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Reflection Prompts and Activities

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Reflection is an important part of the re-entry phase.  It allows you to unpack your study abroad experience in meaningful ways, prompting you to think beyond the challenges of re-entry to the critical skills and opportunities you've gained.  There is no "right" way to reflect, but here are a few prompts and activities to get you started:

Questions to consider:
  • How does it feel to be back?  Set a timer for 2 minutes and list as many words as you can in that time. 
  • Think about the goals you set for yourself before you studied abroad.  What steps did you take toward achieving those goals?
  • Describe your favorite study abroad memory in 3-4 sentences.  What did you learn from this experience?
  • What values, beliefs, or behaviors did you learn while studying abroad that you plan to continue now that you are home?
  • Name three things that you miss most about your host city/country.  What can you do to stay connected to the things you listed?
  • How has your awareness of global issues been impacted by your study abroad experience?
  • Has studying abroad changed your perspective on your academic, career, or life goals?  If so, how?
  • List three positive things about returning home.  What are you grateful for?
  • What new opportunities are you considering now that you have returned home?  How will you incorporate these into your future plans?
  • How will you continue to reflect on your experience?
Transferable skills activity:
By studying abroad, students gain a variety of skills and competencies, including problem solving, adaptability, communication, time management, and more.  These skills aren't just important in navigating a new culture or handling stressful situations; they are also transferable to new contexts and are often highly valued in today's global economy.  Use the activity below to reflect on the critical skills you gained while abroad and how you're continuing to develop them as you adapt to being back home.

Problem Solving
Use the PARK method to reflect on the problem-solving strategies you used to handle new and/or stressful situations while abroad:
  • P - What was the PROBLEM?
  • A - What ACTIONS did you take?
  • R - What was the RESULT?
  • K  - What new KNOWLEDGE did you learn?
Adaptability
List three things you adapted to while living in your host city/country.

List three things you are adapting to now that you have returned.

Communication
Name two strategies you used to effectively communicate across linguistic and/or cultural barriers. 

Name one way you can apply each of these strategies in your future career.

Your Turn
Make a list of the 5 most valuable skills you gained while studying abroad. (Need help with your list? See our Resume/Interview Resource)  For each skill, provide a specific example from your study abroad experience.

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