If you have finished your studies in Australia, your next step is to work out whether you will apply for a new visa to remain in Australia or if you will return to your home country. If you are moving back home, our checklist provides a few suggestions.
1. Have you explored Australia?
Australia is a large and diverse country, so there is plenty to see and do before you fly home. Even if you only have a couple of weeks before you leave, why not book a flight to a neighbouring city? You could fly from Melbourne to see the Sydney Opera House or from the warm tropics of northern Queensland to visit the ‘red centre’ outback of South Australia and the Northern Territory. There are a number of airlines in Australia, so there are options to suit all budgets. You might also find tours and special deals for students. You can read about Australia’s states and territories in Australia’s regions to get some travel ideas.
2. Have you taken care of administrative matters?
This includes ordering a copy of your student transcript, paying debts to your institution (such as library fines) and applying to graduate. If you have been staying in rental accommodation, you must also tell your landlord or property manager that you will be moving out, pay your final bills and organise for utilities to be disconnected. If you had an Australian bank account, you will need to speak to your bank and close the account before you leave. There are also some matters to take care of if you had a part-time or casual job, including filing a tax return if you earnt above the tax-free threshold of AUD$18,200 (see the Australian Taxation Office website for details). If you were eligible for the Australian Government’s retirement savings scheme, superannuation, you will be able to access this money when you leave Australia through a Departing Australia Super Payment (DASP).
3. Have you gotten rid of unwanted items?
Before you leave Australia, it is a good idea to get rid of any unwanted items such as furniture, clothing and homewares. Think about what you want to send home and what can be replaced cheaply — the money you make from selling your belongings can help fund your trip back home. You can organise a market stall or garage sale (perhaps teaming up with friends), advertise unwanted items on campus noticeboards or online directories, or donate items to charity.
4. Have you organised your flight home?
Research your options carefully, as many airlines offer extra luggage allowances or discounts for students returning home. You’ll also have to organise airport transfers and make sure that your passport is valid. If there are items you would like to ship home, you should investigate different methods and shipping costs. Before you leave, don’t forget to say your final goodbyes and make a note of the contact details of friends or academic staff you would like to stay in touch with.
5. Are you ready to settle back into life at home?
Even if you visited friends and family over the holidays or for special occasions, it can be challenging to adjust to living in your home country after spending time abroad. It is likely that you missed your family while you were away, but it can still be difficult to get used to living together again. It is also possible that studying in Australia has changed some of your opinions and views of the world, which can make it difficult to fit back into your old home where things may be a little different.
You can speak to a member of your institution’s student services team for more information about returning home. Your institution may also publish its own helpful guides, so look out for these on their website.