Were you abroad with a group?
Maybe you became friends with fellow Peace Corps, Fulbright, JET, Rotary or TEFL participants? Perhaps you studied, served or volunteered with others?
Or maybe you lead a globally-minded Facebook group, are a study abroad faculty leader, work with global programs alumni, or are an expat with friends in re-entry and would like to work through the Re-entry Roadmap workbook with your community.
Start a Re-entry Roadmap Book Club!
Re-entry Roadmap Book Clubs (RRBC) are informal groups of people who go through the Re-entry Roadmap workbook together, sharing insights and struggles and cheering each other on through the challenging re-entry process.
Starting a RRBC is a great option for groups who’d like some guidance through the re-entry process while retaining freedom and flexibility. You can form a RRBC with as few as 2 people or 200+. You can meet in person or virtually a private Facebook group. Your RRBC members can be in the same location or all over the world. It’s up to you!
All you need to form a RRBC is for each member to have their own copy of the Re-entry Roadmap and an adventurous spirit!
Here’s How to Get Started:
- Check out Kerianne’s RRBC tips — see below.
- Order the Re-entry Roadmap workbook for each group member! You can get the book in fillable PDF format or hard copy.
- Get started!
Re-Entry Roadmap Book Club Tips
By Kerianne Baylor, Book Club Leader
So, first thing’s first: kudos to you for choosing to take the road of reflection to forward launching. It’s a tough and challenging one, but it’s necessary to re-think what it means to return.
I saw re-entry on the horizon as my Fulbright grant to Brazil was coming to an end, and after experiencing re-entry before after two year-long experiences abroad, I knew I had to change how I approached re-entry.
Normally I board my flight home in the absolute worst, don’t-talk-to-me mood. This time, I tried to look forward to the newness of re-entry and maintain the same adventurous, excited outlook that I do when I board a flight to a new place.
I knew that as a Fulbrighter, I had a cohort of other grantees that were returning, too. I tapped into that by posting on our private Facebook group, asking if others wanted to join me in a Re-entry Roadmap Book Club to work through the workbook together. I invited interested Fulbrighters to fill out a Google survey with basic information about their return date and their email. I then worked with Cate to determine a start date and logistically how we would go about doing a Book Club on Facebook. After setting up a private Facebook group, I emailed the interested participants to tell them to 1) buy the workbook and 2) join the Facebook group.
Cate prepared a detailed calendar with activities to do each day (which you can download below). Once we posted initial introductions, we jumped right into the workbook. It was easy to develop online discussions from the start because we all had the shared experience of returning home from abroad. Even if we didn’t all know each other personally because we were spread across the country during our grant, we were all Fulbright English Teaching Assistants in Brazil. This context placed us in a safe space for sharing—we didn’t have to start from square one virtually.
At the start of each week, I posted the activities for the week. Then, each day, I posted the activity for that specific day. Posting each day prompted participants to respond to a question or a prompt in the comments. As visual beings, pictures really worked to engage everyone. Some days I’d post a silly video or meme about Brazil to accompany the day’s re-entry activity; other days it would be an inspirational ‘You got this!’ type picture. Make it light and fun when you can because re-entry is hard!
Moving through the timeline of the workbook activities is a commitment, and some participants responded that getting started was tough. Confronting the feelings that are sparked by the activities, even from the beginning, require a level of intent. But this is ultimately for you and your personal growth. It’s worth the struggle.
By the time you enter the last section of the workbook, you’ll have a feeling for the deep level of reflection these activities and prompts require. Despite the proposed timeline, it’s beneficial to know that you can take your time. You can sit with these activities and prompts and let them settle into your thoughts and reflection over time. After all, the workbook is yours!
My best advice is to approach your book club with intention and positivity. Being gentle with yourself, your group, and your all-over-the-place re-entry emotions. Give yourself the space to reflect and make better sense of the re-entry and relaunching process. Going through re-entry with others who are walking parallel paths does help. Surrounding yourself with awesome, global-minded travelers is inspiring.
A note from Cate: If you’d like some help getting your RRBC off the ground, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org