School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)


Mary M. Deacon


Multicultural Immersion, Study Abroad, Reentry, Reverse Culture Shock, Multicultural Competencies, Repatriation


Higher Education | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Students often encounter difficulties upon returning home after a study abroad cultural immersion experience, but many counseling education programs provide limited or no reentry assistance. Despite this challenge, there is little research regarding the reentry process as students transition back into their home culture, as most research is focused on multicultural competency building. Thus, understanding the reentry processes can help students successfully navigate this important aspect of study abroad trips. To this end, a qualitative thematic analysis design was used to identify themes related to masters-level counseling students’ experiences upon returning home from a 3-week study abroad cultural immersion trip. The interviews were designed to answer the research question “What themes emerge when graduate counseling students describe the experience of reentry once the cultural immersion experience was complete?” Two sets of themes emerged from the analysis: impact themes and circumstantial themes. The impact themes were multicultural skills, pace and presser impact, relational impact, professional impact, and personal impact. The circumstantial themes, which gave context to the impact themes, were relational depth of the team and with the host country, comparative stance, and the influence of being a counseling student. The emerged themes were consistent with previous research and helped provide recommendations for future research.