Returned Students

Congratulations on completing an unforgettable adventure abroad! Returning from a study abroad program is often called "Re-Entry." This is an experience that is unique to individuals who have spent a significant amount of time outside their home country. This page will provide you with a variety of resources to assist you during this adjustment period.

Returned Student Series for Long-Term Study Abroad Students

Earn a FREE graduation sash with the flag of the country where you studied abroad by participating in our Returned Student Series! 

Only long term study abroad students are eligible (not for faculty-led programs).

Every semester, we host several events for returning students. Earn points by participating in at least three of our sponsored activities and you will receive a free graduation sash. The Study Abroad Mentorship Program is an exception to this requirement. 


1. Attend the Welcome Back Event (Fall and Winter)

2. Participate in the Study Abroad Mentorship Program (Fall and Winter semesters)

3. Attend the Storytelling Workshop (Fall 2024)

4. Tell a story at the Global Laker Story Slam (Fall 2024) 

5. Participate in our Resume, Cover Letter, and Interview Workshop (Winter only, March - exact date TBD)

6. Volunteer for at least 2 hours at our study abroad fair (Fall and Winter)

7. Complete a day-long social media takeover (Anytime)

With the exception of the Study Abroad Mentorship Program, to receive your graduation sash, you must have participated in three events and submit the form 6-weeks prior to your graduation date. The free sash form for Winter 2024 has closed. Students can purchase a sash here with a student discount code. Completing the Study Abroad Mentorship Program as a mentor fulfills the free graduation sash event requirement. Mentors are not required to participate in two additional events outside of the Study Abroad Mentorship Program. 


Traffic Myanmar

Share Your Story

Sharing your study abroad experience is an excellent way to process, reflect and make meaning. We encourage you to share your photos, videos, and stories with friends and family. 

You can also share your experience with the GVSU community! We are so excited to hear about your experiences abroad. There are many ways to share what you learned and inspire other students to go abroad:

Participate in the Global Laker Story Slam

  • Every fall we host a story slam for returned study abroad students and international students to share stories and experiences from time spent abroad. Learn more about the story slam and our storytelling workshop on the story slam page.

Share a Video Reflection:

  • We are using Flipgrid to allow you a quick and easy way to share your experience abroad. Use the Flipgrid video access code to view the instructions.

Share Photos:

  • You could be a featured photographer in PIC publications, promotional material or our website. 

    Please remember to include:

    • Your name
    • Your contact information
    • The country/program the photos are from
  • Email photos to [email protected] or bring them to the Padnos International Center in 130 Lake Ontario Hall.

    IMPORTANT: Please fill out the following copyright release form when you submit images or articles to GVSU. This will give us permission to use your images on our website and in our study abroad catalog. Copyright Release Form

Share a Digital Reflection:



Find out how you will receive credit for the courses you received abroad based on your program:

Share Your Story

Student looking over city

Faculty-Led Academic Credit

If you completed a faculty-led study abroad program, your grade will be updated in your GVSU academic record after you have submitted all outstanding course assignments.

Academic Credit for Partnership and External Programs

You will not see study abroad credits posted to your GVSU record immediately after you return from your program. You will see a grade of “X” for IS 380 for the semester you were abroad. In order to update your academic record at GVSU we will need:

  1. Your official transcript from your study abroad program
  2. All course equivalencies for the coursework you completed abroad

It can take several months from the end of your study abroad program for your official transcript to arrive in our office. If at any time, you wish to inquire about the status of your study abroad credits, you can contact Jamie Pleyte,  [email protected]

Transcript Tips:

  • Please confirm that your program will send your official study abroad transcript to the Padnos International Center, LOH 130. Transcripts sent directly to the Records office will cause a delay in transferring your study abroad credit.
  • If you are concerned about eligibility for upcoming registration at GVSU. You might ask your program if it is possible to expedite your transcript so that your academic record at GVSU reflects your eligibility for course registration prior to your official registration date for the upcoming year.

Course Approvals:

  • If you need to request GVSU equivalencies for courses you took abroad, follow the instructions on our Course Approval page.
Bridge in Ireland

Students overlooking water

Issues Credit

You can receive Issues credit for coursework taken abroad. Eligibility requirements and instructions are available in the Issues section of our General Education page.

Returnee Resources

The process of returning home from a study abroad program can be challenging. Most students experience a transition as they re-adjust to life at home. If you find that you are experiencing significant challenges that are impacting your performance at school, your social life, or your ability to engage in other areas of your life, we encourage you to connect with the University Counseling Center for support.

The Padnos International Center organizes a variety of events throughout the academic year for returning study abroad students. You will receive email updates about upcoming events as a study abroad alum.

We have compiled a few additional resources that may be helpful to you as you navigate this process:

As you prepare to leave your host country, check out this article on How to End Your Study Abroad Experience on the Right Foot

Are you experiencing some setbacks in your adjustment after studying abroad? Check out this article on 10 Tips for When You're Feeling Depressed After Studying Abroad

Check out the Re-Entry Blog from Small Planet Studio for a variety of stories from students transitioning to life at home after studying abroad.

Students Mountain Climbing in Chile

Get Involved

Share your experience studying abroad with other students, find ways to get involved in global issues and conversations at GVSU and in your community, and meet other students who studied abroad.


Bringing Together the World (BTW)

Bringing Together the World (BTW) is a GVSU student organization that brings together international students, past study abroad participants and anyone interested in global topics. BTW aims to get GVSU students involved in the international community, both locally and globally. 

Members are involved in several projects including:

  • Intercultural Festival
  • International Student Welcome and Orientation (PEEPS)
  • International Education Week
  • Community outreach 
  • Other social and professional events

Join BTW on LakerLink to receive updates on meetings & events!  

For more information contact

     Alissa Lane

     [email protected]

Bringing Together the World (BTW)


Study Abroad Fair Volunteer

PIC sponsors a Study Abroad Fair each semester to promote overseas opportunities to the GVSU community. The success of the fair depends largely on the involvement of returned study abroad students. Share your experiences with others at our fair by volunteering to talk to students interested in study abroad!

Volunteering Contact

     Padnos International Center


Volunteer Sign-up



Peer Study Abroad Adviser Positions

The Padnos International Center has several Study Abroad Peer Advisor positions available each year. If you are interested in exploring work opportunities in our office, please contact Meaghann Smith at (616) 331-3898 or email at [email protected]. For students interested in becoming Peer Advisors, please click the link below to access our online application. 


Peer Advisers

Student in Peru

More Opportunities Abroad

Take advantage of opportunities to go abroad again. As a GVSU student you can study abroad up to four times! 

There are many additional opportunities to go abroad after you graduate. Are you thinking of graduate school? Consider completing a Master's Degree Abroad.

Regardless of your major, there are many opportunities to Teach Abroad.

The Office of Fellowships has information on many funded opportunities to go abroad after you graduate.


Career Resources

Your experiences abroad won't count to an employer unless the you can say how it has made you a better person, scholar, citizen, and professional. Read our guides to learn how to incorporate your study or internship abroad experience into your resume and how to communicate the importance of your international experience in an interview, at a career fair, during informational interviews, and on social media sites.

Next Steps

Suggestions from Study Abroad Alumni


International Graduation Sash

Students that have studied abroad can purchase a study abroad sash to be worn at their commencement ceremony through Vision Wear. The sash has a symbol representing the flag of the country that you studied in.


Deadline: April 19, 2024

IMPORTANT: You must use your email address to activate the coupon code.

Each email address will only be allowed to make one purchase. Please be sure to order at least two weeks in advance to get the sashes delivered to your home. 


Questions? Contact Vicki Wenger ([email protected])

Page last modified April 2, 2024