When You Return | University of Portland

When You Return

Welcome Back to the Bluff!

Students on CampusReturning from being abroad can carry a complicated mixture of emotions as you readjust to life in the US and at UP. The process of re-entry is different for everyone, but these resources should provide guidance for the various aspects of reflecting on and moving forward after your time abroad. 

This year, in response to early returns as a result of COVID-19, we have worked with our campus partners to compile re-entry webinars. While the material is especially relevant to students whose time abroad ended abruptly, much of the content is applicable to anyone transitioning to life back in the U.S. We hope you find it useful!

Translating the Unexpected with the Career Center


Maximizing an Abbreviated Study Abroad with Jeffrey White of Accessible Education Services


Transitioning to Virtual Learning, an Academic Perspective with Dr. Eduardo Contreras of International Education, Diversity, and Inclusion


Transitions: Creating Community in Digital Spaces with José Velazco of the Digital Lab


Re-Entry Sessions

Please plan to attend one of our Re-Entry Sessions during the semester immediately after your time abroad. You should receive an e-mail invitation shortly after your return to the United States.

These sessions will cover many of the topics discussed below in greater detail, and will feature input from members of the Career Center and the Office of Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement in addition to Studies Abroad staff. You will have the opportunity to reflect on your experiences, learn how to utilize the skills and mindset you developed abroad, and explore ways to stay involved both on campus and through future international experiences. 

Going Abroad Again

Whether you have just returned from studying abroad or are fully re-acclimatized to UP, there are a number of ways you can go abroad again, before and after graduation. Studies Abroad offers a number of shorter programs targeted towards incoming juniors and seniors that can build on both your international experience and academic interests. 

There are many other ways to go abroad again after you graduate from UP. For students interested in teaching English, doing research, or going to graduate school abroad, the Office of Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement is ready to provide resources and guidance on that process. Visit their Fellowships and Grants site to learn more about these programs.

Utilizing the Skills You Developed Abroad

Studying abroad is often a personally transformative experience, but have you ever thought about how studying abroad can be professionally transformative?

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has identified Global and Intercultural Fluency as one of the eight competencies necessary to help you prepare for life after UP.

Global/Intercultural Fluency: Value, respect, and learn from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions. Demonstrate openness, inclusiveness, sensitivity, and the ability to interact respectfully with all people and understand individuals’ differences.

Want to learn more about how studying abroad has helped you prepare for life after UP?

  • Check out the rest of the NACE competencies and identify examples of how you demonstrated each competency while you were abroad.
  • Schedule an appointment with the Career Center to learn how to incorporate your experience abroad into your application materials and in interviews.

Mental Health and Re-Entry

When you return home, you may re-experience culture shock, often referred to as “reentry culture shock”. Attending a re-entry session upon your return to the US and UP is a good way to help  make that transition easier. Prior to and after your return, it is also helpful to reconnect with friends, access family support, and seek counseling services if you need additional support in adjusting to changed life back home. Students are encouraged to contact or visit the Health and Counseling Center in Orrico Hall (open M-F 8:30-4:30, closed 12:00 to 1:00; (503) 943-7134) with concerns about their own or others' mental or emotional well-being. 

Academics After Studying Abroad

The Clark Library has excellent resources available for students to continue their international engagement after returning to the Bluff. Learn about experiencing and overcoming reverse culture-shock and explore resources about local cultural organizations, as well as links to International Languages and Cultures, through the special Study Abroad topic guide.

Explore Library Resources

Staying Involved on Campus

Your time abroad may be over for now, but there are a myriad of ways to stay involved with the globally-minded community at UP. Whether you want to pursue that interest academically, spiritually, or socially, engaging with the international community at UP will help you foster relationships and bridge your domestic and international experiences. 

Sojourner Scholars Program

Love cross-cultural communication and learning? This certification program allows students various pathways within their degree programs to demonstrate the highest level of the University’s Global and Intercultural Learning Outcomes (GILOs).  By taking a set number of courses, demonstrating proficiency in at least one international language other than English, participating in a significant international/intercultural experience, and creating a portfolio, the UP  Sojourner Scholar is prepared to work in the world on global issues with care and understanding for the complexity of human interactions and how they are expressed in cultures around the world.

Learn about the application process and requirements.

Language-Specific Speaking Groups 

If you are looking for a way to engage with language outside of class and in a more informal setting, these student-led speaking groups are a great way to meet like-minded peers and practice your language skills. Look for booths at the Fall and Spring activities fairs or ask your professors about Mesa Redonda (Spanish) or Stammtisch (German) for more details. 

Pilgrimages with Campus Ministry

Each year, Campus Ministry offers students the chance to take their faith abroad on an international pilgrimage, which varies from year to year. Past pilgrimages have included walking the Camino de Santiago de Campostela in Spain; attending World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland; and Moloka'i, Hawaii. Visit the Campus Ministry site for more details on the application and preparation process. 

Major or Minor in a Foreign Language

Interested in continuing your language studies? Consider majoring or minoring in a foreign language. In addition to improving your linguistic proficiency, you will explore the cultural nuances and background needed to produce authentic language. Whether learning about French Business and Administration or Divided Germany, majoring or minoring in a foreign language will allow you to build on your experiences abroad academically, personally, and culturally.