In fact, there are many opportunities to continue learning about other cultures, meet fellow students with international interests, and advocate for global engagement at UT and beyond.
Check out these resources to learn the many ways you can get involved and share your experiences with UT students, faculty, and others who share your passion for education abroad.
Can’t stop talking about your experience abroad? The Programs Abroad Office hosts events for returnees and alumni to connect. You can also volunteer to share your international experiences with other UT students and answer their questions about studying abroad.
Here are a few ways you can share your stories:
Attend Returnee Events and Workshops
Our welcome back event is a time to celebrate and reflect on your experiences abroad with peers who have just returned from abroad. These events are held at the start of each semester. Light refreshments are served. Invitations are sent to students via email. Throughout the academic year, the Programs Abroad Office also offers workshops on topics of interest to study abroad alumni, such as making your experience work for you in career planning as well as opportunities to go abroad again. If you are a study abroad returnee, watch your UT email for an invite to upcoming workshops.
Become a Peer Advisor
If you are energetic, outgoing, and passionate about your own education abroad experience, this is a great opportunity to share your knowledge with other students. Applications open each summer for the following academic year. Peer advisors are frontline advisors, serving as encouraging and attentive “first contacts” for students interested in going abroad. Peer advisors will also assist the Programs Abroad Office and International Partnerships and Exchanges with programming, publicity, outreach campaigns, and general administrative duties. Learn more and apply to become a peer advisor.
Volunteer at a UT Programs Abroad Fair and/or Pre-Departure Orientation
Are you eager to share your stories about education abroad? Consider volunteering at a special event for future students studying abroad. We host two study abroad fairs each year, one each semester. Alumni of study abroad programs are needed to make this event happen by staffing booths and helping with logistics. You can also volunteer to share your experience abroad with students going to a similar location at the in-person orientation meetings held each semester. If you are a study abroad returnee, watch your UT email for an invite to an upcoming programs abroad fair and pre-departure orientation.
Stay Connected on Social Media
After returning to campus, put into action the new skills, attitudes, and experiences you have gained abroad. This can take the form of developing an organization, deepening your civic engagement in a course, or simply getting involved with already existing community service groups in the community.
After attending a program abroad, there are many ways you can continue to learn and network with others who share your interests in international education. Here are a few examples:
Join the UT Study Abroad Alumni Organization
The Study Abroad Alumni Organization (SAAO) was created to provide students with networking events, cultural activities, and support for coping with reverse culture shock. SAAO meets every month during the academic year and features guest speakers, food, and fellowship. For more information and a list of upcoming events, visit SAAO.
Attend a Global Experience Conference
Each spring semester, UT hosts a globally focused conference on campus. Opportunities include presenting your international experience, volunteering, and attending the conference to learn about postgraduate opportunities abroad. Conference details are announced each fall.
Discover UT’s International House
The mission of International House is to educate and engage all students in order to help them participate as members of a global society. It does this by creating an open and positive environment for students to relax, study, and learn together. In particular, International House hosts a Friendship Program, which pairs students—one from an international country and one from America—for cultural events and casual get-togethers during the semester. Visit the International House to learn more.
As you resume life at home, keep in mind that your study abroad journey does not end upon your return to Knoxville. Much of the learning from your program abroad will occur from this point on—as your experience sinks in and you have the necessary time to reflect on all that has happened to you during your time away.
Here are some easy ways to stay connected to your time abroad and honor your experiences:
- Talk to siblings and other family members about your time abroad.
- Stay in touch with international friends and your host family from your study abroad program.
- Read the online newspaper from your study abroad location. See how your study abroad location is portrayed in the media and help to adjust the US perception, if it is not correct.
- Blog or keep a journal about your returnee experience.
- Go to international events on your college campus and in the surrounding community.
- Find language partners to keep using your language skills.
- Check out service programs like AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, and SeniorCorps.
- Get your ESL certificate and teach English domestically or abroad.
- Make an effort to become friends with the international students on your campus. You have an opportunity to have a positive impact on their time at UT.
- Consider attending graduate school abroad.
- Cook a meal from your time abroad for family and friends.
- Seek out organizations in your city that work with refugees and see how you can help.
- Support local (international) businesses.
- See if your local library needs volunteers for translator services.
- Shop smart. Look at where your clothes or food are made and consider adjusting your buying habits.
- Find a way to take your hobbies/passions and give them an international focus.
- Recommend your favorite restaurants, cities, and places from your time abroad on Rayka, a study abroad app.
Internationally Focused Magazines and Online Publications
Here are several publications worth checking out:
- Glimpse magazine seeks international correspondents, especially study abroad students. Glimpse provides readers with insights into the daily cultural, political, and social realities of life abroad, plus funny anecdotes about often-embarrassing cultural miscommunication. Many Glimpse articles are republished in major newspapers and magazines.
- Transitions Abroad magazine is for people working, studying, traveling, and living abroad. It offers practical information about host cultures and travel bargains. Contributors write from personal knowledge and emphasize ways to avoid touristy cultural isolation. Transitions Abroad also holds writing contests.
- Journeywoman publishes female-centered travel-experience articles, seeking to inspire women to travel safely and to connect women travelers worldwide. Each published article becomes eligible for the annual Journeywoman Travel Writing Competition.
- Travelmag, an online travel publication based in the UK, seeks tales of travel well beyond the guidebook routes, illuminating little-known corners of the globe and, occasionally, revealing a bit about the writers as well.
- National Geographic’s travel publication, National Geographic Traveler, holds photo contests and accepts submissions of professional-quality articles and photos.