On Saturday, September 19, over 30 returned study abroad students from six different institutions of higher education in the Northeast Ohio Area met on the campus of Case Western Reserve University for the first annual study abroad returnee conference. The day-long conference covered topics ranging from adding study abroad to resumes to dealing with the affects of reverse culture shock to going abroad again.
"Study abroad has been described as transformative or perspective altering," explains Autumn Beechler Stebing, assistant director of education abroad. "Students have this amazing experience, but knowing how to process this experience and use it to meet career and personal goals is another thing altogether. The conference provides students the tools to take the next step."
Conference attendees also attended a session where they learned how they could continue working in the international arena by staying in the Northeast Ohio area. Representatives from Cleveland Council for World Affairs, Refugee Response, US Together Inc, and the International Institute of Akron engaged students in networking and panel discussions.
"The study abroad returnee conference was amazing. It allowed me to meet other students who went abroad, learn how to market my study abroad experience, and learn how to adjust to being back in the US. I really hope more students get the chance to participate in future study abroad returnee conferences," shared CWRU senior and chemical engineering major Matt Hively, one of seven students invited to represent CWRU at the conference.
Participating students came from Ashland University, Baldwin Wallace University, Cleveland State University, Kent State University, and the University of Akron in addition to CWRU. While the pilot conference was by invite only this year, plans are to expand the conference to any student who has studied abroad next year.
For more information about this past conference or next year's plans, contact the Office of Education Abroad.