Welcome back to the United States! We hope you had a wonderful experience studying and living in another country. No doubt your campus may seem a tad boring after the excitement and novelty of Madrid, Katmandu, or London. These feelings are quite normal. Reentering your home culture can be just as difficult as adjusting to your host culture when you went abroad; and for some students, it may be even more challenging. We hope this guide gives you some good ideas on how to have a successful transition back to life in the U.S. and the Wagner campus, and how to continue your international journey and exploration through activities here or more travels abroad.
As a study abroad returnee, there are many ways for you to share your experiences with others. Publishing them is not only beneficial for the reader, but great experience for you and your resume! Here are some websites where you can share your wonderful experience:
- Abroad View encourages study abroad and international students to submit articles to “Abroad View” at any time.
- Transitions Abroad is a magazine for travelers, especially for those seeking to extend their time abroad through work, study, and/or finding the best bargains.
- National Geographic is a national organization that holds annual photo contests.
- Contests Through Your Program Provider/Study Abroad Office: Many program providers and Wagner’s Center for Intercultural Advancement (CICA) have a SA photo contest for students who were recently abroad. Check the program and the CICA websites for information and deadlines.
Resume: The goal of a resume is to demonstrate to potential employers that you would be valuable to their organization and to ultimately generate a job interview.
- Include your time abroad somewhere! Decide how relevant it is to your resume objective. It is most commonly placed in the education section or related experience of your resume.
- Highlight accomplishments from your study abroad time.
- Market your transferable skills from study abroad: time management, adaptability, self-reliance, independence, language proficiency.
Cover Letter: Cover letters are used when you are directly replying to a job announcement you have found. The purpose of a cover letter is to get the prospective employer to read your resume more thoroughly. The cover letter is a marketing tool to communicate your value to the employer. Be sure to write a targeted cover letter for each job you apply for.
Here is an example of a successful cover letter.
There are a variety of ways to go abroad again after you have graduated. Even on a tight budget, work, volunteer and independent study opportunities are readily available to you. The information below is intended to provide an overview of some of the options.
- Study Abroad: Most students go for an education abroad for one semester. As a Wagner student, you can go abroad for a maximum of two semesters. However, if you are no longer an undergraduate, there are other ways to study abroad – such as studying abroad for or during a master’s degree program.
- Graduate School Abroad: There are several ways to do post-graduate studies abroad. One option is to apply and enroll directly and another is to go through an American organization that facilitates full degree programs abroad. In the following sections, you will find information about scholarship programs, fellowships, and other tips on graduate school abroad.
- Studying Abroad while in Graduate School in the US: More and more universities are offering study abroad opportunities for graduate students. Look into this while researching grad schools! Another option is to plan to do research for your degree abroad. Be sure to ask graduate school recruiters about opportunities to intern, study or research abroad.
- Internships Abroad: there are lots of ways to find internships abroad. Just like at home, some internships pay, others do not, and some even require you to pay for the arrangements of the internship. You may find leads on internships abroad through
- Center for Intercultural Advancement
- The Center for Academic and Career Engagement (CACE)
- Other work or volunteer abroad resources
Restoration projects, literacy campaigns, and teaching are just a few examples of the many different volunteer programs abroad. Some programs charge a fee and provide services such as insurance coverage, meals, and even housing. (It may sound strange to pay to volunteer, but it sometimes ensures that your experience will be what you’re hoping it will be.) Some opportunities provide free room and board in exchange for your work, and others even pay a small stipend.
Here are some resources for searching for volunteering opportunities:
1) Try to identify your areas of interest: A specific career or field? Business, social justice, foreign policy, development studies, education, health, the Arts, etc.
2) If you’re focused on a certain career or field: Conduct informational interviews – it helps to learn about the job, the field, and ways to get a job. It also helps to make contacts in the field that could lead to jobs in the future! You can also Look for any professional organizations or conferences in the field
3) If your goal is to go abroad again and you’re open about where, how, when: Spend a lot of time surfing the internet (don’t let yourself get overwhelmed – remember moderation and a positive attitude!) Make a point to create a network of contacts of:
- Interesting people
- Anyone with expertise in an area you’re interested in; if you know what you want, tell the world and see if anyone can refer you to anyone else!
Keep building your experiences here so that your background experience and resume will help you take advantage of the opportunities you’re interested in.
4) Get involved locally – look for organizations that address your interests: through Students clubs, internships, professors, alumni networks.
Short-Term work Abroad
Short-term work abroad (less than one year; typically a summer) usually involves working in an unskilled job, where you can earn enough to cover your food, lodging, and day-to-day living expenses. Through BUNAC (www.bunac.org) and CIEE (www.ciee.org), you can cut through some red tape and obtain documentation that allows you to work from three months to one year in another country. No special skills are required, but you must speak the language of the country. Other work abroad resources:
There are many opportunities to teach English abroad through established programs. Most programs prefer a commitment of one academic year, though some offer summer or semester possibilities. In general, a bachelor’s degree is required, although in most cases you do not need to be an English major.
Resources for teaching English
1- If you want to read more about any section on this page, please feel free to download the Returnee Handbook
2- AustraLearn: Study in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific AustraLearn provides multiple opportunities for students looking for further international experience.
3- Volunteer Adventures: The mission of Volunteer Adventures is to create and promote volunteer opportunities that improve the lives of others and the environment in which we live. We seek to achieve this goal by connecting volunteers with worthy local projects around the world.
4- School for International Training: The mission of the ‘School for International Training’ is to prepare students to be interculturally effective leaders, professionals, and citizens. In so doing, SIT fosters a worldwide network of individuals and organizations committed to responsible global citizenship.
5- World Teach: is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that provides opportunities for individuals to make a meaningful contribution to international education by living and working as volunteer teachers in developing countries.