Some students prefer to purchase a cell phone upon arrival in the host country or use their current cell phone with a new SIM card from the host country. Check with your cell phone carrier to see if your phone will work at your study abroad destination. If so, you may be able to activate the international roaming service that would allow you to receive and make calls while abroad. You can also purchase international calling cards when you arrive in the host country.
Email and Social Media sites
Email and social media are wonderful ways of staying in touch! Most universities have adequate Internet access on campus and in the housing facilities. Internet cafes are located in cities and towns of all sizes.
We love seeing what you are up to while studying abroad. Be sure to use the #shuglobal whenever posting photos to social media as it helps connect you to other SHU students who are studying abroad. Posts using #shuglobal will be shared on our webpage.
It is very common to experience some degree of homesickness or difficulty transitioning to a new culture when abroad – even if you have traveled previously. Being in a new and different environment is challenging and takes a little getting used to; some adapt sooner while others need more time. Cultural adjustment issues are very normal and most students experience them to some degree.
A few helpful tips:
- If you appear to be having difficulties adjusting to new surroundings, please let the OGA know. Often, we are able to contact someone at the host university to provide a different perspective on the situation or arrange for appropriate intervention.
- Do not ‘feed’ the depression. You are encouraged to remain involved. In many cases, the problem solves itself within 24 hours so parents are encouraged to resist their initial urge to fly over and save the day.
- Stay in touch – but not too often! The acculturation process will be slow if you spend too much time emailing and talking on the phone to family and friends back home. Instead, spend more time exploring the city, making new friends, and learning the ways of the host country.
Preparing to Depart from Host Country
To assist in your transition back to the U.S., it is important that you take the time to say good-bye to your host country and the people you have met during your study abroad experience, along with taking care of logistical details so your trip home will be smooth. Here are a few things you will want to do before leaving your host country:
- Make a wish list of all the things you want to do/accomplish before you leave. Do them!
- Make a list of the people you want to stay in contact with and gather their contact information. These are great people to reach out to as you work through re-entry adjustment along with internationally connected people at SHU.
- Take pictures of your favorite people, places, foods, etc. Pictures of everyday people and places you will not see any more may be the most precious and best way to explain to others how life was abroad. In addition, we would like to see your photos! Use the #shuglobal for pictures to be features on the OGA website and enter a photo contest.
- Settle any financial issues. This includes checking in with SHU Financial Assistance to make sure you have done all you need to if you plan to receive financial aid your semester of return.
- Communicate with friends and family at home your feelings about returning home and what to expect as you go through cultural adjustment again upon return. Be conscious of making judgments and being overly critical of home.
- Confirm your move-out date in your host country accommodations. Confirm your housing upon return to SHU.
- Confirm your return flight. Check with the airline regarding weigh/size regulations and the costs for overweight or additional bags.
- Set aside time to say good-bye to your friends, your support on-site, your school and your city. These encounters may help you put into words what your experience has meant to you personally, academically, and professionally.
Registering for Next Semester
The process and registration dates/times are the same as if they were still on campus. Be sure to check your SHU email regularly while abroad to ensure that you do not miss out on any important information about registration. Students should be mindful of the difference in time zones when registering for courses in WebAdvisor.
Housing Upon Return
The Office of Residential Life will reach out to you while abroad with information on registering for on campus housing.