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1. Keep in touch with your host family and your study abroad friends.
Keeping in touch with not only your host family, but also friends who share your study abroad experience, is a great way to share memories and more. Chances are that you share similar interests with at least a few of your study abroad friends. You may just have a ready-made set of new friends for the rest of your college experience.
2. Get involved with other travel programs, such as Alternative Spring Break.
There is a lot more out there than just study abroad if you are really into traveling. One of the best programs is Alternative Spring Break. In this program, college students travel to a location in the United States, Canada, or Mexico and perform community service for a week. However, in my experiences with ASB (which were all in Mexico), it is much more. Doing the volunteer work was incredibly inspiring, but we bonded as a group. We worked very hard, but we also had just as much fun. It gave me a very unique perspective when I pursued other study abroad opportunities in Mexico.
3. Share your experience with other students planning on studying abroad.
Study abroad programs are always looking for alums willing to share their study abroad experiences with others. There is nothing like sharing your experiences with students interested in pursuing study abroad.
4. Get a job in the Office of Study Abroad.
Many offices of study abroad look to hire "peer advisors," students who have studied abroad, to work with prospective study abroad students. Quite frankly, it was the most rewarding job I've ever held. If you do decide to pursue this position, you will be in a position to help students make their dreams come true. It is a wonderful feeling.
5. Preserve your pictures, journals, etc.
Why not scrapbook all of your pictures, journal entries, etc.? In that way, you'll always have those great memories to look back on when you are old and gray. I didn't do this and deeply regret it.
6. Work with international students on campus.
Once you know what international students go through, you may wish to work with international students on your campus. It is always nice to know that you have someone there to help you navigate the ins and outs of living and studying in another country. Why not be that person for someone studying in the United States?
7. Study abroad again.
If there are still places and subjects that you'd like to explore, there are always more study abroad programs! I happened to participate in 5 separate programs. You can work them into your program with a little planning. Why not start a whole new adventure? Trust me, it isn't nearly easy to do once you graduate.
Of course, there are many more ways in which to utilize your study abroad experiences one you return, but in my experience, these are by far the most fun!
This article was reprinted with permission from Associated Content, The People's Media Company. Visit www.associatedcontent.com today to publish your own content and explore AC's growing multimedia library.
© 2008 Associated Content, Inc.
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