Returning to the United States and to Cal Poly doesn't mean the end of your study abroad journey: your experiences abroad will have a long-lasting impact on you—personally, academically, and professionally.
As you first return from your time abroad, you may find yourself experiencing reverse culture shock or re-entry shock. Just as you needed time to adapt to your host culture abroad, you also need to give yourself time to adjust to life back in the U.S.. Remember, you have changed—you’ve grown, challenged yourself, developed new skills, interests, and points of view—and that will affect both how you move through your home life and how people you know interact with you. Give yourself, and others, time to adjust. See the Re-Entry section for tips and guidance.
When you return to Cal Poly, you'll need to make sure your abroad coursework transfers in properly. While this happens automatically for almost all students, there are a few things to keep in mind. If you participated in a Partner Program, be sure that your account with that program is clear: they can withhold your transcript if there is still a balance owed. If you want to use any of your abroad coursework to meet GE or major/minor requirements but did not submit the proper substitution forms before you left, do so now. See our Academic Planning page for instructions on how to submit courses for review and approval.
As you return to campus, consider how you can build on your abroad experiences and remain internationally engaged. Join some clubs, apply to be a study abroad Peer Mentor or ambassador for your program, continue studying a language, or consider studying abroad again. The International Center is always happy to have returned study abroad students help at our fairs, information sessions, and presentations for incoming students and parents.
Study abroad can be an important boost to your career, so learn how to market your study abroad experience and connect with Career Services to learn how best to highlight the skills you have gained on our resume and in interviews.
Thinking a bit more long term, explore ways in which you might go abroad again, perhaps through a prestigious post-baccalaureate fellowship program or by teaching or volunteering abroad.
Student Ombuds Services
Having academic/policy/personal issues related to your recent study abroad experience and need an unbiased resource to lean on? Know that there are many resources on campus that can help you out, including Student Ombuds Services! The Ombuds will help you explore different ways to address your conflict, problematic issue, or any concern. It is a safe place to express yourself privately and informally.
- If you are feeling overwhelmed about a situation, want your voice heard, need to understand a university policy, or are looking for a different perspective on a given issue, the Ombuds is eager to assist. Come with a problem. Leave with a plan.
- You can reach, Patricia Ponce, Student Ombuds in person, by phone, email, or Zoom Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 805-756-1380, firstname.lastname@example.org, Graphic Arts, 26-111.