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Returning Home Guide

Are you finishing up your program and ready to return home with your new qualification? If so, we have some things for you to consider.

Although all care was taken when compiling this document, no responsibility is accepted by the publisher, editor or printer for the accuracy of information contained in this publication and the editors, publishers and printers expressly disclaim any and all liability to any person in relation to anything and of the consequences of anything done or omitted to be done by any such person in reliance, whether whole or partial, upon the whole or any part of the content of this publication.

  • Returning Home? What's Next?

    Congratulations on your upcoming graduation or the completion of your study abroad/exchange program.

    Decisions are important at this stage of your journey. Should you consider further study options in Australia or elsewhere; prepare to return home; explore employment opportunities; apply for positions; or apply for permanent residency (PR) after completing your studies at the University of Adelaide?

    Many of you are preparing to pack your belongings, checking out of your rooms, flats, and houses in Adelaide, and saying goodbye to some of your newfound friends.

    What lies ahead for those who return home can be stressful for some, and to most, unexpected. We call it "reverse culture fatigue". For some students, this phase never occurs or has little effect; for others, it can be an experience that takes time and effort to conquer. We have prepared this workbook because practical and personal preparation can help the transition back to your home country and culture by physically and emotionally preparing you to say goodbye.

  • Further Study at the University of Adelaide

    If you would like to continue your studies at the University of Adelaide you can apply internally through the International Admissions Office. Applications for undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs are made through an online submission. No supporting documents are required unless otherwise requested. Online applications can be submitted to the International Admissions Office.

    For more information on application closing dates and important deadlines for coursework programs, study abroad & exchange, and postgraduate research programs see here.

    As a continuing student, if you commence a new program next semester you will not need to pay the AU$9000 deposit. Instead, you will continue to receive an invoice each semester on Access Adelaide.

  • Academic Transcript

    It is a good idea to get a copy of your academic transcript before you leave. However, you are advised to wait until your final grades have been posted on Access Adelaide before ordering an academic transcript to ensure that you have a complete listing of your grades.

    Academic transcripts must be ordered and paid for ONLINE ONLY.

    Online Portal for Ordering Transcripts

    Orders can take up to 5 business days to process, and can be collected at the Ask Adelaide Service Area, on Level 3 of Hub Central. Students should provide photo ID. Your transcript can also choose to have it posted to you for an additional charge.

    • 1 copy is $20
    • Postage is $10 for local postage or $40 for international postage
    • Express processing is $12
    • Outstanding Debts

      Outstanding debts must be paid to the University before Ask Adelaide can print the transcript(s) for you. If not, a Negative Service Indicator will appear on your student record and will limit the services available to you until the debt is paid.

    • Course results

      Students’ final course results will be available online via Access Adelaide. First semester results are expected to be released by 12 July 2016. If your result is not available when you log in, contact your School or Faculty for advice. Please note University staff members are not permitted to release results over the telephone.

      Grading System - What Do the Letters in my Results Mean?

      The letters in your results are grades. There are many grading bases used within the University. Each course is assessed using one of the following grades. Students must direct queries about their grades or the grading bases for their courses to the relevant School or Faculty.

      • HD - High Distinction (85-100)
      • D - Distinction (75-84)
      • C - Credit (65-74)
      • P - Pass (50-64)
      • F - Fail (0-49)
      • WNF - Withdraw No Fail
      • WF - Withdraw Fail
      • NGP - Non Graded Pass
      • 1 - First Class
      • 2a - Second Class division A
      • 2b - Second Class division B
      • 3 - Third Class
      • CN - Continuing
      • CP - Conceded Pass (45-49)
      • IF - Incomplete Fail
      • FNS - Fail No Submission
      • NAH - Not Awarded
      • NFE - No Formal Examination
      • RP - Result Pending
      • S - Satisfactory
      • U - Unsatisfactory
      • WDN - Withdrawn
      • WH - Withheld (refer to Faculty)

      Keep Course Descriptions

      It is suggested that before you go home you print the relevant course descriptions from the course profile. Keep these with your Academic Transcript, as they may be helpful for job applications or for future credit transfer if you wish to do further studies in other universities anywhere in the world. For further information on how to find course descriptions see:

      You may also simply print or save your current Course Outlines from Access Adelaide.

    • Graduation

      Congratulations! The fact that you are reading this means that you have already completed your studies or expect to complete them in the very near future. All student records will be checked once examination results become available and eligible students will have a statement added to their transcripts confirming that they have completed their awards. The Graduations Office will contact all students who indicate that they expect to complete their program at the end of semester via Access Adelaide with information about the graduation process, ceremony dates, and parchment collection procedures.

      For onshore and offshore graduation ceremony dates see:

      How Do I Graduate?

      Graduating from the University of Adelaide is an easy process. First, you'll need to be conferred, and then you can receive your parchment. Conferral means that you have completed all requirements for your award and are eligible to become a legal graduate of the University. An award (i.e. your degree) can then be bestowed. The University of Adelaide confers students three times a year. Once you have met all of the requirements of your award, you must be conferred.

      Please follow the steps below to apply for conferral:

      Step 1 – Respond to your automatic application or submit a manual application

      Step 2 – Make sure personal details are correct

      Step 3 – Check your eligibility

      Step 4 – Choose how to receive your parchment

      For more information see the Graduations page on the University web:

    • Extending Your Stay

      Only the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and registered migration agents are licensed to give advice about immigration matters. It is important that you read through the DIBP website thoroughly. Please note that there is no requirement for you to use a migration agent, and your application will not be treated any differently if you ‘do’ or ‘do not’.

      Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

      Can I stay in Australia after my studies have been completed?

      You may apply to remain in Australia for a short period of time on a Visitor’s Visa for the purpose of attending your graduation ceremony or to holiday (if the time needed is not covered by your current student visa). If you wish to stay longer, you will need to explore other visa options.

      When should I apply for further study?

      Always apply for further study before your current visa expires. If you are continuing studies, after you have accepted an offer of a place, and received a new Confirmation of Enrolment (COE), you must apply for a new Student visa.See DIBP's website for more detail.

      Can I stay for a holiday or graduation after my visa expires?

      If your current Student visa is about to expire and you wish to have a holiday in Australia or to attend your graduation ceremony, you can apply for a Visitor visa. You will need to provide DIBP with a copy of your academic transcripts showing that you have completed your course. Therefore, you cannot do this until exam results are released and a degree check has been performed by your School or Faculty. See DIBP’s website for further information on Visitor visas and application forms.

      What do I do if I have been offered employment?

      If you have received an offer of employment by an Australian employer able to sponsor you, you may be eligible to apply for an Employer Sponsored visa. Please see DIBP's website for more information on Work visas.

      Am I eligible for General Skilled migration?

      You might be. If you have completed one or more Australian degrees which required at least two years of full-time study, you may be eligible to apply for a skilled visa in Australia. Find out more information at SkillSelect.

      What is a Skilled – Graduate (Temporary) visa (subclass 485)?

      This visa allows overseas students who do not meet the criteria for a permanent General Skilled Migration visa to remain in Australia for 18 months to gain skilled work experience or improve their English language skills. See DIBP's website for more information.

      Who do I contact for more information?

      You may contact your nearest DIBP office by ringing 131 881 for the cost of a local call, or by visiting the website:; or you can make direct contact by visiting their office at 70 Franklin Street, Adelaide.

      The table below (adapted from the DIBP website) outlines some of the visa options that are available to you and advises where you can find more information (Please Note: this is a guide only – the ISC is unable to advise on visa applications. For more information, please contact DIBP or a registered migration agent).

      Visa Options
      To continue your studies Student Visa (500)
      To stay onshore while you wait for your research thesis to be examined Student Visa (500) Please see staff at International Student Support
      To attend your graduation ceremony or to holiday in Australia
      (provided you do not have an 8534 or 8535 – No Further Stay – condition on your current student visa)
      Visitor Visa
      For more details on No Further Stay conditions see:
      To migrate to Australia General Skilled Migration
    • Careers Service

      Are you planning to return home to work after you graduate? Or are you thinking about an international career in a different country? To get started, you should do some research about the job market at home or in the country in which you want to work.

      The University of Adelaide Careers Service assists students to achieve career goals and make the transition from university student to workplace professional. They can provide you with career management skills and services such as resume checks, career advice, workshop & online learning modules and careers events that will enable you to compete in the global market place throughout your career.

      CareerHub is also a free online job database that can assist you with:

      Graduate Programs
      Vacation Programs
      Program-related casual work
      Career resources and info sheets
      Employer presentations

      For more information on job resources and international job opportunities see:
    • Going Home

      Moving can be a daunting and tiring process, but preparation and knowing what needs to be done will make it much easier. The process of moving out will vary depending on the type of lease agreement or contract you have. You might be leaving a share house or vacating an entire property, leaving a room in student housing or at a college. All will have some obligations and things to do before you leave.

      Selling Unwanted Items/Text books

      Use the on-campus notice boards to advertise your goods.

      Use the classified section on MyUni or the AUU Marketplace.

      Set up a garage sale on the weekend

      Several friends may want to get together and have a Garage Sale. It is worth advertising garage sales, and the local newspapers are good places to advertise. Be prepared for people to phone or come by from very early in the morning, and Second Hand Shop owners often are the earliest customers. Be prepared to bargain. Be security conscious and have a friend there with you. Hold garage sales outside under cover. Do not let strangers into your home. Try not to leave your goods unattended.

      Donate your goods

      Most charities will also accept donations of clothing, electrical goods, furniture, other household items from the kitchen should you decide not to take them with you when you leave the country. Just remember, the items need to be in good condition.

      Alternatively, you may wish to pay to advertise in the Trading Post, The Messenger, or The Advertiser, especially if you’re selling a vehicle or any other expensive items.

      If you can replace an item cheaply at home, then sell it NOW! If you have things worth selling put a sign up on notice boards around the University stating the price you want for each item. REMEMBER not to leave it to the last minute. If you own pots and pans, kitchenware or cleaning equipment, get rid of them, sell them or give them to a friend as an early Christmas present.

      Packing & Shipping

      The method of transport you choose to use to send your things home will probably depend on the value, size, and weight of the items and how soon you need them once you get home. Consider sorting through your things NOW, and separating them into things you will need between now and when you leave and things you can start to send home now. This will give you a better idea of how much you have to take home and when you will need to post/ship it.

      There are several ways of sending your belongings home:

      Sea / Air Cargo are usually used for container size or other large shipments.
      Australia Post is good for light and small objects.
      Excess luggage is again good for those last minute purchases or light objects.
      Unaccompanied baggage is often seen as the most convenient and cost effective. There are two main types of service – the airline you are flying with and an unaccompanied baggage service.
      If you are going to use the same airline, arrangements must be made with the airline on your ticket prior to your departure. (This is often expensive).

      How Do I Pack My Things?

      Your baggage is travelling a long way, so pack accordingly! Remember these are your valuable possessions that may not be able to be replaced. Use suitcases or good quality strong boxes or cartons – do not overload them. Supermarket boxes are usually lightweight boxes for groceries, so be very selective and use only strong boxes. It is advisable not to use polystyrene boxes or the red and white striped bags. If you are using second hand boxes, ensure that old names and details are erased. Use good quality packing tape and packing material.

      Pack delicate things in the centre and surround with clothes or newspapers. Computers and hi-fi equipment should be packed in their original box. If you do not have the box any more, go back to the computer or hi-fi shop and they can probably help. Make a list and take photographs. It is wise to make a list of what you have sent as unaccompanied baggage. Make a copy for the company you use and one for yourself. Take photographs as proof of the current condition of your items in case baggage is lost or damaged. You may need to show these to an insurance company if you have organised insurance.

      Baggage Agents

      For a list of baggage agents, visit the Yellow Pages directory online and search under Baggage Agents, Air Cargo Services and Shipping Companies. It is advisable for you to get at least 3 quotes for freighting/shipping your possessions home, as businesses are very competitive and prices vary.

    • Going Home Checklist

      Use this list to help organise your plans for returning home:

      1a. Make a list!

      1b. Inform your Real Estate Agent/ landlord of your intention to leave, in writing, giving them the required length of notice as stated on your lease. Ask to sign a claim form for bond, provided by agent/ landlord who will forward it to rental bond board for a refund.

      2. Contact the provider to disconnect your landline telephone. Settle all outstanding phone bills.

      3. Contact your gas/electricity provider to disconnect your gas/electricity . Settle all outstanding bills.

      4. Finalise any outstanding medical bills/ claims.

      5. Close your bank account. Pay any outstanding amount on your credit cards.

      6. Return outstanding library books, borrowed items, etc.

      7. Clear all outstanding debts with the University.

      8. If you intend to attend your graduation ceremony, make sure you complete the necessary forms.

      9. Give the University your permanent home address via Access Adelaide.

      10. Don’t ‘sneak’ out of town! Call or visit your friends to inform them of your departure.

      11. If you intend to get rid of certain items, make a list and advertise it around the campus or donate the goods to other students.

      12. Make arrangements for your personal effects to be sent home. Ask around and compare prices of shipping companies, air and sea mail, and airfreight. Consider the length of time it will take for parcels to arrive. Check with airlines on excess luggage and costs.

      13. Make arrangements for transportation to the airport early, particularly if you have a lot of luggage.

      14. Purchase air ticket.

      15. Make sure you have a valid passport.

    • Financial Matters

      Close Your Bank Accounts

      It is important to close your bank accounts before you leave to avoid bank fees and charges. If you expect any transactions after you have left Australia (e.g. final payment of wages), discuss your circumstances with your bank.Do not take out a large amount in cash.

      Claiming Superannuation Payments

      If you have accumulated any superannuation whilst working in Australia, you may be eligible to access your superannuation (subject to withholding tax) when you permanently leave Australia. You will need to complete an “Application for Departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP)” form for temporary residents which is available at:

      This form may be completed if you are an eligible temporary resident who is requesting a payment of your superannuation benefits from your superannuation fund.

      Alternatively, you may complete an equivalent form available from your superannuation fund. If you are still in Australia, please call the Superannuation Info line for further information on 13 10 20. If you have left Australia, you can email

      Lodging Your Tax Return

      The Australian Tax Office (ATO) policy may accept early lodgement of returns for individuals before the end of the financial year in certain circumstances. These are the circumstances:

      International Students here for less than six months

      You are considered a non-resident of Australia for tax purposes and can lodge an early return if:

      • You are leaving Australia permanently, and

      • You will no longer derive Australian sourced income (excluding interest, dividend, and royalty income).

      International Students here for longer than six months

      You are considered a resident of Australia for tax purposes and can lodge an early return if:

      • You are leaving Australia, and

      • Are ceasing to be a resident of Australia for tax purposes, and

      • You will no longer derive Australian sourced income (excluding interest, dividend, and royalty income).

      If you are unsure whether or not you will continue to be a resident of Australia for tax purposes, read how to work out your residency at:

      If you are not leaving Australia permanently, or will receive Australian sourced income (other than interest, dividends, and royalties) after leaving Australia, you should lodge your return during the normal lodgement period (1 July to 31 October).

      How to Lodge an Early Tax Return

      If you meet the requirements outlined above, you will need to:

      • Contact the Australian Taxation Office to discuss your situation

      • Collect a payment summary from each of your employers and details of other income you have earned in Australia.

      • Complete your tax return

      For further information visit the ATO website:

      Overseas Student Health cover (OSHC) Refund

      If you have been studying in Australia on a student visa, you will have had overseas student health cover (OSHC) and may be entitled to a refund for any outstanding cover. For example, you may have 4 months of cover left on your policy, which you will not use after you leave Australia, so you can claim it back. See your health cover provider for details. For refund forms for the health cover provider Allianz OSHC, see the Allianz representative in the Hub Central. You will need to provide evidence of the day you plan to leave Australia, (e.g. an air ticket) and details of an overseas bank account. Allianz OSHC’s refund form is also available online at: the Allianz OSHC website..

      Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS)

      The TRS enables you to claim a refund of the goods and services tax (GST) that you pay on goods you buy in Australia. The scheme is limited and is only relevant to amounts for purchases over $300 in one store within 30 days of your departure. For further information see:

    • Arriving Home

      Why Should I be Anxious about Going Home? It’s Not a Foreign Country.

      You expect to have some difficulty when you go to a new place, speak a different language, and learn the rules of a different culture. But why be anxious about going home?

      Be aware of the changes in yourself. You will have changed significantly. Your values and interests, your thought processes, and even your political and religious beliefs may have changed. You will not return home unchanged. Whether you like the changes or not makes little difference, they will have occurred and you need to be aware of them. It is easy to assume that because you are returning home, you will know what to expect and how to behave, and that you will be happy in your own environment again. Students often discover that things at home have also changed, particularly if a few years have passed.

      Students, business people, and others who have lived in another country for a year or more often find that returning home is more difficult than adjusting to a foreign culture. Many go through a period of feeling unsettled before their confidence returns.

      Research has shown that preparation can help reduce the disorientation and shock of returning home. As when you arrived in Australia, you may experience ‘culture shock’ when returning home. There appear to be four distinctive patterns or phases:

      The excitement of returning

      Re-establishment and frustration

      Gaining a sense of control


      Unique Aspects of the Re-Entry Experience for International Students

      When you came to South Australia as a student you may have expected to be an ‘outsider’ or in the minority. On returning home you may expect to feel at home, at ease, and a part of the ‘in-group’. However, students returning home often find the environment less familiar than they expected. Exposure to different ways of living will have influenced your expectations about returning home. For example, while in Australia you may have experienced new opportunities in the areas of relationships, personal freedom, employment, and career prospects. On returning home you will once again be required to adapt, and you may not be aware of the changes in yourself - how you think and what you believe. It is useful be aware of these changes and think about the nature of the changes before returning home.

      Issues international students may encounter on their return

      Coming home is also a period of integration; you need to integrate what you have learned abroad into your life back home. There are many areas in which you may experience difficulty readjusting. Listed below are some of those areas and some suggested strategies for how to work through these issues.

      1. Family: You may be expected to fit back into your family but find it difficult to communicate effectively because your family has not shared your experiences in Australia. Your family may have difficulty adjusting to your newfound independence or changed values.

      Strategies: Share your experience with your family (photos, new Facebook friends, stories, etc.) and let them know how much you appreciate their support for your studies and personal growth.

      2. Friends: You and your old friends may no longer be as close as you once were. You will need to be sensitive about discussing your experience with them. You may also miss the friends you have made in Australia.

      Strategies: Ask about and listen to what your friends have experienced while you were away. Ask to be brought up to date on local events. Try and do new things together to restart the relationship on a new footing. Keep in touch with your Adelaide friends too (Facebook, emails, etc.).

      3. Country: It is possible that at first your home culture may no longer be entirely to your liking and you may have the sense that you no longer fit in. In the future you will probably continue to evaluate ideas and events in the context of the broader cultural perspective you have acquired while in Adelaide.

      Strategies: Come to terms with the fact that we all tend to look past the shortcomings of our home culture when we are away, and to criticise it on the basis of changed perspectives when we return. Make friends with an interest in international or intercultural affairs.

      Keep up with news from Australia and Adelaide through reading online news media. For example:

      4. Self: You have been on your own having to deal with your academic program, living in a new country, and the resulting high level of activity and anticipation this has created. You may feel restless or a bit depressed for a while after you return.

      Strategies: Recuperate from the physical journey. Think about the ways you have changed: What did you learn about yourself? How have your family and friends reacted to these changes? Keep a journal so that you can see how your thoughts evolve over time. Talk with other returning students who may feel the same way.

      Do You Remember...?

      Write down your memories.

      Q. Do you remember your first day in Australia? Describe it.

      Q. Do you remember how you felt when you arrived on campus? What was it like? How did you feel?

      Q. Do you remember the excitement, the strangeness, the enjoyment and maybe even the boredom? What were some of your first impressions?

      Q. Most of all, do you remember the fear and wondering? What were you afraid of? Did you have any apprehensions?

      Q. Did you wonder how you would cope with your study program, the different culture; and independence?

      Q. What were some of the major differences you noticed between Adelaide and your home country?

      Q. Do you remember the first time you sat in a lecture, your first tutorial presentation, and your first exams? What did you think? Could you follow the lecturer? Were there lots of people? Was the subject material difficult to follow?

      Please complete the following sentences in your own words. Write whatever comes to your mind. This exercise aims to help you make the psychological transition needed to return home.

      When I think of leaving, I feel...

      Before I leave I want to...

      On returning home, I think my family will expect me to...

      When I arrive back in my home country, I am looking forward to...

      When I return home, in relation to money I will need to...

      In relation to a career I hope to... The one idea or experience I want to share with my friends and family is...

      I need to do the following to take care of myself:

    • Bon Voyage & Keep in Touch!

      We encourage you to stay in contact with your fellow classmates, your teachers, and the University community, through the Alumni program. University Engagement is your direct and continuing contact with the University, your friends and colleagues after you graduate.

      You are part of a large and rapidly growing number of alumni who live throughout the world. As an alumnus of the University of Adelaide you are a member of a vibrant community, full of social, professional, and networking opportunities available through Adelaide onLION, your area of study, and our Alumni Networks. You may be far from campus, but the Adelaide alumni network stretches across the globe.

      Benefits of Involvement with your Alumni:

      Ongoing contact with your University through alumni events.

      Establishing a personal support network through a network of interest.

      Advice on securing employment.

      Enhance the profile of your University overseas.

      Mentoring opportunities – many Alumni network members are prominent business people and experts in their particular field.

      Network events provide information, networking, and mentoring opportunities for you to learn from those already established in a field.

      Involvement in a volunteer organisation such as an overseas alumni network is a positive addition to your CV.

      The Adelaide onLION Project

      Adelaide onLION is an exclusive online community for all University of Adelaide alumni whether in Australia or overseas and gives members the opportunity to connect with the University and fellow alumni within a safe and secure online environment. Membership is free!

      Who Is Eligible to Join Adelaide onLION?

      Adelaide onLION is open to graduates, current and former staff, and current and former students, with limited access for friends of the University. All member information is securely stored in an exclusive community. Visit to activate your free account.

      Some of the Main Features of the Community


      The Professional Directory gives members the opportunity to find job and mentoring opportunities, post job vacancies, upload resumes, and network with professionals in their field. Members are also able to connect with fellow classmates, make new contacts, take part in online discussions, join groups, activate their Perpetual Email account and create a personal profile, with photos, blogs, and embedded content.

      Alumni news and benefits

      Members are able to stay in touch with the latest news, events, and benefits for alumni, from podcasts and publications to competitions and special offers only for alumni.


      Perpetual Email

      Perpetual Email is a free email forwarding service available to graduates from 2003 onwards. Perpetual Email forwards messages to your chosen email account, allowing you to keep a single, University-based email address no matter where your life takes you.

      To activate your perpetual email, visit:

      Official University Merchandise

      Consider purchasing University Merchandise (clothing, stationery, a Graduation bear, etc.) to take back with you from The General Adelaide store on our North Terrace Campus. You can also connect with them on Facebook and find their opening hours on their website.

      Alumni Networks

      Alumni Networks can assist you, with continuing your connection, and interaction with other graduates, and with the University community, through a variety of activities, both social and professional. For more information and contact details visit the Networking Section of Alumni's website.

      International Alumni Networks

      Adelaide University Alumni Association Singapore

      Australia Global Alumni

      North East USA Alumni Network

      Sarawak Alumni of the University of Adelaide

      South Australian Universities Alumni Europe

      Thailand Network

      The University of Adelaide Alumni Association Hong Kong Inc

      The University of Adelaide Alumni Malaysia Bhd

      People to keep in contact when you return home

      After reading this guide you are encouraged to contact the following staff if you have any further questions. Once you have returned home, if you need help or have any further problems, please feel free to contact us.

      Phone +61 8 8313 4828
      Fax +61 8 8313 4352
      Email: ISC Email

      Phone +61 8 8313 5208
      Fax +61 8 8313 4401

      Phone +61 8 8313 5123
      Fax +61 8 8313 3811

      Phone +61 8 8313 5800
      Fax +61 8 8313 5808
      Office Level 1, 230 North Terrace, Adelaide, SA, 5005, Australia


    International Student Support (Kenneth Wills Building)

    Call us +61 8 8313 4828
    Opening Hours: Monday 10am-5pm, Tuesday to Friday 9am-5pm
    Contact us
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