Remember back to when you were preparing to leave home and come to Melbourne for the first time? Returning home is just as significant and you need to ensure that you are well prepared.
As your time at MCOHB comes to an end, you will probably be looking forward to seeing friends, family and familiar faces. It is very common to go through a period of adjustment upon your return home, which is sometimes referred to as “re-entry shock” or “reverse culture shock.”
This may be the case whether you return home for a brief visit, for a few months or to move home permanently. For some people, readjusting to the home culture can be even more challenging than the initial adjustment to the host culture. Fortunately, you can take steps to ensure a smooth transition. Studies have shown that preparation can help to reduce the disorientation, and also helps people to settle back into home more easily. Although many people go through periods of feeling unsettled after returning home, re-adjustment does occur naturally. Most people look back with pleasure on the experience and skills they acquired while abroad. We are confident that by reading the following information re-entry transition will be a positive experience for you.
The following are some possible situations that may add to your stress in re-adjusting when you return home:
• changes in life-styles and daily routines
• family and/or community pressures to conform
• changes from an emphasis on individualism in Australian society to a more family/group-centred attitude
• adjustment to having friends and family close by
• social alienation due to long stay abroad
• unfamiliarity with forms of communication or styles of expressions that have become current during your absence
• verbal and non-verbal modes and mannerisms adopted in Australia may be misinterpreted by others
• challenges of re-interpreting and adapting your skills to the local situations
• lack of facilities or resources for research
• wrong expectations on the part of colleagues
• difficulties with finding suitable employment in one’s chosen field
• no opportunity to communicate what was learned overseas resistance to change by one’s co-workers, especially those in authority
How can I prepare?
Here are some suggestions that other students have found useful:
Feel familiar, but you may also feel that there is something out of place, which you just cannot see at first glance.
• It will be helpful to give yourself time to think about what you are feeling, and how your view of your familiar home and culture have changed and why. Allow time for you and your family to settle back into the rhythm.
• Try to remember to respond slowly when you first return to your home and work. Do not try to change the way they do things because you see a ‘different’ way. Different does not always mean better. Show people that you appreciate the way things are done locally, and as opportunities arise, integrate your new knowledge with the ways things are done traditionally.
• Reserve judgement. Give yourself time to process what you learned, and think through the wider impact of introducing new ways of doing things. What works in one situation, may not work in another. Pick ideas which will work well for you, and discard those which will not. Try new things…but not immediately!
• Try to be sensitive to other people’s feelings. Are they really not interested in your experiences, or are they envious of the opportunities you have had.
• Try not to idealise Australia, or criticise your own country… and vice-versa. Attempt to remain objective. Be careful about how you phrase your comments and criticism about your country.
• You may be used to Australians being free and quick to criticise. Do not forget that it may not be acceptable to do the same at home.
• Be flexible, keep your sense of humour and try not to do too much too quickly.
• Write your ideas and feelings to friends and staff in Australia if you cannot find someone locally with whom to talk.
Adapted from: Denny, M. Going Home: A guide to Professional Integration. NAFSA, 1986, Washington D.C
Checklist of Things to Do
There may seem to be a million tasks to complete before you can get on the plane for your return trip home! This list may help you to organise your time, and remind you of some jobs which you may not have considered. You may like to add other items to the list.
BOOK RETURN FLIGHT HOME
Take into consideration the date of your last exam, progressive release of semester results (third week after exam period, when your visa expiries.
NOTIFY YOUR FAMILY OF YOUR ARRIVAL DATE
Don’t surprise them- they may need time to prepare for your return home too!
ORGANISE YOUR POSSESSIONS
Identify what you want to bring home and what you can sell (advertise with Student Guild, Trading Post, among friends, second hand shops etc).
CHOOSE THE WAY TO BRING HOME LUGGAGE
If you have excess baggage organise freight overseas
FILE OUTSTANDING MEDICAL INSURANCE CLAIMS
Email or go there in person.
LODGE A TAX RETURN
If you have been working part-time, bring the following documents to the Australian Taxation
o Your return airline ticket
o Your passport
o The group certificate from your employer (if you cannot get a group certificate, request a letter from your employer stating the number of hours you worked, the gross amount paid to you and the amount of tax deducted). When completing the tax pack at the taxation office mark it ‘Final Return’. You must include your forwarding address (in your home country) so that the tax refund cheque will be sent directly to you. <
CLEAR DEBTS WITH AIL
For example, tuition fees, so that your certificate and transcript can be released.
ASK LECTURERS AND EMPLOYERS FOR REFERENCES
Start to collect personal and work references for your resume. Information about organisations you have worked for either paid or unpaid will also be useful.
APPLY FOR MEMBERSHIP TO PROFESSIONAL BODIES
Find out about requirements and application procedures for joining associations and bodies relevant to your profession. Ask them to send the information to your address overseas.
GIVE NOTICE TO LANDLORD
Inform the landlord/agent of the date you wish to terminate your lease (Give at least 14 days notice). Check the expiry date in your lease you may be able to negotiate to stay until your departure date. Should you find it necessary to move out of your accommodation before the lease expires, negotiate with the landlord to avoid any penalties. Organise temporary accommodation if you have to move out before you depart.
ARRANGE A TIME FOR INSPECTION
Find a time to inspect the property with your landlord/agent. Use your copy of the Entry Condition Report. Make sure you give yourself time to clean and ensure that the current state of the property matches the condition report. It is best to have an inspection one or two days before the tenancy expires.
BRING A COPY OF APPLICATION FOR REFUND OF RENTAL BOND
Your landlord will give you the bond as a cheque or deposit it in your bank account after relevant forms have been completed. You will need identification.
DISCONNECTION AND REFUND OF BONDS FOR ELECTRICITY/ GAS/ TELEPHONE
The final bill is usually deducted from the bond for all services. Do not wait for the bill to come in the mail. Set the date for disconnection of all services. Ensure that you inform all of the services that you will be going overseas. If you are in a shared tenancy, make sure that you remove your name from all accounts with these services otherwise you are still liable.
CLOSE ALL BANK ACCOUNTS
Make sure you do this after you receive any outstanding payments.
Australia Post – You can redirect your mail for a small fee to someone in Australia only. Apply at a Post Office and take ID with you.
Academic Transcript – You need to complete an RR Form ‘Request for Academic Records’ and pay a fee to the cashier at Administration. Allow 10 working days for it to be completed, but records can be posted overseas.
Australian Institute of Language (AIL) is a Registered Training Organization (RTO: 41424), situated in the heart of Melbourne CBD. AIL offers a broad range of innovate courses from Diploma to Advanced Diploma level in Interpreting, Translating, Leadership and Management. We are also one of the official Computer-delivered IELTS test centres.