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Planning Ahead: Emotional Steps

Many international students have already returned to their home countries and you should make use of their personal experience and advice in preparing for your own return. The more people you can hear from or talk to who have gone through the “returnee” experience, the more prepared you will feel in facing your own return.

Get the names and contact information of other students who have studied in the U.S. and returned to your country so that you can contact them and share and compare your experiences as international students. ISI representatives can help you get this information. After returning home, this opportunity to talk with others who have had similar experiences will be valuable to you. While your friends and family may try to be understanding, they probably cannot relate to what you have gone through.

Upon returning home, many international students have struggled with feeling judgmental and critical of certain things in their native countries since living in the U.S. You will see things through new eyes because of your broader perspective, and the temptation to compare everything can leave you depressed and negative. What used to seem normal before may be hard to accept as part of life. Prepare yourself by thinking through the things that you may have become used to while in the U.S. that you cannot expect back at home. Some of these issues might include cleanliness, privacy, noise, friendliness, pace and independence.

Talking with other people who have recently come to the U.S. from your home country will allow you to catch up on current events, changes and knowing what to expect back at home. Their more up-to-date interactions and observations of life back home can help you adjust your expectations according to the changing times.