Coming to the end of your studies
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 you have completed your studies for more information. Make sure that you start thinking about your visa 8-12 weeks before it expires.
Before you leave the UK you may want to consider the following in relation to accommodation:
- If you are living in University provided accommodation, you should inform Residences of the day you plan to leave. You must ensure that your room is clean and left in the same state as when you arrived. Check that all fees and fines have been paid and don’t forget to leave your key at reception.
- 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 Residences if you have been living in University provided accommodation 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 you have completed your studies for more information.
You may also want to consider taking advantage of our Careers Service. You could also register with the Graduate Employment Advice Centre (GEAC). See the Careers Service web pages for International Students to find out advice and information they can offer you.
Before you leave the UK to return home you may want to consider the following in relation to finance:
- Contact Finance (8th Floor, Mackenzie House, 30-36 Newport Road) 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 return the registration certificate when you finally leave the UK.
It is recommended that you send this document with a covering letter detailing your date of departure to the following address:
The Nationality Office,
Rumney Police Station,
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.
Coryfreight (part of Portman Freight)
Tel: 02920 027410
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 (if you pay council tax);
- Rental firms (if applicable);
- Home Insurance company (if applicable);
- The University’s Residences office or your landlord;
- Your Academic School to check dates of results and graduation;
- Your employer (if you have a part time job);
Reverse culture shock
Before coming to study at Cardiff University 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 has been 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 Cardiff University’s Alumni, which is a great way of keeping in touch with friends after you leave. You could check to see if there is an international alumni group in your country;
- 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.
UKCISA: the UK Council for International Student Affairs also have information on their web site on Preparing to return home. This covers the 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 about this subject or obtain further information about returning home then please contact us.