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Returning to Furman


I am struggling adjusting back to campus life and feel disconnected to my friends. Why is this?

It is important to know you are not alone in struggling to readjust to life at home. It is referred to as Reverse Culture Shock (RCS) and it is normal for many students to experience. Reverse culture shock is due to the new cultural adjustments made by students during their time abroad and how these adjustments can conflict with their home culture. This can cause anxiety, depression and stress as they try to readjust to life at home.  You may feel separated from you’re your communities or that there is nothing new to experience. Just as the you have grown during your time abroad, the old friends and campus may have changed as well, causing a dissonance of expectations and reality.

What is Reverse Culture Shock (RCS)?

Like Culture Shock, Reverse Culture Shock consists of four stages: Euphoria, Shock, Re-Adjustment, and Integration. The first stage, Euphoria, can be a rather short stage, and consists of your excitement to return home, sleep in their own bed, and see their old friends, family and pets. The second stage, the Shock, is usually accompanied with increased anxiety, moodiness, feelings of isolation and disruption of habits. You may feel alienated from your home as you may have developed new perspectives on political and social issues. You might struggle with adjustment to the speed of daily life or access to resources or food you came to expect in your host country. Your friends may lose interest in your experience. It is important for you to use your support networks - your family, friends, SOAR, and the Study Away Office- to help you through the Re-Adjustment. Do not neglect your experiences, skills and personal development acquired during your time abroad. We can help you learn how you can implement these into your life at home and create a space for you in your everyday life.


What should I do when I return to Furman?

Now that you have returned to campus, it is time to incorporate your study away experiences into your collegiate life. You are welcome to reach out to the Rinker Center for possible suggestions or opportunities. Participate in International Education Week or the Study Away Photo Contest. Write a blog about your experiences and participate in Furman Engaged. Some on-campus options include: Applying for a Center for Engaged Learning Peer Ambassador position, conduct undergraduate research with a professor within your interests, apply for an internship and networking opportunities,  engage in mentoring programs on-campus, join or create a new organization, apply for a leadership position, or create a CLP around topics you experience or explore during your study away.


How can I make my study away marketable?

Contact the Malone Center about implementing Study Away into your resume and cover letters. Reflect on your experiences and the vocabulary you can use in discussing them. What are some of the skills you acquired abroad? Language? Communication? Marketing? How can you concisely express your experiences to accurately market yourself to prospective employees and universities? Attend the Study Away Returnee Session to learn specifically how to implement your study away experiences into professional opportunities. Talk with your advisers or a member of the Study Away office to hear about their experiences in international education and on-campus opportunities. You should contact the Undergraduate Research and the Internships Office about career networking events and opportunities to conduct research or intern with an organization.