Helpful Hints for a Positive Re-entry Experience

  • Upon initial re-entry, get plenty of sleep, balanced meals and adequate exercise.
  • Spend some time thinking through the expectations you had in going into your short-term cross-cultural experience. How did those expectations change in the midst of that time and now that you've returned? Notice any dissonance you may feel now as you return and journal your transitions. Notice what values and attitudes are changing.
  • Remember that no training is wasted! You can apply the cross-cultural training you received to your home culture now that you're back
  • Debrief with others. Find one other person or a group and ask each other questions such as:
    • What did you do?
    • Whom did you meet?
    • How did you live?
    • What was the easiest or most difficult?
    • What was funny?
    • What was sad?
    • What did you learn about God? About yourself? About the culture and the people you met?
    • Where do we go from here?
  • Reread your journal. Read one entry every day and ask God to remind you of the things He was teaching you then.
  • Pray. You probably could use time alone, with others, and with a committed prayer partner. Pray for the people you met, the church, each other, the people you want to tell your story to.
  • Give yourself a spiritual checkup: Do you feel closer or more distant from God? Be creative and disciplined in your devotions, but remember that spirituality is not limited only to performing "a productive Quiet Time." God is lovingly present with you throughout the day.
  • Recall the success and accomplishments of the short-term project you were a part of, and develop a list of gifts and strengths that God gave and affirmed. Likewise, make a list of weaknesses and areas where God moved in spite of your limitations.
  • Learn how to answer — not despise — the question, "How was your summer?" Become a story teller and learn to tell your story well.

From Student Leadership Journal, a publication of Inter-Varsity

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