After a semester abroad and adjusting to a new culture and lifestyle, students returning can experience “reverse culture shock,” according to The Center for Global Education’s website, studentsabroad.com. Friendship dynamics may have shifted, classes may look far different than what they did last abroad, and things they have grown used to are no longer the norm.
Adjusting to life back at PLNU can prove just as much of a struggle as getting used to being in a different country. For junior applied health major Rachel Booth, returning to PLNU presented more difficulties than acclimating to life in Seville, Spain.
“Being back home is really weird. For me, it’s really different because no one else experienced what I experienced there. So maybe when I feel a certain way or think about a certain location, they don’t understand it. I missed everything they went through the last semester too,” Booth said.
According to studentsabroad.com, reverse culture shock often comes about because the person returning has idealized their home or expects everything to be the same upon returning. When expectations aren’t met, reacclimating can prove more difficult. However, according to the site, students will eventually fall back into old routines, and learning to incorporate your experiences abroad with your life at home is key to readjustment.
Julia McCurry, junior accounting and finance major and head of the ASB activity board, went abroad to Spain a year ago and found that the best way to readjust after her time away was getting involved again at the university.
“Jump in. Just go back to all the things you enjoy, but be intentional and reach out. It’s not going to be instantaneous. Things switch and happen. Sure, at times it was hard adjusting and figuring out what was going on, but being at Loma is such a home for me,” McCurry said.
According to Assistant Director of the Office of Global Studies, Chris Corbin, the Office of Global Studies is ready to help students readjust after their time away and is ready to offer resources to those struggling as well as visiting the on campus Wellness Center for further help.
However, if students are still craving their life abroad and would like to travel again, there are further options available to them. “Students can go abroad more than once and still stay on track to graduate on time! The best thing to do is to plan early and we would love to help with that,” Corbin said.