It is common to go through a period of transition upon returning home after you graduate - sometimes called “re-entry shock” or “reverse culture shock.” For some people, this process can be even more challenging than the initial adjustment to Canada. Fortunately, you can take steps to make your transition a purposeful one.
Before you return home
- Write or talk to friends about your experiences in Canada. This will help you recognize and hold onto what you have learned and how you have changed.
- Prepare for your departure: say goodbyes and celebrate your departure with friends and colleagues. Consider organizing a celebration party, or write letters to those who impacted you during your time at UBC.
- Visit your favorite places one last time. Take photos and ask yourself what you have learned here that you want to incorporate into the next part of your life. Select souvenirs, real and symbolic, that will help you and your friends stay connected to this time you spent in Canada.
- Plan for the details of your return home, including living arrangements, finances, career, and academic plans. Imagine what it might be like to be home and start looking forward to your next steps.
Once you're home
Returning home it different for everyone - it can be a time of reunion and celebration, but it can also feel lonely. It may be difficult to explain your experiences at UBC. You may not notice how much you have changed until you return home and suddenly find you do not fit into your old life as easily as you expected.
If you feel discouraged or frustrated when you return home, remember that these feelings are normal and will likely diminish as you adjust to life at home. Be patient and remember that most students reap great benefits from international study, despite the challenge of returning home. The experiences you had at UBC will be with you for a lifetime, so take time to thoughtfully integrate them into your life now. If you do find that you have difficulty coping when you return home, consider talking to someone who can help or understands.
- Cultural Re-Adjustment, in Essential Guide to Study Abroad: Advice for returning students from the University of Colorado at Boulder, featuring top re-entry challenges and strategies for cultural re-adjustment
- Cross-Cultural Adjustments during Reentry (Resources for Parents) on the University of Minnesota website
- Re-Entry Shock: Torn Between Two Cultures, PDF available on the NYU website