Returning from Study Away

Home at last

Study away can be a change-your-life experience – and it doesn’t end when you get on the plane to come back.

Returning home can be both comforting and challenging. You’ll see contrasts between your experiences in another culture and your life in the U.S. Coming home is the beginning of the next step along your journey.

w-curve when traveling, psychological adjustments vs time, Entry to Host Culture -Honeymoon high, Conflict/Culture Shock low, Recovery moving up to Adjustment. Entry to Home Culture -Honeymoon high, Conflict/Culture Shock low, Recovery moving up and Adjustment.
"The W-Curve of Intercultural Sojourning"
birds migrating over water
Photo by Brook McIntyre

You may feel overwhelmed by the American lifestyle. You may question the connections between what you’ve experienced abroad and how you live here in the U.S. It may be difficult to find connections to your coursework on campus. There are plenty of resources  at PLU to help you process your time abroad, connect with other students who have had similar experiences, re-engage in your community and plan for the next phase of your journey. You may also want to consider discussing this transition at the PLU Counseling Center.

Returner Welcome

Every fall and spring semester the Wang Center Global Ambassadors host a Returner Welcome event. This is an opportunity for students to reconnect and reflect on their recent experiences. For more information, please contact the Wang Center.

Wang Center Photo Contest

Remember to submit your photos and videos in the annual Wang Center Photo/Video Contest. Enter to win prizes and have your photo displayed on campus!

Live on campus

A great way to reconnect with PLU upon return is living in an intentional living community on campus. For example, Hong Hall provides a language and globally-focused living space that will keep your study away experiences alive.

PLU Global Campus Connection

Now that you’ve been an international student you know it can be hard to meet locals. Participate in the Global Campus Connection (GCC) program, where new international students are matched with current PLU students!

Global Ambassadors

Global Ambassadors provide peer support to study away students before, during, and after an off-campus study experience. They’ve spent at least a semester studying abroad, so they know what its like to try to settle back in.

Keep an eye out each Spring Semester for the Global Ambassador application and deadline. Please contact the Wang Center for more information.

Put Your Experience to Work

Nev Granum feeding a couple giraffesContinue Your Global Education

Apply for a Wang Center Research Grant on your own or with a PLU faculty member to fund a research project internationally or within the US.

Students hugging one anotherWhat’s Next?

There are lots of opportunities to live, work, study, teach or volunteer abroad after graduation. Visit our Post-Grad Opportunities page to learn more!


PLU Alumni and Student Connections developed this powerpoint about how to articulate your study away experiences in your resume and cover letter.

Videos and activities have been developed/adapted by Andrew Nelson, PLU Study Away alum (Scotland, 2013). We recommend taking a look both before and after studying away.

Re-Entry 101

Jessica's Story

Alex's Story