As students return for the Fall semester, you will be welcoming them back from a variety of different activities. For some students, they will have spent much of their summer abroad studying in a foreign country. For many, returning to classes on your campus may take some readjustment, and they may wish to share stories of their experience abroad with professors and classmates in order to ease the transition.
Here are some ways to welcome your students back this semester after their time abroad.
· Hold a “welcome back” reception. During this type of event, students can mingle with fellow students, faculty and staff. This also gives you an opportunity to outline the options your students now have at your university as a study abroad alum. You can create pamphlets or invite speakers to discuss how to make the readjustment back to life in the U.S. and how to reflect on their time away and keep in touch with their new friends.
· Organize a submission contest. Allow students to showcase the photos they took or submit essays reflecting on life abroad. The photos and quotes from essays can be displayed during events throughout the year, encouraging other students to study abroad so they get a sense of what student life is like and the experiences others have had. Encourage participation by awarding a prize like a small scholarship to be applied toward a future semester.
· Allow students to become ambassadors. Students who have already studied abroad are the perfect advocates for your university’s study abroad programs! They can help fellow students to prepare if they decide to make the leap in the future, encouraging more participation in your study abroad programs. These student ambassadors can also help with events and other promotional campaigns.
· Ask students to take a survey about their experience. Use this feedback to work directly with the groups offering the study abroad options to ensure an even more positive experience in the future. It’s the perfect way to see what is going well and what can be improved in future semesters. Request consent to use their positive experiences in testimonials to further promote the programs your university offers.
If you have any more tips for successfully welcoming your students back to campus, please feel free to share in the comments below. We’d love to hear what works best for you on your campus!