CISABROAD BLOG · July 26, 2013 · 4 Min Read
Keeping Your Study Abroad Experience Alive

This post was contributed by Jordan Randall, CISabroad University Relations Representative, a position for which she travels from school-to-school to promote study abroad to students, study abroad advisors, and faculty members. When I returned from my semester in France, my biggest fear was that I’d get back into my daily routine and lose sight of what I had gained in my experience overseas. I didn’t want study abroad to become just a fond memory and an album full of pictures. After I recovered from reverse culture shock (yes, that’s a real thing!), I became determined to make my experience and what I had learned abroad a permanent part of my life. If you’re a study abroad alumni (or committed future study abroad participant!) and you’re wondering what to do after study abroad, here are some things that I did in college and do now that have helped to keep my study abroad experience alive: I arranged mini reunions for the friends I’d made abroad that attended my home university, and we met for lunch every 1-2 weeks. We reminisced about our time in France and retold our favorite stories. This helped strengthen the bond we made while abroad and encouraged us to keep the fond memories fresh in our minds.

Château de Blois France

Jordan at Château de Blois while studying abroad in France

My university’s study abroad office had a Peer Advisor program with which I got involved. This program allowed me to interact with other students at my home university that had studied abroad in different places while inspiring other students to consider studying abroad. My Peer Advisor program involvement helped me to expand my friend group and share travel stories and suggestions with others who were just as passionate about travel, while my new friends shared about their travels in Jamaica, England, Germany, and other exciting places that I had never been. My time as a Peer Advisor not only kept my study abroad experience alive through sharing stories with fresh ears, but it also gave me inspiration to travel to new places through hearing others’ stories of their own study abroad experiences. Once I had discovered what it was like to be in a new place where I knew few people and didn’t speak the language, I gained a new appreciation for those students who were studying abroad AT my home university. I knew firsthand how scary and intimidating pushing the limits of one’s comfort zone could be, so I reached out to international students on campus to help them better adjust to life in the U.S. Not only did I make some really great friends, but I was able to learn from their questions about my own culture. They observed things about my university and community that I had taken for granted. Even though I had expected to help them understand American culture, they taught me more about it than I had learned through a lifetime of living in the States.
Château du Clos Lucé Amboise, France Da Vinci

Jordan at Château du Clos Lucé in Amboise, France. The seesaw may well represent the emotional ups and downs you experience after studying abroad…

Now you might be thinking, “Okay, those are great suggestions for someone with some time left in college, but what about post-graduation?” Good question. Once I graduated, I had to figure it out all over again. When I found myself cooking more (rather than having the convenience of on-campus dining), I started trying international recipes and sharing my favorites with friends. This gave me access to cultures that I’d not experienced in my travels. And when I came across cuisine I thought was to die for, I put that country/culture on my travel bucket list. What better way to make the perfect Pad Thai than to learn in a Thai kitchen? In undergrad, I was in class all day, and then I had projects, papers, homework, meetings, and community service to fill up my evenings and weekends. Once I graduated, I found myself with tons of free time on my hands. I was able to read books for leisure, watch movies, and pick up hobbies. I decided to internationalize my free time by reading international authors, watching foreign films and documentaries, and collecting international currency and post cards. While everyone’s career path is different, I am fortunate that my job in International Education (the field that includes both study abroad, or “outbound” programs, and international student services, or “inbound” programs) and working for CISabroad affords me the opportunity to keep my passion for travel a part of my daily life. My position as a University Relations Representative allows me to chat with students all over the U.S. about study abroad. Through working in study abroad, I have been able to travel with students on customized faculty-led programs and be a part of their international experiences. While the field of International Education isn’t for everyone, it’s definitely something to consider if you have an unquenchable thirst to meet new people, experience new cultures, and inspire others to study abroad.
study abroad jobs Rome night

Jordan in Rome as part of her study abroad job with CISabroad

To see more shots of Jordan hard at work, check out pictures from her latest adventure in this CISabroad photo set on Flickr. To get an idea of what types of jobs a study abroad organization such as CISabroad offers, please visit our Staff page. Interested in working for us? Keep an eye on our Careers page!

On the CIS Abroad blog, we share student-written content and information for students, advisors, other study abroad professionals, and families of students studying abroad. Check out our Facebook and Instagram for more from us and our students!