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Find out what you need to do as soon as you return home after studying abroad, to catch up with everything, hit the ground running, and have your career goals achieved in a short time.

I need to be honest here, unless you are required to return home after you finish your study abroad, going back home will feel sucks.

Some people don’t have any other choice. They may have gotten a scholarship from their governments, companies, or institutions they’re working for, et cetera, and are required to return home upon graduation to apply their new skills and knowledge for the greater good of their country, companies, and institutions.

But if you are not one of them, going back home after finishing your study abroad will kind of feel like a failure. 

Most people use the chance to study abroad as a stepping stone to an international career, working abroad with colleagues from all over the globe.

They will try to find a job after graduation and stay for as long as their working visa is allowed. So, when for one reason or another they have to return home after graduation, it’s completely normal to be disappointed.

Even though it sucks, start to make lemonade when life gives you a lemon. Just because you are back home doesn’t mean you are back to square one.

Back Home After Studying Abroad, Now What? 6 Things You Need to Do Immediately to Get You Hit the Ground Running

NO, YOU ARE NOT!, because you made progress by accumulating skills, knowledge, and experiences that many people don’t have the privilege to experience.

You made personal growth, overcoming obstacles that come from being alone in a foreign country. You’ve conquered your fear of not going to survive abroad, without the presence of your loved ones around you.

You’ve conquered your fear of going back to school if you are an older student or a student mom and dad. and let’s not forget the fancy degree you bring home with you.

Just because your adventure living abroad has come to an end, that doesn’t mean you can’t thrive and have an amazing career back home.

But that won’t come easy. You need to do some kind of adjustment first. Below are what you need to do to get to hit the ground running as soon as you are back home from studying abroad:

1. Overcome Your Reverse Culture Shock As Soon As Possible

Reverse Culture Shock is a term used to describe the feelings (of surprise, disorientation, confusion, etc.) experienced when people return to their home country and find they do not fit in as they used to

It is simply a common reaction to returning home from studying abroad. It is an emotional and psychological stage of re-adjustment, similar to your initial adjustment to living abroad.

According to Bruce La Brack from the School of International Studies at the University of the Pacific, mentioned in the article in the link above, ex-pats returning home can expect their top re-entry challenges to be:

  • Boredom
  • No one wants to listen
  • You can’t explain
  • Reverse homesickness
  • Relationships have changed
  • People see negative changes
  • People misunderstand you
  • Feelings of alienation
  • Inability to apply new knowledge and skills
  • Loss/compartmentalization of experience

Chances are you’ve experienced reverse culture shock without even realizing it. Visiting other countries for just a few days may not affect you.

But if you visit them long enough for you to immerse yourself in the host country’s culture, you could experience reverse culture shock once you are back home.

But don’t worry, these feelings are temporary and completely normal although it may take time, you will begin a gradual adjustment back towards feeling comfortable with where and who you are.

Find ways to overcome your reverse culture shock,  You could try to explore your home country and pay visits to your families and friends, to try to reconnect again.

But most importantly, you need to understand and accept the fact that you are a different person after studying abroad. The sooner you accept this, the easier you move on with your life, and the faster your readjustment process will be.

2. Be Open to Re-Learning

You had skill sets before you study abroad, and now you are back with some brand-new ones. Value your skills, you worked hard for years and years for them anyways.

But remember to always learn something new. Once you hit home and bring your new fancy degree abroad, you will need to start your job hunting.

Thus, you need to be aware of the current trends and practices in your home country that might be significantly different than the trends and practices in your host country.

If you have been leaving home for quite some time, you will also need to update your knowledge of the rules and regulations in the industry of your area of expertise, as well as your home country’s government policies and other political situations related to the matters.

Search for courses or academies in your country that will allow you to keep up with your work, it will be much easier to find career opportunities when you’re an expert in your field and well-informed about the current technical, economic, cultural, and political situation in your home country.

3. Keep Some Saving for the Initial Period

Looking for a job might take some time, and moving is always costly, even more so if you’re doing it with a family since you are older students or student moms and dads.

Therefore, it is very important to be properly prepared for the period to come. Make sure you have saved enough funding to cover about 6-12 months of your living expenses after you move back home.

Having savings during the job search will help you make more calm and wise decisions for your career growth, instead of rushing and taking the first offer that comes your way since you are desperate to find a job.

4. Be Prepared, You May Have to Lower Your Salary Expectation.

If the country you lived in before when you study abroad had better work opportunities, better salary standards and offered a more lucrative benefits package, you might feel disappointed by the salary opportunities that your country offers.

Especially if the is a huge gap in the currency rate between your host and your home country, and a big difference in the living standards and quality of life.

Therefore, if you must return home after graduation, do good research on the current salary range in your field, back in your home country.

Try to stay positive and focus on the positive aspects of these changes, as some countries have lower salaries but offer better work-life balance or have lower living expenses.

Plus, now you will be closer to your family and friends again. That could be an added value, an intangible advantage that could benefit you, especially if you are an adult student and a student mom or dad, who previously had to study abroad and leave your spouse and child(ren) behind.

Back Home After Studying Abroad, Now What? 6 Things You Need to Do Immediately to Get You Hit the Ground Running

5. Highlight your expertise and find a workplace that will value it.

Having the opportunity to study abroad will give you plenty of advantages that will set you apart from your peers who never had the same privilege.

Therefore, you should never take for granted all the international and multicultural knowledge and experience you’ve gained from it.

Be open to any kind of opportunities, but also do not accept jobs that will diminish your abilities and motivation, the ones that you don’t passionate about, or challenge you in a way that will make you become better professionally and personally.

Be aware of your qualities, and do not fear searching for a position you deserve. Find the place to work that not only will give you a job, but also value your worth by giving you an opportunity to thrive and grow, and able to maximize your potential and international experiences.

6. Maintain and Grow Your Network

Even while being abroad, it is important that you keep your valuable connections such as your friends, former colleagues, professors, clients, and so on. They might come in handy when you return.

In fact, they even come in handy while you are still abroad. In my case, for example, I was a journalist and worked in the marketing and communication fields for years before I decided to go back to school and study abroad in Italy as an older student and a student mom.

While studying abroad, I did some live reports for a TV station in my country since my friend, who is a producer of a news program on the aforementioned TV station asked me to be a contributor and do live reports.

Having some good contacts in your home country is important as they can also share with you information regarding job opportunities or about new trends and practices, rules and regulations in the workplaces of your home country.

You could also grow your network by connecting with like-minded people. Internet and social media make it easy for you to find and contact the people you want to connect with, the ones with similar backgrounds as you, the ones already in a position or the job of your dream, and so on.

Contacting former ex-pats in your host country and your home country will also open doors to many opportunities.

Moreover, most likely they will understand your situation, having worked in either both countries, and could share with you their experiences and knowledge about working and living there.

University Application Timeline

Get the information you need about the university application deadlines for the September intake; what months do applications normally open, what you need to do during each step of the application process, and so on.

You can also get the IELTS / TOEFL and GMAT / GRE Study Plan, as well as useful tips to make your study preparation easier. In addition, get the Scholarship Application Timeline and give yourself ample time to prepare yourself!

Over to You…

You finished your study abroad and get your fancy degree. For one reason or another, you must pack your bags, and head home.

After living abroad for a long time, returning home can be an adventure in itself. The longer you have been away, the more it will take to get used to the mentality in your country.

Going back might sometimes feel like a reverse cultural shock and will take some adaptation time, but this can soon come to your benefit when looking for a job.

To make sure you will adjust immediately and hit the ground running as soon as you arrived home, you will need to overcome your reverse culture shock as soon as possible, be open to re-learning, keep some savings for the initial period until you find a job, and be prepared to lower your salary expectation.

You will also need to make sure to highlight your expertise and find a workplace that will value it and maintain and grow your network.

It takes time to adjust to a new culture after studying abroad — even when that culture is the one you grew up in!

Reverse culture shock is definitely real, and it’s okay if you’re experiencing it. Know that the phases will pass over time, and you will get through them.

So, if you have just returned from your study abroad, or are about to return home, don’t worry too much. with these tips and a better understanding of your experience, you will successfully navigate your return home.

No matter which experiences waiting for you next, you’re now equipped to handle it — and all the feelings that accompany the return home!

Thanks so much for reading. Pin and share them on social media please, it will mean the world to me.

Till next time!!!

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Back Home After Studying Abroad, Now What? 6 Things You Need to Do Immediately to Get You Hit the Ground Running