Returning to UA
Both students and their friends and family may underestimate the changes students experience abroad and expect the students to pick up where they were before leaving. Reentry and reverse culture shock can be a little different for students returning than the culture shock they experienced in the host country. Study Abroad and the Office of International Programs as a whole are committed to helping students with both transitions.
Below are 3 easy steps students can take to readjust to being home.
1. Acknowledge it
Just as with culture shock in the host country, the first step to dealing with reverse culture shock is to acknowledge that it is occurring.
2. Maintain communication
Keeping in contact with friends and colleagues met in the host country is an important way to keep in touch with one’s education abroad experience.
3. Get connected
The University of Akron sends approximately 200 students abroad each year and plays host to approximately 1300 international students. All of these students will have experiences similar to one’s own and be able to empathize and support the reentry process.
There are also a number of ways to be involved in internationally oriented activities on and around campus. They include:
A student organization for students returning from Education Abroad experiences. Often, when returning from abroad, you will experience a reverse culture shock which your friends and family may not relate to. Connect with other students who have been abroad and share your experience while re-integrating into your home culture.
Jennifer Dixon, SAS Advisor
firstname.lastname@example.org | 330-972-8615
Kenan Sprague, SAS President
Internationally and Culturally Based Student Groups
A number of different internationally and culturally based student groups exist on campus, which students can find through OrgSync. These include two advised by members of the Office of International Programs: Foreign Affairs and International Relations (FAIR) and the Korean Language Exchange Club.
Conversation Partners and Conversation Exchange Programs
The University of Akron’s English Language Institute (ELI) offers both the Conversation Partners and Conversation Exchange Programs. The former matches native English-speakers with international students learning English for informal conversations in English. The latter is similar, but will match a student learning a particular language (e.g. Spanish) with an international student who speaks that language natively in order to facilitate language exchange.
Each October, Confucius Institute at The University of Akron sponsors China Week, a series of cultural events, presentations and lectures centered on China.
Northeast Ohio has a number of internationally oriented community organizations with which students may involve themselves. Below is a brief list:
Akron International Friendship (AIF)
Akron International Friendship’s mission is to “[strengthen] academic, corporate, organizational and personal links between Northeast Ohio and the world” and seeks for its volunteers to be “citizen diplomats”. Among AIF’s many activities are hosting international visitors and organizing such events as meet and greet receptions, interfaith and multicultural discussions, and pot luck meals.
Asian Services in Action, Inc. (ASIA)
Asian Services in Action’s mission is “to empower and advocate for Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders (AAPIs); and to provide AAPIs access to quality, culturally, and linguistically appropriate information and services”. It provides low or no-cost services in a number of areas, including translation, community health promotion and youth programming.
Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF)
Held in March, CIFF “promotes artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition to enrich the life of the community” and “[presents] the newest and best films from around the world, [doing] everything in [their] power to make sure that [the] audience learns something along the way, about other cultures, about the topic at hand, [and] about the experience from the filmmakers themselves.”
International Institute of Akron (IIA)
“Founded in 1916, the International Institute of Akron (IIA) is a non-profit agency that provides services to the foreign-born in Akron and the Summit County…community. [Their] mission is to contribute to the well-being of our community by creating and implementing programs and services to assist the foreign born to integrate into our society, to promote public awareness of the value of ethnic diversity, and to encourage international communication.”
Through Meetup.com, students can find a number of internationally or culturally themed social groups in Northeast Ohio.