Returning to UNC
Welcome home and congratulations on successfully completing what we hope has been one of the most enriching and exciting periods of your undergraduate career! The CIE-Study Abroad Office would love to hear from you, see your photos, and learn about your adventures abroad.
One of the hardest things about coming home is the fact that you are no longer overseas. Your return will be full of ups and downs as you readjust to life in the U.S. Be patient and give yourself some time.
Now that you're back, your education abroad experience doesn't have to end. There are several ways to stay international on campus. Use the resources below to learn how to articulate your experience in order to help you start your career. We encourage you to use these resources to keep your international experience alive.
- Re-Entry Adjustment
How long and how intensely a student experiences reverse culture show can depend on many factors, such as length of time away, previous travel abroad, and frequency of communication with people back home while abroad. There are several common challenges students face when returning home. Students and parents/friends alike should be prepared for a re-acclimation process and should be patient with one another. Reverse Culture Shock has 3 primary phases:
- Honeymoon: During this phase you are excited to be at home and other people are happy to have you back. Your friends and family are interested to hear about your time abroad and see your photos.
- Alienation: In this stage, you’ll feel that people would rather talk about what happened to them while you were away than listen to your stories. You may start to feel bored because your familiar environment does not seem as exciting as your study abroad program was. You may feel like a foreigner in your own home. Your perspectives and interests have broadened and may be different than they used to be, and your lifestyle may have changed to accommodate those new perspectives.
- Gradual Readjustment: Gradually, you will readjust to being at home. The shock of returning does dissipate with time and patience.
The best way to approach re-entry is to expect differences. People, home or abroad, will have changed with time--just like yourself. Part of the re-entry process will include finding a new lifestyle to combine the best of your old life and your new life.
One way to ease the re-entry process is to get engaged in international activities at UNC (see below for ideas), consider studying abroad again, or use your skills and experiences gained to pursue other international opportunities post graduation.
- Administrative Issues
You should expect your credits from abroad to show up in your Ursa approximately two to three months after your program ends. We typically receive transcripts from host schools in September/October (spring/summer programs) or March/April (fall programs). Some schools may take even longer to send transcripts. One official transcript is sent to us and must be kept on file here at UNC. When your transcript does arrive, your credits will be posted on your Ursa. Having all your courses approved BEFORE transcripts are received will expedite the process.
If you need additional transcripts, or if you think you may need them in the future, for employment or graduate school, contact your program provider or host school directly to order them. UNC cannot provide you with an official transcript for your host institution. Many graduate schools are now requiring original international transcripts at the time of application, so it might be a good idea to order an extra for your records.
Immediately following your study abroad experience, you will receive a letter indicating you have been put on financial aid suspension. This occurs due to differences in transcript processing. Transcripts from abroad are sent to UNC after on-campus grades have been processed. Once this occurs, the computer system issues financial aid suspension letters to students who have not made adequate progress toward their degrees.
In order to receive financial aid on schedule the semester following your program abroad, you need to do the following:
- Get a letter of Completion from your Host Coordinator on your host school letter head that includes the following
- "[Your Name] has satisfactorily completed her study abroad courses for [Semester Year]." Include those exact words on the letter with your name, semester and year inserted. Your host coordinator can include the courses you took and credits if he/she feels necessary.
- The letter must be signed and dated with the name and title of the individual.
- Bring a hard copy fo this letter back with you to provide to the Office of Financial Aid.
- Complete the Financial Aid Ineligibility Appeal Form
- Type up the letter that sates the following: "I, [Your Name], Bear ID: xxx-xxx-xxx, am on financial aid suspension and requesting to be removed because I studied abroad in Fall 2013 and my international transcripts had not yet been received by the Office of the Registrar."
- Bring all documents to Justin Davis in the Office of Financial Aid as soon as you return to campus or fax it to them when you arrive home. For those of you staying for the academic year and plan to receive financial aid, please fax forms to Justin Davis in order for your aid to be released for the next semester.
- Get a letter of Completion from your Host Coordinator on your host school letter head that includes the following information:
- Get Involved on Campus
- Study Abroad Fair: Participate in one of our biggest events of the year--the UNC Study Abroad Fair & World Expo. We want you to share your experiences with other UNC students who are interested in studying abroad. You're the best spokespeople for your programs and the study abroad experience as a whole. Help us promote the fair, staff the tables, hang posters, and more! If interested, email the CIE-Study Abroad Office
- Study Abroad Peer Advisors: Become a Study Abroad Peer Advisor and get paid to help promote study abroad. Almost every semester we're looking for energetic, passionate, personable students to help advise students about starting the study abroad application process. Check the Facebook group for job postings.
- Photos/Stories/Blogs: Share your experiences! We want to see your photos! Every semester we hold the Globetrotter Photo Contest for students who have studied abroad. Win prizes. We always need volunteers for our pre-departure orientations. Remember how helpful these volunteers were before you went abroad? Pay it forward!
- International Ambassadors: Did you have a "buddy" at your host school? Do you want to help make an international student's experience at UNC dynamite? This program will connect you with an international student here on campus. You will show then how to thrive at UNC, in Colorado, and the U.S. Make international friends in Greeley. Sign up to be an International Ambassador at UNC.
- Residential Learning Community: Global Village Community: Planning on staying on campus when you return? Not able to just sign a 6-month lease? Then, live in the coolest residential learning community at UNC. Global Village is focused on international living and exploring college experiences with a global lens. Students have the opportunity to live with domestic and international students interested in studying abroad. Students explore culture through food exchanges and create connections that last a lifetime. Learn more about Global Village.
- UNC Clubs: UNC has over 100 clubs on campus that cover the gamut of student interests. Check out some of the cultural clubs like African Culture Club, Brazilian Student International Club, Chinese Cultural Club, First Nations, French Club, German Club, the Hawaii Clubs, Saudi Club, among many others.
UNC Cultural Centers: The cultural centers provide UNC students information to social, cultural, and educational events throughout the UNC community related represented cultural groups.
- Marketing your International Experience
UNC Career Services
Visit the UNC Career Services and have an advisor help you refine your resume/CV, find a job, prepare for interviews, etc.
Lessons From Abroad-Rocky Mountain Region
This annual conference brings together study abroad returnees from across the region usually in February. The conference allows returnees to meet other students and provides educational, professional, and personal resources for education abroad returnees.
Resume Tips: Utilizing Your International Experience
Learn some strategic tips on how to highlight your international experience on your resume/CV, in a cover letter, and in an interview.
- Going Abroad Again