Returning home from Australia
Take some time before the end of semester to think about returning home and what the change will mean for you practically, financially and emotionally.
When you’re making your preparations, allow yourself plenty of time to get everything done so you can avoid any extra stress in the days before you leave.
You’ll need to make arrangements to get both you and your belongings home, and it’s a good idea to think about this early so you can get the best deal on your flight. Make sure you are aware of your visa expiry date before you buy your ticket.
Book a flight home
- Weigh your bags to make sure you’re within the baggage allowance (for both check-in and carry-on luggage).
- Confirm your flight 72 hours before departure.
- Check how long you need to be at the airport before departure (allow time to claim any goods and services tax (GST) refunds you’re eligible for).
- Check the Australian immigration website and your home country’s immigration website to make sure your luggage complies with customs requirements.
Explore postage and shipping options
- Check the maximum baggage allowance included in your airfare.
- Check the cost of excess baggage on your flight.
- Consider postage and shipping options. Look at different companies and see if they have student discounts.
- Consider giving away or selling belongings you can easily replace at home to reduce the cost.
- Get insurance for items you ship or post and take photographs of the items in case anything is damaged or lost.
Prepare for your flight
- Check the date of your last exam or assessment.
- Check your visa expiry date and extend it if required/allowed.
- Book your flight(s) early.
- Make sure your passport is valid.
- Get travel insurance for your trip home.
- Arrange any visas needed for stopovers on your way home.
Before you return home, make sure you complete any outstanding administrative tasks and think ahead to what you might need in the future from the University.
Pay all outstanding fees and fines
- Check you don’t owe any library, parking, Student Services and Amenities fees, tuition fees or other University fees. Outstanding fees may prevent you from accessing your academic transcript and graduating.
Return borrowed items
- This could include items from the library, laboratory or studio equipment, ICT devices, or keys/swipe cards.
Order copies of your academic transcript
- If your final academic transcript is available before you leave, it’s a good idea to get additional copies while you’re here rather than wait for them to be posted.
Change your personal details in Sydney Student
- Log in to Sydney Student and update your postal address in your home country. If you don’t yet know where you’ll be living, ask your parents or a friend if you can temporarily enter their address.
Get copies of your unit of study outlines
- In the future if you want to apply to recognition of prior learning, you’ll need to provide information about your unit(s) of study. Get copies now while they are still current.
Prepare for graduation
- Find out your graduation date.
- Check the date your visa expires and consider extending your visa or getting a tourist visa if you want to attend your graduation ceremony.
Find out about the Alumni and Development team
- Visit the alumni pages to learn about:
- in-country alumni chapters and events in your home country
- careers information and networks
- online mentoring
- ambassadorship and volunteering
- alumni awards
- the Sydney Alumni Magazine (SAM)
- a free alumni email address
- further opportunities to study at the University.
Whether you’re living on campus, share housing or renting privately, there are certain things you need to organise.
Notify your landlord and housemates in writing
- Check your lease or with your landlord or real estate to find out the amount of time you are legally required to provide when giving notice to move out. Give this notice in writing.
- Give your housemates plenty of warning that you’ll be leaving.
- Ask your landlord or real estate for a rental reference.
Remove your name from the lease
- If your name is on the lease, arrange with your housemates and real estate agent to remove your name so you’re not responsible for the property.
Get your bond back
- Make sure you leave the property clean and tidy and repair any damage you may have caused (beyond reasonable wear and tear), this includes all outdoor areas.
- Return all keys, swipe cards and garage door openers.
- If your landlord decides to take some bond for cleaning or other issues, you will need to agree to the amount. If you think the amount is unfair, contact the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Finalise bills and cancel utilities
- Cancel direct debits after your final payments.
- Check your accounts are paid in full before you cancel them, including:
- mobile phone contract
- gym membership.
- Organise a redirect for your mail through Australia Post.
- Arrange to have your name removed from any utility accounts if your housemates are staying at the property.
- Make a list of your belongings (including furniture) and sort them into items you’ll take home, throw out, give away or sell.
- If you want to get rid of any items, consider the following options:
- donating to charity (eg, Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul and Red Cross). Some charities will pick up your items.
- selling online using Gumtree or eBay
- holding a garage sale
- for larger items that need to be thrown out, contact your local council to arrange curb-side rubbish collection.
- Think about what you’ll need to move and pack your belongings.
Even if you’ve only been working casually while studying at the University, you may be eligible for a tax return and payout of superannuation. Your manager or Human Resources department (HR) can help you with this.
Notify your employer in writing
- Check the notification period you need to give.
Contact your manager or Human Resources (HR)
- Make sure you will be paid any remaining wages, annual leave or sick leave.
- Request a group certificate for your tax return.
- Change your contact details with HR.
Prepare for your next job
- Ask for a written reference from your employer. If you were volunteering or working as an intern, this reference is important to prove that you worked there.
- Ask your manager if they are happy to be listed as a reference on your CV.
- Take a copy of your job description.
- Find out if the company or your colleagues have contacts in your home country for future work.
Stay in touch
- Get your colleague’s contact and LinkedIn details.
- Speak to your recruitment department about sponsorship opportunities if you’re interested in coming back to work.
- If you’re thinking of returning to Australia to work, think about speaking with a migration consultant in Sydney before you go to find out the process.
It’s often easier to sort out financial issues while you’re still in Sydney than when you’ve returned home.
Finalise all bills, fines and fees
- Pay all outstanding fees and bills so your credit history and future visas aren’t affected.
Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
- Submit any outstanding medical insurance claims.
- Contact your health cover provider if you finish your studies early and are eligible for a refund.
- Change your contact details with your health cover provider.
- Ask your doctor for a copy of your medical records and details of any medications you’ve been using.
- If you need to take prescription medication back home, ask your doctor for a letter authorising this and leave the medication in its original packaging.
Tax return and superannuation
- If you have worked in Australia, ask your manager or HR for your group certificate and lodge a tax return with the Australian Taxation Office.
- Contact your superannuation provider to find out if you are eligible to be paid out any superannuation benefits.
Close Australian bank accounts
- Pay all credit card balances, loans and bank fees.
- Close your Australian bank account(s) and transfer remaining money overseas.
- Change your contact details with your bank.
- Don’t take out large amounts of cash – you need to declare to Customs at the airport if you’re leaving with more than $10,000 cash in Australian or equivalent currency.
Get GST and WET refunds
Exchange Australian currency
- Exchange any remaining cash you have before you leave or at the airport.
Adjusting to life back home
You will most likely experience mixed feelings about returning home and may find it difficult to adjust at first.
Download our guide for information and helpful tips on settling back in (pdf, 56KB).
Last updated: 04 November 2022