Step 5: Upon your return

Are you feeling a bit of culture shock?

Some students returning from exchange programs have experienced a harder culture shock on their return to Canada than on their arrival abroad. Why? The experience of living abroad will change you – although you may not even notice the changes. Part of the pre-departure session will include how to prepare for your return to Canada and strategies to adopt while abroad and back home to ensure a successful reintegration into your life in Canada.

Returning students evening

The International Office has the pleasure of organizing a Returning Student’s evening in the month of October and February featuring slide-shows, pizza and beverages.  You will be informed by e-mail of the date and time of the evening.

Complete the final requirements


Upon your return from the exchange, you must submit to the International Office (IO) the returning students' questionnaire (PDF) based on your experience abroad. These questionnaires will be made available for promotional use to students interested in going on exchange. Feedback is very important to ensure the continued success of our exchange program.

The staff of the International Office may contact you to request your participation in the information sessions or the pre-departure workshop the year following your exchange to speak to students about your exchange experience. 

Some positions as Information Officers are available at the IO for returning students (ask about details in July-August). You must qualify under the Work-Study Program.


Upon your return to Canada, an official transcript from your host institution will either be sent to you or to the International Office. If you receive the documents, you must submit one copy to the International Office for administrative purposes (you will keep all original copies). If the IO receives your transcript, we will contact you to come retrieve the original copy at our office. In either case, the IO will send a copy to your faculty.

Join the Buddy Program

As a participant in the Buddy Program, you will be paired with an exchange student who will study at the University of Ottawa for either one session or for a full academic year. Becoming a buddy is an excellent opportunity to meet people from other cultures and to improve linguistic capabilities. The Buddy Program can also be a good way of helping with reverse culture shock as it allows you to share your experience with other students who are facing the challenges and joys of a new environment.

With your help, the exchange student will adapt more easily to new cultural surroundings. On a voluntary basis, you could meet the exchange student upon his or her arrival at the Ottawa airport, train or bus station and accompany him or her to his or her place of residence. You could also help the exchange student with the necessary administrative steps and introduce him or her to other Canadians. It is entirely up to you to determine the extent of your involvement with the exchange student.

To participate, please complete the Application Form

Deadlines to apply for the Buddy program

  • Fall session: August 25th
  • Winter session: December 15th
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