Re-entry after being abroad isn’t about readjusting to being home. It’s about relaunching yourself into your ideal global life!
How do you want to relaunch yourself? As a former expat, part-time nomad, and passionate guide, I’m here to help.
The first time I came home from abroad I was 17, and I’d just finished a year as an exchange student in Germany.
I remember stepping off the plane into my hometown’s tiny 2-gate airport where my friends and family were waiting to take me “home.” I was so proud of all I’d done during my year abroad. But I was also really scared.
What will my life be like now? If I talk about Germany, will it sound like I’m bragging? Will I ever go abroad again?
Despite my fears, the first few weeks were great. I ate all of the foods I’d missed, I snuggled with my dog, and my friends and family happily looked at my scrapbook.
Two weeks in, I thought I’d aced re-entry. I was under the impression that if I could survive the first few weeks back at home, I was good to go.
What I didn’t realize? Re-entry was really just beginning.
All I could think about was going abroad again. In college I majored in German so I could spend a year studying in Stuttgart and then became an English teacher after graduation so I could spend another year abroad.
I felt the most alive out exploring the world and found grad school gave me the perfect excuse to continue living and traveling abroad. I logged a few more years in Germany and traveled around Europe, the US, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Australia.
It’s probably no surprise that I wrote my PhD dissertation on study abroad, and that most of my career has been focused on helping students and teachers thrive before, during, and after they go abroad. I really can’t imagine doing anything else.
A few years ago I connected the re-entry dots of my life. The effects of unresolved re-entry were so subtle that for years I felt like something was off but I couldn’t ever never put my finger on anything specific. But it was always there influencing relationships, career decisions, and my general level of happiness.
For a long time I tried to make the uneasy feeling go away by traveling more, thinking I could only really be happy if I was abroad. I started asking myself some tough questions, and I worked through the lingering guilt and loss inherent in living abroad. It wasn’t easy, but it was so worth it. Re-entry isn’t a negative experience for me anymore because I’ve created a global life that grows and evolves with me.
Currently, I divide my time between teaching at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, working with international schools around the world, and helping travelers, expats and students relaunch themselves into their ideal global life here at SmallPlanetStudio.com
I’m based in Carrboro, NC but since I’m a part-time nomad I work from all over the world. (Yes, it’s awesome!) I love to bake, have a weird fondness for old-lady shoes, and will never, ever voluntarily jump out of a plane.
Thanks for reading. I’m glad you’re here!
Founder + Chief Re-Entry Relauncher at SPS