Home Opinion ACT Column Adjustment and Adaptation after Graduation and Returning for International Students

Adjustment and Adaptation after Graduation and Returning for International Students

For international students who choose to return to China after graduation, whether they can adjust their overall state is very important to improve work efficiency and improve their quality of life. As a returnee, the author will combine his own experience to make some suggestions on this topic from four aspects.

-Social Style

The first thing that overseas returnees need to adjust in their daily life is their social style.

Like many friends who have lived in European and American countries, after returning to China, I can more or less realize that the social model of Western society is quite different from that of China.

In foreign countries, urban life sometimes presents the characteristics of “atomization”, that is, individual lives are largely independent. On one hand, individuals will tend to live alone with their parents if they are able to grow up, and the relationship between classmates and colleagues is also relatively alienated in school and workplace. Unless they are like-minded, they will contact each other after leaving campus or company. 

Some international students are used to this kind of cultural environment in foreign countries. Once they return to the country, they sometimes feel uncomfortable or even disgusted with some lack of “distance” behaviors or topics in interpersonal communication. Therefore, after returning home, they need to take the actual situation in social interaction and actively try to change or adjust their lifestyle to gradually adapt to the new social environment.

-state of mind

Adjusting the mentality is one of the preparations that international students need to do before returning to the country, in order to avoid the psychological gap that may occur after returning to the country.

In the job hunting stage, many international students subconsciously think that their comprehensive abilities are “better than others” and have “hidden advantages” in the job market, but the reality has poured cold water. With the increase in the number of international students, the “golden content” of the returnees’ workplace is no longer what it used to be. In addition to the strong competitiveness of well-known overseas returnees, returnees who graduated from some less-known overseas colleges and universities are likely to be “cold” in the job market .

After officially entering the workplace, taking every step steadily is the key to stand out. Needless to say, in some popular industries, there is still a gap between domestic and foreign salary levels, and this is likely to cause a gap in returnees, requiring self-adjustment. If you have a long-term optimistic outlook for your industry, you can make appropriate compromises on salary and treatment. After all, accumulating work experience is the foundation of your career development.


Affected by the different education systems at home and abroad, many international students choose “hot majors” or “mixed majors” in order to expand their employment when applying for schools. However, due to their lack of knowledge of major domestic related industries, they encounter difficulties when returning to China to apply for jobs .

Relevant data from the “2016 China Returnee Employment Survey Report” has shown that among the returned returnees surveyed, only 47.6% believe that they have a clear career plan, and 42.2% of the respondents “do not like their current job and do not know Future development direction.

When applying for a job, everyone will encounter a new problem: Do you return to your country after accumulating experience in a foreign country for a few years, or return to your country directly after graduation to apply for a job? Combining the experiences of several seniors and alumni, the author believes that this mainly depends on the employment market and short-term prospects of the major in the domestic market. For example, if students majoring in science and engineering have overseas employment experience, it will help to improve their competitiveness, and if they have the opportunity, they can enter counterpart jobs to accumulate experience. However, for some professions that are highly dependent on surrounding social resources, the longer they work abroad, the higher the potential “transition cost”. Students of this type of major may wish to return to China to seek employment as soon as possible to accumulate social resources in China.

In addition, because the systems and theories used and referenced in some professions are not exactly the same at home and abroad, there will be “unacceptable” situations. This requires returnees to complete the transformation as soon as possible when working in China and adapt to the domestic environment.

-Job field

The workplace is a specific place for international students to apply their professional skills after returning to the country. Changes in the environment will bring about a series of changes. Whether or not personal personality is “in sync” with corporate culture and whether values ​​are in line with corporate culture are all critical to doing a good job. There are also many differences in the workplace culture at home and abroad.

Some returnees admitted that the country where they study abroad has clear boundaries between private time and working time. Except for a few special industries, employees enjoy personal freedom during off-duty hours and will not respond to work-related calls or emails from superiors or colleagues. In China, the boundaries between work and get off work in some companies are unclear, some companies often work overtime, and some leaders are accustomed to assigning work to employees outside of working hours. These differences require returnees to pay special attention to when applying for jobs and at work.

At the same time, when choosing a company to join, it must be prioritized based on personal work habits. There are many types of private companies, and some small companies are under pressure, but newcomers in the workplace may get more opportunities in flat management; state-owned companies have stable positions , But sometimes there are problems of lack of vitality and creativity. These all require returnees to weigh the pros and cons and comprehensively consider them.

In short, after returning home, they will face the dual transformation of material and spirit. Whether they can balance the pressure and formulate a suitable career plan based on their own situation is a matter of future. Making timely adaptations and adjustments will provide a more solid and stable foundation for their future life and work in China, and will also increase the happiness and sense of gain in returning home.

Songzi Li/Editing Manager


[Urbana] FRESH Teen Hangout Zone

Friday, February 24, 3:30-6 pmAt Phillips Recreation Center: 505 W Stoughton Urbana, IL 61801Grades 6-12 Urbana Park District is...


Join the the University YMCA, Diversity & Social Justice Education, & local community organization for an Open House this Thursday!

[Urbana] Come see the best in local photography on display February 4 – 12

The winners in the Best in Show Photographic Print Competition will be on display at Lincoln Square February 4  - 12.

[Illinois] Student Engagement and Leadership Development (SELD) Internship 

SELD interns play a pivotal role in supporting student-focused and student-centered work at the University YMCA. After successful completion of the internship,...