Publication Date

2003

Abstract

What strategies do U.S.-American students in the PIM and MAT programs at the School for International Training utilize to help with repatriation to the U.S., while studying at SIT? Which strategies are spontaneous, not a formal part of either program or service offered by SIT? How are the strategies which are spontaneous and not a formal part of either program useful for PIM and MAT students in selecting their practicum or other future job, assuming their reentry experience extends into either the practicum or new job? The focus of this research is in fact proactive. It is a study of strategies that have helped SIT students feel more comfortable in their experience of returning to their original country/culture. It concentrates on the strategies used in returning students' re-entry experience as opposed to the problems that arise out of re-entry situations. It is designed to gather information that can help others be aware of coping strategies which have been found successful when dealing with issues of re-entry to one's original country/culture as most people describe this occurrence as difficult. Easing the difficulty in re-entry is the reason behind this research, specifically useful for students at SIT. The Model of "Re-entry Coping Modes" by Nancy Adler (1980) was used for this research as it focuses on studying practical re-entry strategies and not just the problems that occur during reverse culture shock. The methodology used is content analysis of semi-structured interviews. Seventy-eight SIT students were interviewed. They had participated in either the PIM or MAT program and had returned to the U.S. within six months of starting their perspective program, thus most likely experiencing reverse culture shock while studying at SIT. The conclusions drawn from my research include the importance for returnees to spend time with other returnees (students) or those with such past experience, e.g., many SIT faculty and staff. Furthermore, there is a very important need for the availability of re-entry literature to help returnees cope with reverse culture shock.

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