Making Sense of Your Off-Campus Experience | St. Lawrence University Patti McGill Peterson Center for International and Intercultural Studies

Making Sense of Your Off-Campus Experience

During your time abroad you had many experiences, which may have created changes in your life. Such changes often become more apparent when you try to reintegrate yourself back into life at St. Lawrence. The questions below are meant to help you reflect on your experience, what you have learned, and how it may affect your life now and in the future.

Take some time to look back:
Living in a different environment often means changing your daily routine and many “little” things that you generally take for granted. How was your daily routine different? What were the easiest and the most difficult adjustments to make? What are some of the experiences that have been the most meaningful or significant? What have you learned about these experiences? What did you learn about yourself that you feel good about?

Reflections on going home:
What will you say about your experiences to family and friends? In what ways has this experience affected the way you view your own culture? Can you think of any specific instances in which you have been made aware that your perceptions or ideas have changed? These could be incidents that happened while you were off-campus or that have occurred since your return.

Integrate your off-campus experience with your life at St. Lawrence:
It can be especially trying to integrate customs or practices that you learned off-campus into your on-campus life. You have learned a new way of living, which may bring previous ways of acting or thinking into question.

In what ways might you continue the learning you have done on your program—on campus, in your community or in the future?

In what ways might your off-campus experience enhance your participation in courses you are enrolled in this semester, or hope to take in the future?

In what ways might you share your experiences off-campus in order to promote greater understanding at home?

Are there any customs, foods, ways of eating, patterns of interacting, that you have adopted? Think about the different ways you may have conducted your life at home, in school, and in social settings.

Will you be able to continue these practices? Easily? With difficulty?

Think about your newly acquired skills and perceptions:
One of hardest things to recognize is that while some things at St. Lawrence have changed, the way you perceive them may have changed even more. You are not the same person who left campus.

What new skills have you developed during your time away from campus?

How has your off-campus experience changed the way you look at the world around you?

How might you utilize your new perspectives to your benefit?

It’s okay to start thinking about and planning your next trip!