You have just returned home from an amazing time abroad; you saw new places, met new people, and were completely integrated into another culture. You may have learned a lot about yourself and even re-examined your priorities, values, and what you think of the United States and the culture you were brought up in.
You are sad to leave, but excited to get back and tell everyone about your travels, and excited to get back to familiar ground and pick up where you left off. However, the reality may fall short of your expectations as life in the US has not stopped while you were gone, and others have had things happening in their own lives or events that you were not a part of. Although you have had a life-changing experience, some people may tire quickly from your stories or the amazing things you learned and experienced.
After you get home and realize not everyone is interested, you miss the excitement of your life abroad, or you feel like a stranger at home, you may have feelings of frustration, anger, or loneliness. It is important to work through these feelings and connect with others who are feeling the same way. A study abroad re-entry conference is the perfect way to not only connect with other travelers who want to hear your stories and talk about your travels, but to learn how to best adjust to re-entry, become an advocate for study abroad, learn how to market your experience to potential employers, get information on going abroad again, or get information on joining the field of international education. You have had a life changing experience, now learn how to process it and use it to your benefit!
For those of you near Boston, the 2014 New England/NAFSA Region XI Study Abroad Returnee Conference will be held on February 22nd, 2014 at Babson College from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. It is developed by a committee of volunteers in the study abroad field, and the conference will offer sessions in adjusting to re-entry, becoming an advocate for study abroad, marketing your international experience, exploring careers in international fields, and finding opportunities to go abroad again. More information can be found here: http://nestudyabroadreentryconference.wordpress.com/about/
In the Northwest, the sixth annual Northwest Returnee Conference (NWRC) will be held on Saturday, February 8th, 2014, at the Global Scholars Hall located on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, Oregon. Conference schedule and session information can be found here.
Also, Lessons From Abroad is an annual conference for returning Study Abroad students, with branches in the San Fransisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego, the Rocky Mountain Region, Nebraska, Washington, Central Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Georgia and Chicago.
See below for dates, or follow this link to get more information.
- San Francisco Bay Area: Saturday, March 1st, 2014 at the City College of San Francisco
- San Diego: Saturday, Feb. 22nd, 2014 at the University of San Diego
- Rocky Mountain Region: Saturday, Feb 22nd, 2014 at the Auraria Campus in Denver
- Washington: Saturday, February 8th, 2014, hosted at Seattle Pacific University
- Los Angeles: TBA
- Central Texas: TBA
- Georgia: TBA
- Oklahoma: TBA