This post is part of a series on professional development co-sponsored by Experience.com
You can gain many valuable skills through study abroad, learn how to articulate them and leverage your experience while job hunting!
Coming home can be a little bit overwhelming, you’ll be excited to see your friends and families for the first time, and you probably won’t get a chance to relax right away. Here’s a tip: after you’ve spent a couple days catching up with everyone, take a day off. Go somewhere relaxing by yourself, this could be the beach, a park, coffee shop, or even staying in your room, wherever! The point is to give yourself a chance to wind down. Think about the experience you just had, and what being back home means.
If you kept a journal while you were abroad, take advantage of this record or your feelings. How has your memory changed of the experiences you wrote about? You may want to rewrite your journal (or start a new one if you didn’t write one while you were away) including additional information about the day or location and your comments looking back and reflecting on what you wrote. It could be beneficial to combine your photos and journal into a scrapbook or a formal presentation. Even if you don’t have the venue to show your presentation, the process of making it will allow you to decide what was important in your trip, and what parts exemplify the experience the best.
If none of your friends and family have gone abroad, seek out peers that have shared a similar experience, they will be just as eager as you are to talk about it! It is important to talk to people and hear their different views, they may help you put your experience into perspective. Ask others how they are connecting their experiences to their life back home and their future careers, this may inspire you to do the same. You may want to join the international club at your school, this way you will be sure to be around people who have similar interests, and an outlet to discuss your time abroad.
Basically, talk to everyone that is interested! This will help to emphasize what is salient in your experience, it will keep the experience alive and at the front of your memory, you may remember new details, trials and tribulations while telling a story and realize a life lesson only through reflection. By continuing to reflect you are making the next Connect phase a lot easier!