Re-entry into daily life in the U.S. after IUHPFL can be an exciting and challenging time for program alumni, as well as for their families and friends. Once students return home, they can depend on the IUHPFL staff to give them encouragement as they reacclimate to their lives and look toward the future. Below is a list of some things participants can expect post-program.
It can often be more difficult for students to re-adjust to life in the U.S. than it was to acclimate to the host culture. In fact, it might even be challenging for them to speak English during the first several days after the program. Although the changes students go through while abroad are gradual, they are significant, and this becomes quite obvious once they are trying to settle back into life with their family and friends.
During their time overseas, students learn to see themselves and the world in a new light and, inevitably, they revise their interests and their goals for the future. This introspection can continue long after the program and it can be accompanied by a deep longing to return to the host country, as well as some frustration over the differences between the host culture and our own. This is a natural, even healthy, aspect of developing a more expansive view of the world and becoming a global citizen. It’s a spark that will inspire the student’s future studies, career, and life.
Although sometimes challenging and confusing, this time of “re-entry” into U.S. culture is a wonderful opportunity for students to share their IUHPFL experiences with family and friends through photos, videos, and anecdotes. Looking at the program site blogs together can also be a great way of sharing memories and helping loved ones to understand the many ways in which the student has been transformed by their summer abroad.
After the programs end, students receive a link via email to the mandatory online Student Exit Survey, which takes 60-90 minutes to complete and gives them an opportunity to evaluate all aspects of the program (instructors, host families, classes, etc.) and to share their comprehensive experiences of the program with the IUHPFL Office.
Student feedback is vital to the continued success of IUHPFL and is used to inform future policies and procedures. Students provide their names in the survey to track completion, but their answers are kept anonymous.
In September and once they have completed the survey, students will receive their IUHPFL Diploma by regular mail.
(Parents/Guardians also receive a link to an optional online survey after the program. Their feedback about their experience with IUHPFL is extremely valuable and much appreciated!)
In August, Final Student Evaluations are completed by program instructors. They are then emailed by the IUHPFL Office to the students, their parents/guardians, and the teachers who completed the World Language Teacher Appraisal (as part of the application dossier). The Final Student Evaluation encompasses many aspects of the student’s experience and progress during the program.
When students return from their IUHPFL experience, either as high school students or rising college freshmen, they are encouraged to support their world language classrooms and departments to the best of their ability. Additionally, alumni who finish the program in good standing (those who did not receive an Incident Report) are encouraged to talk with their high school world language teachers or contact the IUHPFL Office at email@example.com, if they would like to help present the program to potential applicants.
See IUHPFL Alumni Talking Points for topics and questions that can help alumni with these kinds of presentations.
More ideas for Alums: Ways to Contribute
According to testimonials from program alums and parents/guardians, in addition to data collected on the Indiana University Bloomington campus*, the benefits of participating in IUHPFL are many and long-lasting.
Typically, program participants:
- make remarkable strides in their ability to understand and speak the target language, resulting in a very strong foundation toward further study and fluency
- test into the third year of their target language in college*, thereby saving a great deal of time and expense toward a minor or major in the language
- are more likely than other university students* to:
- study multiple languages
- receive special scholarships
- study abroad again and for longer periods of time
- participate in more than one study abroad program
Regardless which college or university a student chooses to attend, it is only natural to build on an IUHPFL summer abroad by embracing international opportunities as an undergraduate.
Many IUHPFL alumni choose to attend Indiana University, because the IU Office of Overseas Study and other IU units and campuses offer more than 250 international programs in 17 languages and 52 countries. Once students enroll at IU, a visit with the helpful Overseas Study advisors will be an exciting opportunity to learn about spending a summer, semester or academic year abroad. The Office of Overseas Study is located in the same building as IUHPFL, the Ferguson International Center, on the beautiful IU Bloomington campus.
*per annual data analysis of IUHPFL alums attending Indiana University