After graduating if you are returning home you are given a 60 day grace period after graduating.
This 60 day grace period is given for students to take care of certain events, such as transferring between schools, changing their visa status, touring the U.S. or packing and making arrangements to depart.
Students cannot travel internationally (including cruises) and re-entering in F-1 status during their 60 day grace period.
Not being mindful of the 60 day grace period and overstaying could cause students to fall out of status and have serious negative consequences.
Re-Adjustment & reverse Culture Shock
Coming back home can be difficult–sometimes even more difficult than going abroad. Often students expect to pick up exactly where they left off. Problems arise when reality doesn’t meet these expectations.
Home may fall short of what you had envisioned, things may have changed (people, environment and practices) and you may struggle to find words in your home language or relevant pop-culture references. This is often why home may feel so foreign.
Reverse culture shock is usually described in four stages:
- Initial Euphoria
- Irritability and Hostility
- Readjustment and Adaptation
You may even encounter the following:
- “Reverse Homesickness” happens when students deeply miss their St. Olaf friends, the campus, and the student lifestyle.
- “You can’t explain your St. Olaf experience” friends and family may be open to hearing stories and seeing pictures, yet it may be difficult to put your 4 years of experiences into words, especially if the friends and/or family have not traveled much.
- “Feelings of alienation” you may be surprised by feelings of dislike for aspects of your home country. Many students become hypercritical and constantly reminisce about how things were much better at Olaf.
- “Boredom” you may be disillusioned with how uninteresting life can feel returning to your “old routine” with your family and friends.
How to cope
- Proactively pursue methods of nurturing the growth and transformations you have undergone while away
- Get together with others who have been abroad
- Maintain a sense of patience and humor, similar to when you initially came to Olaf
- Keep in touch with the friends and contacts you made while you were here
- Look for ways to use the new skills and knowledge you gained while abroad
- Write about your experience, and share it with others, or submit it for publication
- Maintain a healthy diet, exercise, and SLEEP
- Get involved with international students in your home country or others who are thinking about coming to the U.S.