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Returning Students

GoAbroadAgain Handout for Returnees.pdfWe trust that you are enjoying your experience abroad and that you have been learning intensely about your host country and culture.  Now that you are returning to WWU, we hope you are excited to share your experiences with others!  Below is some important information regarding your return to WWU.

Re-Entry Workshops:

Debriefing Your Experience & Connecting with other Returnees

The WWU Education Abroad (EdAbroad) office is offering a Re-Entry Workshop for all students who have participated in a Study Abroad, Exchange, Global Learning Program or International Internship within the last year. The next workshop will be held on Thursday, April 19 from 4-5pm in Miller Hall 112 on WWU campus.  Please let us know you are coming via our Facebook event!

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Showcasing your International Experience: Resumes & Cover Letters 

Join us on Thursday, April 26 from 4-5pm in Miller Hall 112 for an interactive session with practical advice for job seekers.  Learn how your study abroad experience can help you distinguish yourself from the competition and land that job!  Please bring copies of your cover letters and resumes for review.

View the Student Learning Outcomes for study abroad and incorporate them into your resume! 
View the info graphic: International Experience and Your Resume.pdf

Interested in going abroad again? Check out our Go Abroad Again resources for returnees and attend the event:

Go Abroad Again: Work, Teach, Research, & Volunteer Overseas 

On Thursday, May 3rd from 3:30-5pm in Miller Hall 112.
How can you go abroad again?  This session will explore a variety of options for you to do just that.  Gain insight from personal testimonials about how you can work, teach and/or volunteer abroad after graduation and how to fund these international opportunities. This session will also highlight graduate school options and how you can explore the field of international education by turning your international interests into a rewarding career.

Returnee Conference - Lessons from Abroad

If you studied abroad within the past two years, you are welcome to attend the Washington State Lessons From Abroad Returnee Conference!
There is no 2018 LFA scheduled at this time. We hope you can attend our on-campus workshops listed above!


Highlights include:
• Discovering how you can work, teach, volunteer or study abroad after graduation.
• Staying connected to and sharing stories about your study abroad experience.
• Learning how to talk about your newly acquired global skills in a job interview.
• An interactive workshop on showcasing your international experience on your resume. 

Check out WWU student Jessie's Raetz blog post on returning from abroad, and what she gained from attending the Lessons From Abroad Conference.

Check out the Lessons From Abroad website for more details and to register.

Study Abroad Program Reviews

You will be prompted to rate your program and experience abroad through our online application system upon completion of your program.  You may also write a program testimonial about your experience abroad.  


You are responsible for registering yourself for classes the quarter you return to WWU home campus. The same registration dates and times will apply to you. This means you might have to register yourself while you are still abroad. You can register yourself for classes online. For more information about registering online, please visit the Registrar's Office.


EdAbroad requires that you request a transcript from your study abroad program to be sent to the EdAbroad office. Transcripts received in the EdAbroad office will be processed and sent to the Registrar's to be posted on your WWU transcript. A copy of the transcript will be sent to your permanent mailing address. If you have not already done so, please inform your study abroad program to send a transcript to the following address:

Education Abroad
Western Washington University
516 High Street, Miller Hall 208
Bellingham, WA 98225-9094

Please remember that the official transcript from your program will take time to arrive and be processed.  You will be notified when EdAbroad receives your official transcript. If EdAbroad does not receive a transcript, the credits with no grade may be assigned a "K" or "X" grade until a transcript arrives and is processed. After one year if no transcript has been received, credits with a "K" or "X" will convert to a "Z" or "U" (Failure/Unsatisfactory).

If you would like to request an official WWU transcript please click here.

Reapply to WWU

As long as you are enrolled through EdAbroad while you are on your study abroad or exchange program, you will continue to maintain your student status and there is no need to reapply. If you have taken time away from WWU after your study abroad (except for summer quarter), you will need to apply to WWU as a returning student. You will need to complete the Returning Student Application Form and pay a non-refundable application fee.

Please visit the Admissions website.

Graduation Sash

Graduation Sash

If you are an international student, or if you studied or interned abroad for Western credit, you are eligible to purchase an international flag sash for graduation.

The sash displays the colors of the flag of your home country or the country in which you completed your study abroad program or internship. The sash can be worn over your graduation gown during the commencement ceremony. This is a great way to proudly display your home country or education abroad experience!

Single or dual country sashes are available; the cost is $35.50 or $47.00, respectively.  Click here for more information and to order!   

Sharing Your Experiences

  • Education Abroad:  Once you return from a study or exchange abroad, you will most likely want to share your experience with others. Opportunities to share with others through the EdAbroad office include; entering our WWU EdAbroad Photo Contest, WWU EdAbroad Video Contest, sharing your travel blog and/or participating in the EdAbroad Travel Writing Program, participating in an Education Abroad Western ABROAD Information Session, special presentation for your particular program or site, Away We Go Pre-Departure Orientation, other promotional activities, and becoming Peer Advisor in the Education Abroad office. It is always helpful for students contemplating study abroad to speak to a fellow student who has been abroad. If you are interested in attending an information session or participating in activities listed above, please contact EdAbroad.  If you are interested in becoming a Peer Advisor in the EdAbroad office, review the job description and apply online.
    • Photo Contest: The WWU Education Abroad Annual Photo Contest is designed to encourage returned education abroad participants to share their experience abroad with the WWU community.  All photo entries will be displayed on EdAbroad websites, Facebook page, and potentially other websites throughout the academic year.
    • Video Contest: The WWU EdAbroad Abroad Video Contest is designed to encourage returned education abroad participants to share their experience abroad with the WWU community.  Entries will be displayed on EdAbroad websites, Facebook page, and potentially other websites throughout the academic year.
  • International Buddy Program: Western's International Buddy Program is designed to help the new International students transition smoothly to Western's campus and Bellingham.  Western buddies will act as resources for the international buddies: answering questions before arrival, helping in settling into Western and maintaining correspondence.  The International Buddy Program provides opportunities to meet and make global friendships.  It also allows the buddies to learn new cultures and traditions.  The International Buddy Program is fun and free!  It is held throughout the year and all that is required is your commitment!  For more information contact WWU International Buddy Program.
  • Peace Corps logoPeace Corps:  If your experience abroad sparked your interest in future travel, go abroad after you graduate as a Peace Corps volunteer. In the Peace Corps, you'll have the unique opportunity to live and work for 27 months in one of 72 countries around the world. You can use your education and international experience to launch a career in health, the environment, agriculture, education, community development, information technology, or business development. During your service, you'll receive a student loan deferment, paid vacation, three months of training, medical and dental care, a living stipend and money upon completion of services - not to mention the memories that will last a lifetime. To find out more visit their website, call 1-800-424-8580, option 1, or visit WWU's Peace Corps office in Old Main 280, call 360-650-3017.
  • Asia University America Program (AUAP):  There are opportunities with the WWU-Asia University America Program (AUAP) which include the following:
    • International Peer Advisors (IPAs):  IPAs work with students from Asia University, Tokyo, Japan studying English and American culture at WWU. IPAs serve as resources, encouragers, and facilitators for AUAP students to make connections with WWU students and to have successful study abroad experiences. IPAs live in the residence halls and work approximately 19 hours a week. IPAs take a spring quarter, two-credit class in preparation for their work. For more information visit their website.
    • Campus Friends:  Campus Friends spend at least one hour a week for a quarter with an AUAP student. During the weekly get-together, individuals discuss topics of interest over coffee, at lunch or dinner, while shooting pool, or hanging out at the Underground Coffee House...whatever both parties decide they would like to do. For WWU students, this is an opportunity, not only to help an international student learn more about American culture, but to learn about Japanese culture as well.  For more information visit their website.
    • Room with an AUAP Student:  Living on-campus with an AUAP student is another excellent way to share American culture and learn more about Japanese culture. Call Housing Assignments at 360-650-2951 to sign-up.

Reverse Culture Shock

Upon your re-entry to the United States, you may experience reverse culture shock. Reverse culture shock is a normal reaction of returning to your home country. The transition from saying goodbye to your study abroad host country and life to reintegrating yourself back into the US and renewing your relationships at home can be difficult for many students. Reverse culture shock may be intensified by the feelings of disorientation in the US and the sense that you have changed but your friends and family have stayed the same. Give yourself time to adjust back into the US and be patient with yourself and others. Taking advantage of the opportunities listed above for sharing your experience abroad can help alleviate the difficulty and frustration of reintegration. More information about reverse culture shock can be found on the web including the What's Up With Culture website. Another resource is the Native Foreigner Magazine designed for returning students.


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