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Study Abroad Returnees


Welcome Home Study Abroad Alumni!                  
You are probably returning home energized with new perspectives and you may even be a little confused and overwhelmed.  Now that you are back, we hope to see you continue your journey and transfer the skills you’ve gained abroad towards becoming effective global citizens!

We also understand that transitioning back into the U.S. can come with many challenges.  We hope this website will provide you with some valuable resources as you are slowly easing back into life here at MTSU.  Please feel free to stop by PH 207 with any questions or concerns.


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Evaluation
Now that you have returned from your study abroad experience, filled with new insights and a better understanding of the world, we would like you to take a few minutes and give us some feedback about your program. 

Link: Education Abroad Evaluation 

Please return to PH 207 or scan and email to educationabroad@mtsu.edu.


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Graduation Sashes
The Office of Education Abroad believes you should proudly display your education abroad experience whenever possible. One of the best opportunities to do so is at graduation with international sashes. All MTSU Education Abroad alumni can have their own sash representing the country in which they studied abroad to adorn their graduation regalia. You can order a sash with 1-4 country flags. The sashes range in prices from $30.95 - $60.95 + tax & shipping. Click the link below to search for your country's flag.

Order your graduation sash here!


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Reverse Culture Shock 
As you become integrated into the study abroad country's culture, it may be more difficult to re-adapt to the United States upon return home. The United States just won't look the same way it did before leaving to study abroad.  You may view home with new eyes and may also be more critical of U.S. cultural traditions once thought to be "normal".  As you may have gone through a period of adjustment in your study abroad country, you may have a similar period of readjustment upon coming home. (Adapted from The Center for Global Education's online Study Abroad Student Handbook)

Please know that this is a normal part of the study abroad experience! You may want to extend your cultural experience by staying engaged in activities that allow your to stay connected such as joining a cultural or language group on campus, blogging or writing, or becoming involved with the exchange and international students on campus. Some students return from their study abroad program and join our Global Ambassador program to share their experiences and inspire other students.  

You may find helpful: 
What's up with culture? Module 2 is for returning students 

The MTSU Counseling Services Office is free to MTSU students and confidential.  You may want to visit if you find yourself with feelings of anxiety, frustration, depression, or difficulty readjusting.  

Take care of your health.  If you become sick after returning, tell your health care provider that you have traveled outside of the U.S. 
  • Because some diseases have a long incubation period, you may not be sick until after you return 
  • If you studied abroad in a country with a high incidence of TB, schedule a tuberculosis skin test at MTSU Health Services 
Two of our Global Ambassadors created a great culture shock/reverse culture shock video that you might find useful as you readjust.  They explain the process of culture shock and reverse culture shock quite well: MTSU Office of Education Abroad, Culture Shock 


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Advice for staying connected
  • Get involved with various global student organizations at MTSU: Student Organizations & Service 
  • Apply with the Office of Education Abroad to be a Global Ambassador or an International Buddy (see information below)
  • Add a global component to your degree: 
    • Foreign Languages 
    • International Relations 
    • Global Studies 
    • Religious Studies 
    • Interdisciplinary Minors (Russian Studies, African Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Jewish & Holocaust Studies, International Affairs, etc..) 
    • Study abroad again!
    • The Life After Study Abroad website 
You may want to join NAFSA, the Association of International Educators with a student membership.  Learn about career opportunities, participate in programs & events, connect and network with professionals and other students, review research & policy in the field, and more. 

For language learning if you would like to study abroad again you may be interested in the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) which provides intensive language and cultural immersion in select locations. 

For staying connected after graduation, please see the Going Forward section below. 


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MTSU Global Ambassador Program 
The Global Ambassador program at MTSU is a volunteer opportunity offered through the Office of Education Abroad that is designed to engage MTSU study abroad students who have participated in an MTSU study program.  Global Ambassadors work with Office of Education Abroad staff to promote study abroad opportunities. Global Ambassadors have a chance to earn a graduation sash and gain valuable experience (which can be added to a resumé or CV!).  

What does a Global Ambassador do?
As a student representative of the OEA a Global Ambassador will learn from our office staff and will utilize this knowledge plus their own personal experiences to conduct classroom presentations and assist with a number of OEA events.  

Recent Global Ambassador activities include: 
  • Study Abroad Fair 
  • 'Boro International Fair 
  • Classroom presentations (on campus) 
  • Peer advising in the Office of Education Abroad 
  • Tabling 
  • Assisting with Pre-Departure Orientations 
  • Creating and sharing on social media 
  • Assisting (and making friends with!) incoming exchange students and international students 
Please see the PDF document about the MTSU Global Ambassador Program 

How can I apply?
We recruit Global Ambassadors for the Fall and Spring terms approximately one semester early.  Our office will email all returning/study abroad alumni once the application cycle opens but you are always welcome to contact us to indicate your interest.  All applications are online on our website. 

Questions?
Office of Education Abroad Director Katherine Kovar - Katherine.Kovar@mtsu.edu
Education Abroad Advisor Melissa Miller Melissa.Miller@mtsu.edu
Or, stop by our office in Peck Hall 207. 


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International Buddy Program 
We hope that you had an amazing time on your program abroad and that you met students from your abroad host university that helped you ease your transition into the new culture.  Now you can reciprocate with a warm welcome for an international exchange student here at MTSU! 

Each year we have about 40 incoming exchange students that come to MTSU for either a semester or academic year. If possible, we try to match you up with a student who is from the same or similar location to where you studied or who shares similar interests and backgrounds.  The goal of the program is to help exchange students adjust to MTSU, to foster new friendships and a sense of community, and to facilitate cultural exchange.


Incoming exchange students often arrive knowing no one and having little with them to settle into life at MTSU.   We would like to extend MTSU generosity and spirit to these students when they arrive and during their time here. 

MTSU Buddies often help by:
  • Providing tips about navigating on or around campus 
  • Sharing and attending campus events together 
  • Answering questions about the Student Union, dining, library, and other campus venues 
  • Showing them the Campus Rec options 
  • Going to coffee or shopping 
  • Finding a local concert
  • Driving to Walmart for residence hall supplies 
  • Going to the movies 
  • Picking them up from the airport on arrival day 
  • Sharing your favorite restaurants or shops 
  • Introducing them to your friends and to campus groups you belong to
  • And more! 

We expect that all MTSU Buddies will contact their exchange student match via email before they arrive to introduce themselves and start a dialogue between the two of you. They may ask what types of clothes to pack, what the residence halls and campus are like, and what to expect of MTSU, Murfreesboro, and the United States. MTSU Buddies should be available at least once the week prior to classes in either the Spring or Fall semester to meet their Buddy in person.  As a Buddy, you are welcome to attend any of our International Welcome Week events with all our exchange and international students.   

Often, the Buddy Program creates lasting cross-cultural friendships! 


For more information, please contact Melissa Miller at Melissa.Miller@mtsu.edu

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Adding study abroad experience to your resumé or CV
Yes, your experience was "eye-opening" and "life-changing" but how can you better articulate the skills you've gained effectively?  Read this helpful Re-entry Presentation for some advice on how to talk about your education abroad experience in an interview and look at some sample resumés.  


Resources 
Graduate Programs of Interest 
Fellowships and Grants