Every student will experience some degree of "culture shock" during his or her time abroad. It is important for family and friends to recognize the signs and symptoms and remain supportive. If you receive frequent email or phone calls, you may recognize a change from "everything is great" to "this place is awful". It takes a while to settle in and begin to put things in perspective. If your student seems stuck in a negative mindset, try to remain positive and supportive. Usually the student is just venting to someone who understands. Encourage him or her to speak to a faculty director, host coordinator, or fellow international students about these feelings. However, if you truly believe your student is having trouble, please contact our office immediately so we may investigate the situation.
Coming home can be just as difficult. This is particularly true for students who spend a semester or year abroad. It will take a bit of time to re-adjust. Your student will have grown personally and will not be the same child you said goodbye to at the airport. Your student may feel frustrated because he or she has changed so much, but everything at home is still exactly the same. Be patient and allow your student time to share stories and memories from their time abroad. Eventually, they will fall back into step with life in the US.
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