As your student’s support system before they go abroad and when they return home, you may be the person they lean on during the predeparture stage, and also who they decompress with during the re-entry process. Knowing what to expect in both these transitionary times is necessary in supporting your student through this hugely transformative experience.

Navigating Transitions

Studying abroad is a rewarding adventure that reaps many academic and personal benefits. But it is important to understand that the study abroad experience does not end when your student returns home.

Information on the Stages of Transition and the 10 Re-entry Challenges is intended to help you understand your student’s experience in remembering, analyzing, and interpreting their time abroad.

The stages of Transition depicted below are adapted in part from the works of Margaret Pusch and other leaders in the field of study abroad and are intended as a guide to help students and their parents understand the experience of cultural adaptation. Students may pass through these stages in a different order or skip some stages altogether. As your student encounters these stages, listen, praise accomplishments, and offer support. Try not to make cultural or value judgments. Instead, ask about differences and try to understand them together.

a chart showing the stages of transition throughout the study abroad process

Stages of Transition

Ten Immediate Re-Entry Challenges