through student groups, cultural organizations, or IUP’s Office of International Education. Contact the Counseling Center if you are having a tough time dealing with the challenges of reentry.

    Housing and Registration

    Housing:

    Find out more information about housing options on campus.

    Registration:

    Returning students can keep a look out on their degree works to stay up to date when your credits have transferred.

    If you are about to graduate, stay up to date on commencement details.

  • Jack Osborn

    “I never thought I would have the opportunity to study abroad when I first began at IUP, but one day I decided I wasn’t going to let anything stop me. And I’m glad I did. Studying abroad was such an enriching experience...”

    Jack Osborn, Class of 2015
    Sociology