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Returning to Macalester

As you transition back to life at Macalester, keep in mind that there are many ways to continue processing your study away experience. The Center for Study Away is here to support you through this transition through organizing events, inviting you to get involved in leadership opportunities and providing advice and resources for navigating reentry and reverse culture shock.  

Returnee Events

We invite you to join any or all of the below events to celebrate your return, connect with community, reflect on your time away, and more. 

  • Welcome Back Luncheon

    This event is offered at the beginning of each semester to welcome back returnees from study away and includes opportunities to:

    • Enjoy a free lunch
    • Explore the re­entry process
    • Hear about places where you can find support on campus
    • See the faces of the classmates you’ve missed
    • Share reflections and experiences from studying away

  • Returnee Lunch Series

    The weekly lunches held on most Tuesdays from noon to 1 p.m. are designed to give recent study away returnees a chance to gather with each other and a facilitator (peers, faculty or staff) to reflect on and discuss issues that come up with particular salience to study away programs. Recent topics have included:

    • Coming Home: Settling In, Getting Closure, Returning and Beyond
    • Family, Friendships, Flirtationships, Frenemies: Processing and Maintaining Relationships Away and at Home
    • Career After Study Away
    • Food Cultures
    • *Religion & Faith & Study Away
    • Roads Open: Grant/Research opportunities, Graduate Programs, local/global community service
    • *Mental Health While Away
    • *Identity and Study Away
    • Archiving Memories

    *These topics are often open to outgoing students pre-departure as well as returnees

  • Reintegration Event

    The Returnee Reintegration Event, held once or twice per academic year, is a workshop and/or field trip for returning students to discuss and process their study away experiences and to imagine how they will integrate what they learned while away into life at Macalester and their future learning. Another objective of the Returnee Reflection Event is to help students engage with the local/global community in the Twin Cities. Recent reintegration events have included:

    • Midtown Global Market
    • East Side Freedom Library

Get Involved

We encourage you to gain leadership experience as a study away returnee by applying to be a Peer Leader or volunteering to share your experiences with your peers in smaller ways.

  • Become a Study Away Peer Leader

    Every semester, the Center for Study Away hires a group of study away returnees to work as Peer Leaders. This is a very part-time (only 15-18 hours total per semester), PAID position. Peer Leaders offer their perspectives from their study away experience in order to support their peers, through leadership and facilitation of both study away returnee and study away pre-departure events.

    Learn more about the current Peer Leaders! 

    We are no longer accepting applications for Fall 2023 Peer Leaders. Keep an eye out for Spring 2024 hiring in the fall!

  • Volunteer to Share your Experience

    There are many opportunities for you to share your study away experience with outgoing study away students:

    • Have your name, major, and email listed as a contact on your study away program’s brochure page.
    • Volunteer to participate in returnee meet-up conversations with outgoing students.
    • Host an event in collaboration with another group/organization with which you’re involved!
    • Write a blog or share your contact information as a resource on one or more of the Equity Resources page(s).
    • If you are interested in any of these things, reach out to us!

  • Work in the Center for Study Away

    The Center for Study Away hires students for semester-long and academic-year long Student Worker positions, to assist staff with administrative tasks, greet visitors at the front desk, and contribute to various projects in the office. These jobs are posted on JobX prior to each semester.

Campus Resources for Returnees

The Center for Study Away staff and many other staff across campus are happy to talk with you before, during, AND after your time studying away. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our office or any of the below offices after you return so we can continue to support you. 

  • Community Engagement Center

    The Community Engagement Center : Find ways to connect with your experience abroad through involvement in the local community – this could be through volunteering or pursuing an internship.

  • The Lealtad-Suzuki Center for Social Justice

    The Lealtad-Suzuki Center for Social Justice: Share and/or process your experiences with students and staff in the various areas or participate in programming, build community, or utilize resources that are relevant to you. Such programming could include but is not limited to:

      • In particular, the LSC’s signature programs, such as the Allies Project, Identity Collectives, Pluralism and Unity Program, SPEAK! Series, Trenzas, or the C-HOUSE Arts Open House.

      • The Gender & Sexuality Commons (GSC): The GSC, which, “is hosted by the Department of Multicultural Life as part of our mission to integrate and affirm the peoples, discourses, thoughts, and experiences of marginalized people into the fabric of the Macalester community” provides many links to on- and off-campus resources, people, and communities.

  • Career Exploration

    Career Exploration: Explore ways that your time and experiences studying away could connect to potential internships, career paths, work opportunities, or vocations.

  • Student Organizations

    Student Organizations:Did you develop any new passions, hobbies, or communities while studying away that you may want to continue back at Macalester? Browse through the list of student organizations to connect with a Macalester student organization.’

  • Laurie Hamre Center for Health and Wellness

    Laurie Hamre Center for Health and Wellness: If you are experiencing challenges or are feeling anxiety or depression or you have some health concerns that are arising from your time abroad – our health and wellness staff are here to help you as well. The Center for Health and Wellness Center also offers a number of groups to help students address mental health concerns, connect with others, and build new tools and skills. You can see a current list of groups and meeting times on the CWH Website.

  • Sexual Violence Support Resources

    Sexual Violence Prevention and Support:

    • Resources for survivors of sexual violence (sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, and dating violence)
    • Resources on how to support a friend or a significant other who has experienced sexual violence
    • Confidential resources at Macalester whom you can contact from away/abroad:

    Sexual violence happens here and away.

    Sexual violence can happen anywhere—but another layer of complexity is added onto an already difficult situation when students are confronted with these issues while studying away.

    Beliefs about gender, sexuality, and violence vary in different local contexts. Members of your host community during study away may have different ideas about what constitutes assault, harassment, and even consent.

    The limited research available on sexual violence during study away found that rates of unwanted sexual experiences were higher when students studied abroad than when they were on campus. The majority of incidents were perpetrated by local residents who are not students.

    If you are sexually assaulted, it is never your fault.

    • No behavior or choice makes it okay for someone to assault another person.
    • In a study away context, some students who have been assaulted start to believe that they made an error in judgment that allowed an assault to happen. Common reactions include: “I should have understood the cultural context better;” “Maybe that type of behavior is considered acceptable here;” or “Am I being culturally insensitive?” While these reactions are understandable, it’s important to remember that regardless of where sexual violence happens (home, Mac, or away), it is still not your fault.

    Pathways to Safety International:

    • A resource created to specifically address the needs for prevention and response to American sexual assault survivors overseas—or those who may experience sexual violence while abroad.
    • To call from within the U.S. or Canada, simply dial: +1 833.723.3833
    • To contact the toll-free crisis line from outside of the U.S. or Canada:

      • Find the AT&T USADirect access code for the country you are currently in (you can find this access code at https://pathwaystosafety.org/get-help-now/)
      • Dial the access code for the country you are currently in
      • At the prompt, dial: 833.723.3833

    • Email: [email protected]. All crisis emails will be responded to within six hours.

    o Live chat online: https://pathwaystosafety.org/web-chat/

Re-Entry and Culture Shock

  • Recommendations for Navigating Culture Shock

    Based on our experience working with students returning to Mac, we offer the following tips for navigating the re-entry process:

    • Accept frustration

      • The real key to re-entry is anticipating that there may be some frustration with adjusting to life in the U.S. and at Mac – that the frustrations are a normal part of the total learning process and an ongoing part of the entire cross-cultural experience.

    • Go slow

      • Be patient with yourself. Remember that you adjusted to your host country and you can re-adjust here. Use the same coping skills and activities that helped while you were abroad. Get as involved as you can in campus life. Be kind to yourself in your re-adjustment as well as to others who are re-adjusting to you. Suspend judgment until a later, more settled time and keep your sense of humor.

    • Reconnect

      • Return to the habits, activities, and places that you love and missed—and re-experience them anew. Take friends with you and let them know what you missed about them while you were away.

    • Be Involved

      • Spend time with people who care about what has happened to you and who have common experiences. Find or re-engage in groups, departments, or people that are building community in a way that feels meaningful to you.

    • Communicate

      • Engage your friends in your experience by showing pictures, cooking foods, sharing objects and stories, or watching movies from your host country.
      • Ask your friends about their experiences abroad or semester on campus.
      • Remember that your experience is your own and be aware of your impact when you share your perceptions or experiences of/with your host country/community/culture.
      • Write about your experience for campus or other publications. You can talk with the Community Engagement Center to explore ways to connect your experience away with the local community through engagement.
      • Continuing to update a journal to document important memories and as a means of reflection can be very helpful. You can visit the library to talk with the campus Archivist and Special Collections Librarian, Ellen Holt-Werle to get ideas for how to document your study away experience.

    • Keep in touch

      • Remember to keep in contact with your host family and the friends you’ve made while studying away. This will not only help with homesickness for your host country but also keep those connections alive for future visits.

  • Re-Entry Resources


CSA Event Calendar

4/11/2024 12PM

Optional “Preparing for Study Away Travel” Info Session

Optional "Preparing for Study Away Travel" Info Session

Check the Center for Study Away Calendar for more information