【Jason先生の英語講座】解消!留学の疑問あれこれ 【前編】
【Jason先生の英語講座】解消!留学の疑問あれこれ 【後編】

To many people, studying abroad means pushing oneself outside of their comfort zone to take on brand new experiences. This relatively short period of time living in another country is meant to be life changing. However, it is easy to just live in the moment during one’s stay overseas and neglect thinking about life after returning home. It is the very fact that studying abroad is meant to be a life changing experience that those pursuing, and those who are about to pursue this goal, should prepare themselves for what to do when they return. While one can learn an abundant amount of new skills and gather new experiences from studying abroad, they are only as valuable as they are used.


In this article, we will not only introduce how to utilize these new skills once returning to Japan, but what difficulties and worries may occur and how to overcome them. 


I learned about another culture, but what else?

Of course, it feels like a great achievement to be able to study in another country by using the language that one has started so hard to learn. This, however, is not the only thing that can be achieved. In addition to meeting new people, seeing new sights, hearing from different perspectives, and experiencing a different culture, there are many skills that one can learn and apply after returning home.


Now more than ever, universities and companies aren’t just looking for candidates that are a good fit on paper, but they also are looking for people who have exceptional soft skills. These are the attributes that enable individuals to effectively communicate and engage with others, as well as stand out when applying for jobs.


< Here are some examples >

By looking at this, there is no doubt that one’s experience, no matter how short or how long, and regardless of one’s language proficiency, are valuable qualities that should be recognized. 


Tip: Either while studying abroad or after, take some time to think about each of these areas and write down examples from your experiences that are representative of these soft skills. 


Upon returning to Japan, one should continue to actively use everything that they have learned leading up to their time overseas, as well as what they have learned while they were there.


Give back to your community

There are a number of ways to utilize one’s newfound knowledge after coming home. One way is to get back in touch with one’s study abroad office. Here, one should be able to receive information and counseling about how one can use their experience to help other students. 


< Some ways to can help >

  • Become a mentor for international students by helping them acclimate to life in Japan
  • Become a peer mentor and help them find the program that suits them best
  • Promote the program that was used to study abroad by volunteering at events
  • Join a global leadership program
  • Share one’s experience with other study abroad students and talk about how everyone’s different situations could be applied to life going forward
  • 留学生のメンターとなり、日本での生活に慣れるよう手助けをする
  • ピアメンターとなり、留学生が自分に合ったプログラムを見つける手助けをする
  • ボランティア活動を通じて、留学プログラムを宣伝する
  • グローバルリーダーシッププログラムに参加する
  • 留学経験を他の学生と共有し、それぞれの状況を今後の人生にどう活かすかを話し合う

The preparation isn’t over. Look for a job as soon as you can.

The desire to jump in immediately into the job hunt can be unavoidable. The best thing to do is to be prepared.


Some ways to make one’s transition from studying abroad to joining the workforce more smooth:

  • Start looking for jobs before returning to Japan
  • While abroad, start working on a resume
  • Start preparing for tests such as the TOEIC to get official qualifications if necessary
  • 帰国前から就職活動を始める
  • 留学中に履歴書の作成を始める
  • TOEICなどの資格取得のための準備を始める

Other ways to help the transition include participating in career seminars for international students, participate in information sessions with companies that are looking for international students, ask the career center staff at one’ school, or get in touch with seniors who have successfully entered the workforce after studying abroad.


Please do not worry if a job cannot be found right away. There is nothing wrong with getting a part-time job in the meantime. In fact, doing could be better for some people as it can help them gradually get accustomed to their daily lives.


Daily Life

Upon returning home, it’s easy and very common for students to return to their daily lives and gradually lose a lot of what they have learned and experienced. 


To circumvent this, here are a few simple and fun tips to maintain one’s skills while creating a more fulfilling daily life.


  • Stay in touch with news programs, tv shows, and other forms of media from abroad
  • Try cooking local dishes from where one studied. If that can’t be done, try going out with friends to look for places that serve international cuisine
  • Go to local international events
  • Stay in touch with friends that were made abroad
  • 海外のニュース番組やテレビ番組などのメディアに触れる
  • 留学先の郷土料理を作ってみる。それが無理なら、友人と一緒に世界の料理が食べられる店を探す
  • 地域の国際交流イベントに参加する
  • 海外でできた友人と連絡を取り合う

The most important thing to remember is to always stay active if one wants to retain what they have learned! Whatever it is, whether it’s reviewing vocabulary or just watching a tv show, there is always something that can help one stay proficient in their language skills even if they’ve returned from abroad.


But what if. . .?

Lastly, many students come back to Japan and find themselves in difficult situations. Whether it’s relationship problems, diet issues, or simply not being able to reacclimate to daily life, please do not worry!


Here are some things to be aware of:

< Diet >

Many students gain weight while abroad and then, upon returning home, get either stressed or depressed about not getting back to their pre-study abroad figure. This can have negative effects, especially mentally. Please understand that, there is little to worry because most students who return are able to get back to their normal weight in a month or two due to Japan’s low-calorie cuisine. Outside of that, students can always choose to start working out before they leave from abroad.


< Mental >

Many students have reported “reverse culture shock” upon returning to Japan. My advice is, please do not push yourself. It is only natural to come back from a trip where many new experiences were had, only to come back to a normal life and get depressed. However, this is just like going on vacation or going to a really fun show, only to have to go to class the next day. Basically, live in the present and think about how these experiences can motivate oneself going forward. 


Also, some students have talked about how relationships with their friends become complicated. There are many reasons why this can happen, but one common, overlooked angle is talking about one’s experiences. Of course, it’s great to share one’s study abroad experience with their friends, but don’t overdo it. Do not get into the habit of constantly comparing how life is in Japan and abroad. Some people, while they might not feel envious, might just get tired of always hearing about it. Basically, do not compare apples and oranges!



A study abroad experience can be a once-in-a lifetime experience that not everyone can have, so treasure it and maintain it. Retaining these skills requires just as much care as when these skills were being built. Just as you were, at one time, looking forward to experiencing life overseas, continue to look forward upon returning. Give back locally, prepare for the future in the workplace, and reconnect with daily life. Also, even if difficulties happen, be kind to yourself and understand that they are only temporary and that going abroad can lead to a stronger individual that can better overcome life’s little and big challenges.