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Staying Engaged

Coming home doesn't mean that you are no longer engaged in education abroad and graduating from Cal Poly doesn't mean that your only option for international engagement is the occasional overseas vacation. Your abroad experience has made you more capable, more curious, and more aware of the world of opportunities that are out there, if you just look for them.

So, get involved!  Check out the suggestions below on how you can stay involved and remain connected to your study abroad experience both on and off campus.  Taking an active role in the international community will help you adjust to being back in the United States and give you a way to meet other people who value study abroad the way you do.

By being engaged, you'll continue to build on the skills you learned abroad.  Learn more about how to market your study abroad experiences; explore post-baccalaureate fellowship programs that can help you return abroad; and maybe think about other ways to go abroad again, like teaching or volunteering abroad.
Become a returnee contact
Another great way you can get involved is to become part of our returnee contact program.  This program allows advisors at the International Center to post your contact information on our website so that students who are interested in the program and country you studied in can contact you with questions. Talking to prospective students will give you an opportunity to share your stories, insights, and tips from your experience abroad.  This is a low commitment way to stay connected.  If you are interested, email us at 

Apply to be a Peer Advisor
Cal Poly Study Abroad Peer Advisors are often study abroad alumni and, although they are trained to advise on all of our study abroad programs, they bring their own experiences to bear in talking with students about going abroad. Interested? Learn more about the position and apply

Volunteer at the International Center
If applying to be a Peer Advisor is not quite what you want, you can connect with the International Center in other ways.
  • ‚ÄčAttend the Study Abroad Fair: Work a table for your program during the next Study Abroad fair!  There are lots of opportunities to help out. Study Abroad Fairs are held twice a year.  
  • Attend a Pre-Departure Orientation Event: Share your experience and tips with students about to depart on their study abroad adventure!  Each Fall and Spring we hold pre-departure meetings for each of our respective programs.  We are always looking for study abroad returnees to attend and briefly discuss their study abroad experiences.  Students love to ask returnees questions; after all, you are the best ones to ask! 

Join the International Welcome Ambassadors program
The International Welcome Ambassadors Program brings international and domestic Cal Poly students together to share their culture and develop friendships. International Welcome Ambassadors (IWAs) provide a support system to assist new international students with adapting to life in California. In return, IWAs get to learn about life in other countries, make many new friends, and create long-lasting relationships with people all around the globe. For more information, visit the International Student Programs page; to apply, contact (the application cycle opens in February/March each year).

Join one of Cal Poly’s many cultural organizations         
For a full list of organizations, visit the Cal Poly NOW site.

Join a language group or conversation table
If you want to continue speaking the language you studied while abroad, look into joining a language group in San Luis Obispo! This will give you an opportunity to meet other people in the community who want to practice their foreign language skills.  Don’t see your language here? Create your own group at
  • SLO County Spanish Conversational Group
    “This group is for people who are wanting to practice and grow in their conversational Spanish. We want to get together to practice Spanish, share knowledge, resources, and experiences, and to enjoy each other in a variety of settings. We will try and meet on a weekly basis to practice our Spanish.”
  • WLC Conversation Tables
    Check the World Languages & Cultures website for up-to-date information on language conversation tables happening around campus. These are informal meetups where Cal Poly students can practice their language skills. In the past, there have been conversation tables for Russian, Spanish, German, Vietnamese, and Italian!

Stay engaged with your program provider. 
Many of Cal Poly’s Partner Programs have opportunities for alumni, including being a campus ambassador for your program, sharing your stories, or getting a small grant to off-set the cost of hosting a campus event.  For Cal Poly Global Programs, you can help with recruitment at the Study Abroad Fair, in information sessions, and through classroom visits.

Engage in social networking
Start a Facebook group for your program and keep in touch with friends you met abroad! Some programs have Facebook groups online already! (Click the links below.)

Attend a conference
Attend a Lessons from Abroad Study Abroad Returnee Conference in San Francisco or Los Angeles!