Re-adjusting to Your Old Life
Many of the feelings you may experience stem from the change you have undergone personally and ambiguity about how the new, changed you fits into your old life. It is important to remember that change is a positive thing. You have new ideas and a better sense of who you are. In some ways, study abroad has simply sped up the maturation process. The trick is to figure out how to incorporate your new perspectives into your life at Skidmore College.
There are several things you can do to feel comfortable once again in the United States while still retaining new knowledge and perspectives. First, don’t consider study abroad a singular experience; instead, look at it as the start of a lifetime of international experiences. Second, find ways to continue pursuing newfound interests. Make the most of the resources that exist for you at Skidmore and in the local community.
Here are a few ideas:
- Take a language class to maintain your language proficiency or ask other faculty with foreign language skills if you can conduct your research and write your papers in a foreign language.
- Participate in a language table where people join to dine and converse in Spanish and French. Start a new language table!
- Find out about being a tutor for Skidmore students who need help in elementary or intermediate language courses.
- Volunteer to help members of the community who speak English as a second language.
- Explore new experiences at Skidmore and in the area with old friends in an order to develop new dimensions to your old relationships.
- Check out foreign films from the Scribner Library or from the Saratoga Springs Public Library.
- Host an international dinner party and make your friends a dish from your host country.
- Go to lectures on international affairs (check the Skidmore Calendar and watch for individual department postings).
- Make a conscious effort to visit art shows, museums, and historic sights in the area.
- Correspond with friends and family from your host country.
- Submit original writing you did while abroad to be published in the Skidmore News.
- Engage in conversation and dialogue with others about your experience.
- Talk with someone from the Counseling Center about the difficulties you are facing.
- Help the OCSE recruit and prepare new study abroad students by helping with the Study Abroad Fair or pre-departure orientation, or be available to answer questions about your program informally.
- Get serious in your planning about what you are going to do after graduation: visit Career Services and start an active transition.
- Go to Scribner Library and read newspapers from your host country (Many papers are available on the Web as well).
- Seek out international students on campus and share your cross-cultural experiences.
- Join a student group with and international focus, such as the Asian Cultural Awareness, International Affairs Club, International Student Union, Model U.N., and Model E.U.
- Check community listings for international groups around Saratoga Springs and Albany (e.g., Rotary International).
- Begin planning your next travel experience, domestic or international.