As difficult as it is to adapt to an entirely new culture, it can be just as challenging to come back home after being away for any period of time. It is best to know what you might encounter in order to prepare for this adjustment period.
Expect to experience some measure of reverse culture shock. Reverse or re-entry shock can be defined as the unexpected confrontation with the familiar (R. Michael Paige). Remember that the world at home hasn’t stopped while you were gone. Upon your return home, you may find you aren’t the only one who has changed during your absence. Everyone and everything else will have changed too. Remember to take time to readjust slowly.
You’ll notice that you may think differently about the United States. You’ll spend time reflecting on the differences between the U.S. and your former host country, just as you did when you left. Friends and family may be interested in stories or photos for a while, but “really don’t understand.” It may be difficult to express your feelings in words. Remember that many people may have difficulty relating to what you are saying because it hasn’t been part of their experience.
Avoid experiencing anxiety about getting a job when you return home. Your study abroad experience can open employment doors for you, so be creative while abroad, ask for interviews by email and promote the self-reliance and maturity you have gained through your experience.
Interested in work and volunteer opportunities abroad? As an alternative to studying abroad, students may want to consider working or volunteering overseas to gain valuable international experience outside the classroom. These non-credit opportunities are designed for those who want to grow personally and professionally through a more hands-on, cross-cultural experience.
Please note that the programs listed below are not affiliated with the University of Hartford. Instead, this information is meant to serve as a resource for students who would like to continue their international experience before or after graduation.
For more information about international career opportunities you may also want to contact our Career Service Office.Three Types of Programs to Consider:
Academic Programs International (API) - API offers students study abroad opportunities, but did you know they offer opportunities for graduates? With API you can teach abroad, complete an internship, work or volunteer abroad, or attend grad school.
Association for International Practical Training – AIPT can assist American students and young professionals in most majors and career fields locate international on-the-job training experiences in Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Malaysia, the Slovak Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, and others. Opportunities vary in length of time and program.
American Jewish World Service – American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is an international development organization motivated by Judaism’s imperative to pursue justice. AJWS is dedicated to alleviating poverty, hunger and disease among the people of the developing world regardless of race, religion or nationality. Through grants to grassroots organizations, volunteer service, advocacy and education, AJWS fosters civil society, sustainable development and human rights for all people, while promoting the values and responsibilities of global citizenship within the Jewish community.
Alliances Abroad – They are one of very few companies to give you a choice of either an Internship—for those who want to explore a career in a foreign country—or a Work Program—for those wanting to simply earn money while experiencing a different culture. Many of the Internships provide a stipend to cover some living costs. Paid positions teaching English are available for students and college graduates in Cameroon, China, Jamaica, Mexico, Taiwan, and Thailand. Community service programs are also available.
The Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organizations – Volunteers work around the world in community development. Projects generally last two to three weeks and consist of 10 to 20 volunteers per group.
Amigos de Las Americas – Volunteer opportunities are available to work on health projects in 15 countries in Latin America. Length of service varies.
AmeriSpan – AmeriSpan's Volunteer/Internship Program offers placements in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, and the Caribbean. It offers placements in such areas as Social Work, Environmental Work, Working with Children, Education, ESL, Business, Healthcare, and much more. Time commitment: two weeks to six months, depending on position. Spanish level requirement varies with each position. Some placements offer free room and board. Otherwise, volunteers live with host families for $55 to 200 per week, depending on the country.
Au Pair – There are many agencies which facilitate an au pair placement almost anywhere in the world. The agencies are too numerous to name, and there are also individual families which advertise to find their own au pair. Try searching on your favorite internet search engine, or looking in an international magazine or one that specializes in work abroad, like Transitions Abroad. Placements will range in length of service and extended stays may be an option. Individual may pay a fee but many benefits may be included: room and meals, per week allowance, free flight to Europe, low-cost return flight, free language instruction, medical insurance, etc.
BUNAC Working Adventures Worldwide – It's easy enough to visit most of the globe as a tourist but, and it's a big but, it's not always easy to work and spend extended time abroad so that you get to know another country in a way a tourist never does. BUNAC programs make it possible for young people, all over the world, to do just that.
CampusCareerCenter.com – The World's Largest Campus Job Fair. Search a database service which enables companies to source students for employment on a worldwide basis.
CDS International – CDS offers internship opportunities in Germany ranging from six to 18 months in such fields as business, engineering, and technology. Proficiency in German and U.S. Citizenship is required. Individual pays fee and expenses. CDS provides 1500DM per month.
Child Family Health International - Child Family Health International (CFHI) is a nonprofit providing socially responsible global health education programs for health sciences students. Programs are four to 12 weeks long with departure dates each month of the year to sites in in Bolivia, Ecuador, India, Mexico, and South Africa.
CIEE International Volunteer and Work Opportunities – CIEE coordinates a wide-range of work and volunteer programs in many countries for varied lengths of time. The individual pays a fee. Students also have the option to teach abroad.
CNFA: Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs - CNFA is an international development and education organization aimed at involving Americans in the foreign affairs process. CNFA's unique programs foster economic growth and sustainable development worldwide.
Cross Cultural Solutions – Cross Cultural Solutions provides volunteers with community-based opportunities while experiencing India, Ghana, Peru and other countries Three-week to three-month programs are available year round.
Dave's ESL Cafe – Internet meeting place for ESL and EFL teachers from around the world. Job postings for English teachers.
Earthwatch- Research scientists conduct scientific investigations all over the world. Expeditions are held year-round for 2-3 week intervals.
Explorations Travel - Offers volunteer placements worldwide (for women only).
Food For the Hungry - FFH offers overseas opportunities to Christians in Asia and Africa in many occupations. Positions are for a minimum of two years and volunteers raise money to cover all expenses.
Foundation For Sustainable Development – FSD partners with more than 200 community-based organizations throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America to support sustainable change. Our development model relies on active community participation to mobilize lasting solutions. While respecting local value systems, we partner with local leaders to build networks and collaborate on community-driven approaches to development issues.
Global Services Corps – Live in Kenya, Costa Rica, or Thailand while working on such community projects as health education, teaching, and environmental experiences. Short- and long-term assignments are available.
Global Volunteers – Global Volunteers offers one- to three-week volunteer experiences in rural communities in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, Eastern Europe, and the South Pacific. Volunteers will work on human and economic development projects.
Global Volunteer Network – A non-profit organization who places people in community projects in China, Ecuador, Ghana, Nepal, and Romania. Volunteers have the opportunity to participate in a variety of educational and community aid programs. Volunteers can be involved in areas such as teaching English, environmental work, health and sanitation, and cultural home stays.
GoAbroad.com – GoAbroad offers a large database where you can search for study, work, intern, volunteer, or eco-adventure opportunities abroad.
Idealist – Idealist is a project of Action Without Borders, a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 with offices in the United States and Argentina. Idealist is an interactive site that provides a meeting point for individuals and organizations that seek to improve their communities, whether through promoting volunteerism and nonprofit careers, or by facilitating connections between people that can lead to personal and collective action. The website has an extensive search engine where you can locate opportunities to work, volunteer, or intern nationally or abroad.
InterExchange – InterExchange offers work, volunteer, au pair, teaching, and internship programs throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe.
International TEFL Academy - Teaching English abroad
The International Volunteer Program – The International Volunteer Program is a unique project that promotes volunteerism in Europe and the United States. For six weeks, through daily cooperation with staffs of overseas organizations, volunteers learn how others live and view the world.
JET: Japan Exchange and Teaching Program – Positions are available in Japan as an assistant language teacher and coordinator for International Relations, Contracts are for one year with extensions available. Application deadline is in December. Many benefits and salary included.
Jobbydoo: resources to find jobs in a number of different countries including Australia, Brazil, and the United Kingdom
Peace Corps – Joining the internationally-known Peace Corps provides an opportunity to gain experience in community development in developing nations around the world. Service is for two years. Benefits include monthly stipend, housing and meals, loan deferment, and career placement assistance.
POA: Partners of the Americas – POA promotes the involvement of US, Latin America, and Caribbean citizens in community development and local government activities. Length of service varies.
ProWorld – ProWorld’s mission is to empower communities, promote social and economic development, conserve the environment, and cultivate educated compassionate global citizens. ProWorld offers internships and volunteer opportunities in Peru, Belize, Mexico, India, Thailand, Ghana and Brazil.
Remote Area Medical (RAM) – RAM, a non-profit, volunteer, airborne relief corps, serves remote areas of the United States and the world. Volunteers provide general medical, surgical, eye and dental care, volunteer doctors, nurses, technicians, pilots, and others to participate in expeditions under primitive and unusual conditions. Admissions are rolling.
Rotary International – Rotary's programs for students and youth can change the lives of those who participate. Through these programs, young people can earn scholarships, travel on cultural exchanges, or help a community through a service project.
Sea Turtles 911 – Sea Turtles 911 is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of sea turtles. They offer a Chinese (Mandarin) Immersion Program in China, where students have their own private Chinese teacher who will help improve the student’s Chinese reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills on a one-on-one basis. In addition, students spend time working to save endangered sea turtles in China.
TEFL Worldwide: Prague - become certified to teach English as a foregin language
Transitions Abroad – For over 30 years Transitions Abroad has served as a useful and comprehensive resource for work abroad, study abroad, cultural travel overseas, and international living.
United Planet (UP) – United Planet (UP) is an international non-profit organization that strives to create a world in which all people understand, respect, and support one another. United Planet's global network of leaders and volunteers fosters cross-cultural understanding and addresses shared challenges to unite the world in a community beyond borders. It has volunteer abroad programs in 50 countries lasting from one to 52 weeks.
Volunteers for Peace – VFP is an international volunteer work camp organization whose programs aim to promote citizen diplomacy by maximizing personal contact with the local people. Volunteers work together on two- to three-week projects.
ACDI/VOCA – Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance
Volunteers work with grassroots agricultural and environmental entrepreneurs in 112 countries. Length of service varies.
World Teach – World Teach offers year-long, semester and summer ESL teaching placements abroad. You do not need foreign language skills or teaching experience to apply, but you should be a native English speaker and have an enthusiasm for cross-cultural experiences and for helping others. Some programs, particularly year-long teaching placements, are fully subsidized and cover the volunteers’ living costs while abroad.