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Information for returned students

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Welcome back to Monash

Welcome back to Monash and Australia after your life-changing, friend-making, career-enhancing adventure overseas. You are no doubt having mixed emotions about being home – excited to see friends and family, but missing the local patisserie down the road from your flat in Paris. Either way, Monash Abroad is here to support you while you re-integrate back into your old life and finish your studies at Monash.

Cultural re-adjustment

Reverse culture shock can last longer than the culture shock you experienced while you are away. After all, you were overseas for a relatively short while and your experiences abroad will shape the person you become for years to come. So allow yourself time to get used to being back home and to process the experience you have just had.

The toolkit for returning students identifies "re-entry" and illuminates the concept of reverse culture shock, such as the initial excitement of being home to frustration with your home culture. Of course not all of you will be able to map re-entry stage for stage, or in the same way as other returned students, but it is important to know that you aren't the only one having mixed feelings about being home.

Things to think about

Shoeboxing your memories: Over time you may find that your overseas study memories get shoved to the back of your mind and the experience will be forgotten. Try to keep these memories alive by sustaining friendships you made while overseas or posting your photos and thoughts on Facebook or a blog.

Relationships have changed: It is inevitable that relationships with friends and family will have changed, both positively and negatively, after spending time abroad. Your morals may have changed to reflect the culture of your host country and the best way to deal with this is flexibility, empathy and through conversation. You may also find that people ascribe negative traits to the way you portray your post-travel self. This can stem from jealousy, fear and misunderstanding - so do your best to remain humble and open.

No one wants to hear: A common conversation after an overseas sojourn is "How was it?" and "It was good." It is difficult to sum up your experience in one sentence or conversation as you will have had a multitude of experiences. You may also find that the moment you start rambling off stories from overseas, your friends lose interest. Try making friends with other returnees who will have an understanding of the importance of sharing stories.

Getting involved

There are a number of things you can do to keep your overseas experience alive such as volunteering at Monash Abroad events like the incoming student orientation, joining the Monash Exchange Club (MEX), or joining an international club such as the Amici Italian Club.

Homecoming Forum Melbourne

Each year during semester one, all eight Melbourne universities get together to run a city-wide event for students who studied overseas called the Homecoming Forum Melbourne.

At the event you will have the opportunity to meet students from around Victoria who share your love of experiencing other cultures and travel. Who knows, you may become future colleagues or business partners! There is a cultural debrief session that gives you the opportunity to reflect on your experiences and a career enhancement session with a global employer panel.

Volunteer with Monash Abroad

A great way to share your expertise of overseas study is to get involved with events at Monash Abroad. During the year we hold incoming student orientations (hang out with students from your host country), pre-departure orientations (give advice to future overseas students), and promotional events such as O-Week (encourage other students to go overseas).
Register now for the volunteer program.
If you would like more information, please contact student abroad from your Monash email account.

Photo competitions

Each year Monash Abroad runs a photo competition for students who have studied abroad. Share your experiences with us and win an excellent prize.

Look out for other photo competitions such as the Monash University photo competition or competitions through Austrade and overseas governments. Monash Abroad students often win these competitions with their beautiful photos.

Enhancing your career

Including your overseas experience on your CV is a great idea as employers highly regard students that study or intern overseas. By going overseas you will have gained valuable skills (see module 2 "Welcome Back") such as the ability to adapt in different settings and an increased capacity to take risks. Monash Employment and Career Development have created an employability skills (PDF, 0.22 MB) worksheet that will help you include your experience in CVs and cover letters.

Tips for including your overseas study program on your resume

Here are a couple examples of how you might include your exchange experience on your resume/CV.

University of Warwick, United Kingdom
Exchange program September 2012 – June 2013

  • Subjects in International Business and British Literature
  • Volunteered as a student ambassador in the exchange office

OR

Monash University Prato, Italy
Faculty overseas program January 2013 – February 2013

  • Subjects in Comparative criminal law
  • Collaboration with students and academics from Italy and the United States