Returning to St. Olaf after an off-campus study program requires an adjustment – an academic adjustment as well as a personal adjustment. Part of the transition back to campus involves finding ways to continue your off-campus experience now that you are back on campus, as well as ways of sharing what you learned off campus with peers and the St. Olaf community. Here are some ideas to help you transition back to the Hill!
Attend the program Re-Entry Meeting.
Each student will be invited to attend a Re-Entry Meeting with Brittan Duffing and the Program Advisor. This is a great opportunity for students to share stories – and to let us know how things went, concerns you may have, and tips for future students. Additionally, his unique program allows students to get reconnected to IOS and our future programming/volunteer opportunities (like the upcoming Orientation for students studying off-campus!).
Talk to people!
Meet with IOS staff, your academic advisors, or other faculty, staff, and students about your experience. Share your experiences – the good, the bad, and the ugly. This will help you process your experience, share your excitement, and process any concerns. Your support people want to hear about your time off campus!
If you are experiencing a lot of stress, anxiety and/or concerns as you re-enter the United States/St. Olaf, we highly recommend that you talk with someone. There are a lot of individuals on campus – including IOS Staff, BOE House Staff, Title IX Staff, College Ministry, and the Dean’s Office – and off campus – including primary medical providers, family, and friends – who can assist you in transitioning back home and/or to campus.
Take classes to continue the learning you started off campus.
By thoughtfully choosing classes that enhance ideas, topics, cultures, and issues you encountered while off campus, you can continue the cross-cultural learning you started while off campus in your host community/at your host university. Additionally, share the experiences, perspectives, and knowledge you gained off-campus in your on-campus courses! This is a great way to share learning and gained perspectives with students who studied on other programs or students who have not been able to study off-campus.
Attend language conversation tables.
All students are welcome to attend the conversation tables or benefit from the World Language Center programs and opportunities. Engaging in these programs will continue to enhance your language skills, allow you to use your language skills on campus, and can help you connect to new people once you have returned to campus! Conversations range from culture, to politics, to the very food that rests in front of them.
Participate in forums or service fairs.
The Piper Center and other organizations hold forums and service/career fairs that can assist returned students in connecting their off-campus experience with their vocation or calling. The Nobel Peace Prize Forum (held locally each year) is a great example of such a forum. These are excellent opportunities to learn more about the complex issues of peace and justice and globalization, and to explore service-related career options, both domestic and international. Additional tips on Marketing Study Abroad can be found here!
Consider an International Career
The Piper Center has great resources to guide students considering a career abroad after graduation. This Piper Center web page includes information about preparing for a career abroad, international career search engines, and general international jobs and internship links! This is a great place to start for anyone considering a career abroad after graduation!
Join a multicultural student association.
During your time off campus, you no doubt encountered cultures new to you. Why not continue?
Meet international students and scholars.
Involvement with international students and scholars is a great way to return the hospitality you experienced while you were off-campus. You can also get involved with International Night (a one-night cross-cultural entertainment event) or become an international student roommate. Continue sharing.
Participate in the opportunities and programs offered by the International and Off-Campus Studies Office.
Get involved with our events and programming! Interested students can contact the IOS Office (TOH 380) at (507) 786-3069.
Volunteer to present at local service organizations.
Continue your learning, share your stories, and engage with local communities through volunteer work or service. The St. Olaf Volunteer Network is a great way to introduce you to local organizations. Volunteering or working with service organizations is a great way to continue your global engagement and get connected to your local community!
Find resources dedicated to your re-entry needs.
There are MANY resources online and in the IOS Office that can assist in your re-entry process. A Google search or email email@example.com may help as you process your experience and transition back to the Hill!
What’s Up With Culture is also be a great resource for students returning from an off-campus studies program. It was “developed to support and enhance a student’s ability to make successful cultural adjustments both before going overseas and upon returning home from studying abroad”. What’s Up With Culture will give you an opportunity to explore, consider, and reflect on your experience off-campus.
Take advantage of local opportunities for food and culture.
One important dimension of off-campus study is getting to try foods. Now that you are back on campus, there are still many ways to participate in trying new foods or learning about various cultures. The Best of the Twin Cities website can be a helpful website in finding new places to explore locally and within the Twin Cities area!