Returning Home After Life as an International Student

Returning Home After Life as an International Student
In the few months prior to the completion of your course, as well as being busy with any exams, thesis or dissertation, you will also need to be thinking about the next step on your career path. Just as with many English students returning to their hometowns, you may well be excited to go back to your home country, to your family, friends and colleagues, and to the culture that you grew up with and are subsequently most comfortable with. If you are returning to your home country, you should begin making the arrangements as soon as you can. Don’t forget that in your final few months in the UK examinations or finishing other work will account for a significant amount of your time, so planning for your departure should begin as soon as you can do.
Another reason to plan early is that to ensure you can get the cheapest tickets (whether travelling by train, boat or plane), you have to book early, a minimum of a few weeks prior to your departure. You will likely be able to find much cheaper tickets on the Internet, on the websites of either travel agencies or the actual airlines themselves. Some companies, such as STA, specialise in student travel and may be able to provide you with discounts. Shop around and compare for the best price. If you have been living in the UK for the duration of your studies, the chances are that you have more things now then you could carry on a plane or any of the other usual transport types. It’s worth checking with your travel agent or the airline you’re flying with about what weight or size limits exist for luggage but remember that paying for excess luggage on the plane can be very expensive - often as much as £30 per extra kg you are over the baggage allowance. Posting it home it by ship or by rail is often a much cheaper option, but make sure to select an established company which has a good reputation and is reliable.

If you have been working part or full time alongside your studies, you will almost definitely have been paying income tax on your earnings. Because of this, you may be entitled to have some of that tax returned to you by the government if you have earned less than the tax free personal allowance of £7475 per year. Those that are entitled are required to submit their application for a refund themselves, which will include sending numerous documents such as P45’s, P60’s (given to them by their employer). Similarly, if you have recently (within three months of the date you leave the country) purchased items in the UK which you are taking back to your home country outside the EU, you may be allowed to claim a refund of some of the Value Added Tax (VAT) that you paid on the item. However, to make use of this VAT Refund Scheme, you will typically have to have purchased the goods from a retailer that operates the scheme.

To help you progress your career on your return to your home country, it can be very helpful to have references from the UK. If you are looking to acquire these, don’t leave it till the last minute or try and arrange them from your home country - a minimum of a month before you are returning to your home country, contact some of the people who can comment on your abilities and your work (such as an academic supervisor or any employer you had during your time in the UK) and ask them for a written reference. You may also benefit from buying or subscribing to certain relevant specialist publications that you may not find in your country, or to join a professional organisation to help you keep your knowledge up-to-date as well as being a good addition to your CV.

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