Many of our Fulbrighters share that returning home after living abroad can seem challenging and even daunting. To assist with this transition, we’ve compiled a list of 9 tips to make the process more tangible.

Tips for returning home

1. Prepare for the adjustment process: Consider the differences and similarities between going abroad and returning home. This will help you to anticipate how you may react or feel, and remember that some level of worrying is not only natural but can be helpful.

2. Allow yourself time and slow down: Returning home, just like adapting to a new foreign culture, is a gradual process. Reflect on your reactions and emotions thoroughly, and grant yourself permission to ease into the transition you are going through. Mood swings and snap judgements are common in the initial stages so slow down your reactions by choosing to respond thoughtfully. If need be, take some time to rehearse how you want to express yourself and handle various situations.

3. Cultivating sensitivity: Show genuine interest in others’ experiences to reestablish rapport. Mutual sharing is key, and being a good listener is essential to avoiding frustration.

4. Understand that the familiar will seem different: Acknowledge that changes in yourself and your home environment will lead to new perspectives on familiar people, places, and behaviors. Expect some emotional and psychological reactions to being back home.

5. Cultural catching up: Be prepared for and to accept significant cultural updates in linguistics, politics, entertainment, social, economic and current events after returning home. Returnees often report gaining major insights into themselves and their home countries during reentry.

6. Beware of comparisons: While it’s natural to make cultural comparisons, avoid being overly critical of home or excessively praising foreign experiences. Maintain a balanced perspective on both.

7. Remain flexible and stay open: Strive for a balance between maintaining old patterns and embracing new social and intellectual aspects. Keeping options open is crucial for a successful return. A ‘yes’ to an opportunity you otherwise would have declined may bring about a desired outcome.

8. Seek support networks: Connect with people who have experienced reentry, such as academic faculty, exchange students, international development staff, diplomatic corps, military personnel, church officials, and business professionals. Seek support from university study abroad and foreign student offices for country-specific advice. You may also want to connect to expats in your country or other internationals. You can also join the Fulbright network.

9. Stay connected: Make sure to stay in touch with people you have connected and worked with during your Fulbright stay.


Our Returning Home worksheet consists of questions to help you reflect on three key aspects of your Fulbright grant:

  1. The Fulbright mission
  2. Your personal experience
  3. Identifying related competencies

Furthermore, you get a list of skills and qualities to add to your CV!

Download worksheet