If this is your final year, you will soon be starting to think about returning home. Here, you can find an overview of some of the things you will need to think about before you leave. If you require any further information, please contact us.
If you are thinking about staying in the UK in order to gain some work experience, then please visit Working in the UK after your studies for more information. Make sure that you start thinking about your visa 8-12 weeks before it expires.
There is an excellent resource regarding preparing to return home produced by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA). This can be found on the UKCISA website.
Before you leave the UK you may want to consider the following in relation to accommodation:
- If you are living in University provided Halls of Residence, inform Accommodation Services of the day you plan to leave, and arrange for your key deposit to be returned.
- If you are living in private accommodation, check how much notice you need to give your landlord and make arrangements to have your bond refunded. Make arrangements to move out and return your keys.
- Arrange to get billed for utilities e.g. gas, telephone, electricity, by contacting the relevant companies and asking for a bill up to the day that you are leaving.
- Leave a forwarding address for mail with Accommodation Services if you have been living in Halls or your landlord if you have been living in private accommodation.
- If you have rented any equipment such as a computer or other electrical equipment check your contract to find out how much notice you will need to give to end the agreement.
If you are intending to stay in the UK rather than returning home be sure to visit Working in the UK after your studies for more information.
You may also want to consider taking advantage of our Careers & Employability Service. Staff there can give you advice and information on all aspects of your career including:
- Writing your CV;
- Interview skills;
- Presentation skills;
- Continuing your studies.
You may also be able to access some of the services offered by Careers and Employability via Skype.
Before you leave the UK to return home you may want to consider the following in relation to finance:
- Contact the Finance Department (or go to the cash office in the Library) to check that you don’t have any outstanding debts to the University;
- Pay any outstanding bills;
- Cancel any Direct Debits or Standing Orders with your bank;
- Make arrangements to close any accounts you have opened with banks or building societies;
- Make sure that you have enough money for last minute expenses such as the cost of your journey home, sending your belongings home, graduation ceremony fees;
- Claim any money due to you for example outstanding wages or refunds on car tax/insurance, TV licence, income tax, VAT.
If you were required to register with the Police when you arrived here, you must notify the police when you finally leave the UK. If you email IISA with your name, nationality, date of birth and the date and place that you are leaving from, we shall notify them for you.
Preparing to travel
Before you leave the UK to return home you may want to consider the following in relation to travelling:
- Check that your passport is not due to expire before you leave;
- Make arrangements for travelling home. If you are flying be sure to get to the airport at least 2 hours before your flight;
- Check with your embassy about customs regulations that may apply to any belongings you are planning to take home;
- Think about what you want to take home with you, what you can carry and what you will need to send;
- Decide on the best way to send your belongings home e.g. sea, air or road;
- Choose a company to send your belongings home. The best recommendations usually are by word of mouth, but you can also check the internet and the telephone directory;
- Make sure that the company you use is a member of the British Association of Removers, and ask for written quotations so that you can compare prices and what is included in the price.
Here are some suggestions for companies that you may want to contact with links to their websites where appropriate. Please note that these details are provided for information only and we cannot personally recommend them.
Big Padlock Self Storage
Tel: 02920 488 855
Big Padlock has also provided the following information: Big Padlock Self Storage is your local self storage facility right here in Cardiff. We have units of all sizes and a student package designed specifically for you – we deliver boxes to your door, collect your items once you’ve packed them, store them safely and return them to you when you’re ready. Find out how easy it is with Big Padlock and how much we can save you by giving us a call or sending us an email. Let us do the hard work for you.
Easystore Self Storage
Tel: 029 2046 0066
Easystore Self Storage has also provided the following information: Easystore Self Storage offers quality storage units to students in Cardiff at our storage facility off Newport Road. With a price-beat guarantee and fully flexible options, good value for money is assured. Our storage facilities are all at ground floor level, 100% secure and can be accessed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We also have a storage facility in Bridgend.
Voovit (£10 discount for all students)
Tel: 0151 924 4455
Voovit has also provided the following information: Established for 13 years, VOOVit.com specialise in helping students to ship or store their belongings. Their easy to use website provides instant no-obligation prices to the UK, Europe and many international destinations by both surface and air. VOOVit also offer free storage for up to 8 weeks; you simply pay for the transport to and from their depot.
Before you finally leave the UK you will need to contact some or all of the following to let them know when you intend to leave, you may also wish to leave a forwarding address with appropriate people:
- Your doctor and dentist;
- Your bank (cancel direct debits and standing orders);
- Electricity, gas, telephone and water companies (pay final bills);
- The Council Tax Office (whether or not you pay council tax);
- Rental firms (if applicable);
- Home Insurance company (if applicable);
- The University’s Accommodation Services or your landlord;
- Your Campus Advice Zones (check dates of results and graduation);
- Your employer (if you have a part time job);
Reverse culture shock
Before coming to study at the University of South Wales you probably thought about how you would cope with adjusting to a new country, language, food and customs. But you may not have thought that you might need to make similar sorts of adjustments when you return home. Many people are surprised that they can experience problems re-adjusting to home life, relationships with friends and family and patterns of behaviour. This process of re-adjustment is called ‘reverse culture shock’.
How could it affect you?
You could find that relationships with family and friends have changed. You may feel that you have developed into a different person while you have been away with new ideas and ways of thinking. Your family and friends, however, might expect you to be just the same as you were when you left, and may find it difficult to accept the 'new’ you.
During your studies you may also have developed a different attitude to gender roles or diet, or have become used to a considerable freedom in how you organise your time. Your family and friends could find this difficult to accept at first. Remember that members of your own family will have changed too, and they may even resent that you have been away. All of these things could cause tension at home and make it difficult for you to re-adjust.
If you are returning to a previous job or employer, it’s likely that changes and developments will have occurred while you’ve been away, and you may feel that you have lost touch or feel marginalised. Colleagues may envy you, be hostile towards you or regard you suspiciously. They might even think that the skills you’ve gained while you’ve been away, such as changes in dress, mannerisms or speech are signs that you think that you are superior to them.
They may also have unrealistic expectations of what you can achieve. You could also find that you feel frustrated by a return to old working practices, and feel that you are not having the opportunity to put in to practice the skills you’ve developed during your studies.
Customs and Ideas
When you return home you may find that it will take some time before certain customs and ideas become familiar again. A variety of areas could cause you difficulty, such as styles of dress, gender roles, preparing and serving food, timekeeping, and tolerance of minority views.
How can you prepare for reverse culture shock?
It helps just to be aware that reverse culture shock is a common reaction and that you might experience it. Here are a few ideas for helping you to prepare for your return home:
- Make sure that you get the names and addresses of friends and other people that you want to keep in touch with after you leave the UK;
- You could join University of South Wales’s Alumni, which is a great way of keeping in touch with friends after you leave;
- Talk with other students that have returned home about their experiences;
- Talk to friends, academic and support staff about your feelings about leaving;
- Keep in touch with people from your own country, using your own language;
- Read newspapers and magazines from home;
- Write to family and friends from home;
- Think about how you have changed and what you’ve gained from your time abroad;
- When you arrive home give yourself a few days to rest. If you feel you are tired, depressed or feel generally unwell, it may be due to the stress of change.
University of South Wales Alumni
Make sure you join the University of South Wales Alumni before you leave the UK. This is a great way of keeping in touch with friends after you leave and can help you with networking and potentially even finding a job after you leave!
UKCISA: the UK Council for International Student Affairs have produced a guidance note called Reverse Culture Shock. This discusses practical arrangements you may need to make before you leave the UK and a discussion of reverse culture shock, which many students experience when returning home.
If you would like to speak to someone or obtain further information about returning home then please contact us.