Meet Cate

{Founder + Chief Relauncher}


Re-entry after being abroad isn’t about readjusting to being home. It’s about relaunching yourself into your next great thing! 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; I’d just finished a year as an exchange student in Germany.

I thought I’d aced re-entry; it wasn’t until a decade later when I was TA-ing a study abroad class as a grad student that I discovered I’d struggled in ways I never could have expected.

Re-entry is sneaky like that.

During my first re-entry, all I could think about was going abroad again. So, in college, I spent a year studying in Stuttgart.

After college, I taught English in Magdeburg. In grad school I studied at the Goethe Institute in Murnau, interned with a study abroad program in Freiburg, and conducted dissertation research in Mayen. In-between stints living abroad, I traveled all over Europe, and then later the US, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

Germany is where I discovered many of my “loves.” In Hamburg, I became fascinated with the process of learning a new language and culture. In Magdeburg, I discovered my love for teaching.

While interning with a study abroad program in Freiburg, I taught a German class to undergrads who were spending the year attending the local university. Teaching undergrads how to find their voice in a new language and culture solidified my passion for helping travelers, expats, and students through the transitions inherent in going abroad and returning home (and then, as it often happens, going abroad again, and again, and again).

I started creating workshops for study abroad students while in grad school, and then got a job helping teachers from around the world adjust to living and teaching in the US.

I also began consulting for international education organizations, speaking at conferences in the US and abroad, giving workshops around the world, and doing some coaching here and there.

Now, I divide my time between teaching at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, creating intercultural education programs for international schools around the world, and helping travelers, expats, and students relaunch themselves into their ideal global life 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).

Thanks for reading. I’m glad you’re here!

Here’s my contact information – I’d love to hear from you:

Cate Brubaker, PhD
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About Small Planet Studio

SPS is a community of travelers, expats, and students who are relaunching themselves into a life they love after being abroad.

SPS is based on these 5 philosophies:

  1. Re-entry is a gift.
    But it doesn’t unwrap itself.
  2. Re-entry isn’t about readjusting.
    It’s about relaunching yourself into your next great thing.
  3. Re-entry isn’t a one-time thing.
    It’s an ongoing process that can be experienced every time you go “home.”
  4. There’s no “right way” to experience re-entry.
    Not everyone experiences re-entry in the same way, to the same degree or as a negative experience.
  5. Re-entry is the opportunity to create your ideal global life.
    We learn, grow, and relaunch better together than alone.

It doesn’t matter how long – or how long ago – you were abroad. Re-entry is a state of mind, not a period of time. It lasts a lifetime.

The good thing? It’s never too late to relaunch yourself into your next great thing. I’ve done it many times.

SPS offers practical resources to guide, support, and inspire you from returning home from abroad to relaunching yourself into your next great thing. Every time you go “home.”



One of the things I love about SPS is that I get to collaborate with awesome people.

To the right you see just some of Small Planet Studio’s contributors.





Meet Carrie and Kirsten

Niesen PhotoCarrie Niesen is an Associate Relauncher at SmallPlanetStudio.com. In previous lives, Carrie’s taught communication courses, lived abroad in multiple Spanish speaking countries, and is now hot on her pursuit for a location independent lifestyle.  She enjoys helping the Small Planet Studio community with all things related to re-entry and leading an ideal global life.

Kirsten Bushick is also an Associate Relauncher at SmallPlanetStudio.com. Originally from New Jersey, Kirsten lived in Australia for eight years, studied abroad in Spain, and has traveled to over 30 countries. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at Dickinson College and has lived in six states before relocating to Durham in 2010. In 2006, she transitioned to Higher Education, working in the Center of International Programs at St. Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania. While in North Carolina, Kirsten has been actively involved with L.E.A.P (Latino Educational Achievement Partnership) and is thrilled to be interning at Carolina Navigators where she is seeking grant funding and identifying ways to expand the culture kit program.


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