What Do You Want to Do Next After Living Abroad?

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You’re in re-entry after being abroad. Do you know what you want to do next?

My friend Pouneh and I created a short (and free!) ebook called Finding Your Next Global Adventure at Home or Abroad to help you figure out what you most want to do next.

Here we discuss how our guide stemmed from our own re-entry experiences. Learn from our experiences so you don’t make the same mistakes we did! 🙂

On Why We Created Our “Next Adventure” Guide

Cate: Far too often we’re unclear about what we want to accomplish, learn, experience or feel in our next global adventure. That often leads us to grab the first opportunity that comes our way, simply because we’re afraid that will be the only opportunity that will come our way.

I’ve made decisions based on this fear more times than I can count!

Pouneh: I completely agree, Cate. In college, my first study abroad experience was a summer in France. I chose to do this instead of moving back home for the summer to work at the mall. Sounds smart, right? What if I told you I was a Spanish major in college and can’t speak a lick of French today. Sadly, I have several other examples I could share.

For those who are new to my site, I am a staunch advocate of using travel to develop career expertise and build your brand while seeing the world. I see no reason to choose, and that’s why I haven’t!

My global career has taken me around the world for over a decade now, but I cringe every time I look back and think of all the missed opportunities to develop myself and my career during the beginning of my global life.

Cate: I’ve learned that if you have a vision for what you want your life to be like down the road, it’s much easier to evaluate potential opportunities and feel confident in your decision to accept or pass on them.

Re-entry is a fantastic time to reflect on who you are and what you want your life to be like, now that you’ve had a transformative experience abroad. It’s helpful to look back at what you did well and what you could have done better, so you can apply what you learned to your next experience. Doing so will help you be much more intentional and find the best next step for you. 

On Thinking About What We Want Our Lives to Be Like in the Future

Cate: When I was about to graduate from college I knew that three things were important to me:

1) I wanted to live abroad again
2) I needed to earn enough money to make my huge student loan payments, and
3) I wanted to do something that would make me an attractive grad school candidate.

I was much more intentional about finding my next global adventure than in previous years out of sheer necessity.

Fortunately, I found a teaching job (in just one day!) that met my criteria and I spent a wonderful year teaching and traveling in Europe before grad school. Everyone I knew thought moving abroad to teach English was a crazy idea but because the teaching gig met my criteria, I confidently pursued the opportunity.

Pouneh: I had a similar experience regarding when I started to get strategic about my choices. I have finally admitted that I did rush into my grad school program in Europe within 8 months of graduating, but I quickly learned that my 2yr program would be over before I knew it and so I was determined to take advantage of every opportunity I could find or create.

Now, I teach others how to do the same so that they won’t have any regrets after returning home from a global experience. Like I mentioned before, in some ways, I feel I wasted my first two experiences abroad because I didn’t really return from abroad with anything that would help me in life: personal or professional.


It helps to have a supportive group of people who get what you’re going through cheering you on as you find your next global adventure. Head over to the Re-Entry Relaunchers Unite! Facebook group for more support and inspiration!

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About the Author: Cate Brubaker

Dr. Cate Brubaker is a re-entry/repatriation coach, consultant, and author of the Re-Entry Roadmap creative workbook and the Study Abroad Re-entry Toolkit. Cate has lived in Germany, worked and traveled in 36 countries on four continents, and has helped all kinds of globetrotters successfully navigate global transitions for over 20 years.

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