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When you return to your home country after an extended time abroad, you will experience a variety of challenges and emotions. At times you might feel like you fit right in; almost as if you never left. At other times however, you will recognize how much you have changed and feel you do not fit in at all anymore. You may feel like something has been removed and replaced with something different that doesn’t fit.

You will experience several stages of adjustment upon your return home. At first you will probably experience excitement and anticipation. A few months later, especially if you do not have a job yet or you are unclear about the next step, you may find yourself criticizing your home culture, often without even realizing it. Following this, you may experience a time of longing to return to the country you studied in or, in some cases, wanting simply to “go somewhere else.” Eventually, your emotions will calm down and you will begin to accept life at home with a less critical attitude.

You will find it helpful to connect with others who have lived and studied abroad. You can share experiences and ideas. Recognize that even though you experienced different things in different places, you can grow and learn from each others’ stories.

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