Processing Your International Experience
Returning home from your international experience gives you the opportunity to consider how your perspectives may have changed. Below are some questions taken from this website (http://international.nd.edu/education-abroad/for-returning-students/) that may help you wrap up your experience, and help you articulate what you have learned, and skills you have gained.
About the host culture:
- What have I learned while in the host culture(s) that I did not know previously? How has this changed my view of the host culture(s)?
- What was I able to learn about different aspects of the host culture(s) including non-academic areas; for instance, how are children and the elderly treated in the host culture(s)?
- What stereotypes did I have of the host culture(s) before I lived there? Have these changed in any way?
- Did I pick up any new stereotypes or biases? Are they valid?
- If I studied a language, how has that changed my views of the host culture(s)? Is my language study complete or do I need to study it further in order to perfect my language skills and understand the culture?
- What can I do to continue deepening my understanding of the host culture(s)?
About your home culture:
- How have my attitudes about my home culture changed? What has caused these changes?
- By being abroad and able to compare my culture with a different culture(s), what have I learned about the history, values and traditions that make up my home culture?
- What can I do to continue deepening my understanding of my home culture?
- How have I changed during the sojourn abroad? Do I feel more confident, independent or cosmopolitan? How can I express these changes to my friends and family in a non-threatening manner?
- How have my personal values changed because of my experience?
How to Market Your Experience for Grad School or Jobs:
- What new skills do I possess? For example: knowledge of a different culture(s), adaptation skills, second-language proficiency, creative problem-solving, tolerance, increased human relations skills, etc.
- In what ways can I apply what I learned abroad for personal, academic or career-related development?