Lessons from Abroad Returnee Conference
What happens after cross-cultural?
“My cross-cultural experience in Morocco made me realize just how much simplicity and relationships with people make my life more fulfilled and joyful…My internship during my cross-cultural semester in D.C. helped me realize that I wanted to do social justice work in the city, so I volunteered with Mennonite Voluntary Service after I graduated. All three of these life experiences have taught me that I can live with less and be more joyful, that every person, culture, and city contains beauty and truth, and that group living is a deeply rewarding experience. I am so thankful for my cross-cultural experiences because they led me to seek the peace of this amazing city.”
–Megan Grove, 2011 EMU graduate served with Mennonite Voluntary Service in Manhattan, New York.
Other Cross-Cultural Opportunities
If you have already earned your cross-cultural credits, you may also find interesting opportunities through alternative programs or Washington Community Scholars’ Center. Consider connecting with previous cross-cultural participants through stories and recipes found on Cross Cultural Recipes, a 2012 senior seminar project.
Reverse Culture Shock
Just as students go through a process of disorientation at the start of their cross-cultural studies, so too do they experience this disorientation upon their return. We know that every student is different, and will make sense of their experiences individually.
While faculty leaders help the group through debriefing activities, students find there is more to process after returning home or to campus. You may experience difficulty communicating how your experiences have changed you, but also want to begin exploring ways to embody the global understanding you have gained.
EMU offices in student life and academics continue to serve students upon completion of their cross-cultural experience.
There is also an excellent online resource available for returning students at worldlearning.org. Families may find the “readjustment manual for parents” has some useful ideas in supporting the needs of students at various stages after their return home.