Preparing to go home from the UK

Blog for students
05 October 2016
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It still feels that I arrived in London for my master’s only some days ago and it’s already time to leave. After a productive year filled with challenges, learning and meeting new people, the process of going back seems more difficult than settling here was. I have been speaking with some of my friends, who share similar views however, the sooner you start planning and preparing to return home, the better it is. Here are some of the things that will help you manage moving back home from the UK.

Book your air tickets: Come September and a lot of international students travel to and from the UK. It is important that you book your tickets way in advance to get an economical flight on your date of travel. Compare the flight tickets around your date of travel to get the cheapest option available. Coordinating your date and time of travel with a friend from your home country returning to the same destination may make the return journey easier.

Packing your belongings: Once you’ve booked your air tickets, check the airline baggage allowance and money for extra baggage. Packing a year’s worth of clothes and books in a couple of bags is challenging but start organizing early on. Figure out what clothes you can leave and start giving them to charity shops. You can look up charity shops such as FARA or donation drives organized by your student accommodation to give out clothes that you do not require. Additionally, for unused stationery, fans, mirrors, pillows and other things that you might have bought during your time in the UK, check out your student accommodation pages for selling your stuff. A lot of prospective students join these pages and may be interested to buy the things. In case some of your friends are coming to the same UK city to study, you may want to give the stuff that you cannot carry back home to them.

Shipping home: Shipping your belongings home is at times more economical than paying money for excess baggage on your airline. First of all, check with your airlines the dimensions of the luggage that you can carry. Once you have checked this, pack accordingly. For your belongings that you cannot carry on the airline, UKCISA has listed ways you can ship them home.  

Paying fines: Be it your library fines or house rent, make sure you have paid all your overdue money before leaving the UK.  

Collecting refunds: If you have paid a deposit to your student accommodation or the owner of your house, make sure you collect the money before leaving the UK. Additionally, many of you may have paid the TV Licence Fee in advance and there are at least three months till you leave the UK, in that case, you can apply for a refund.  

Closing bank accounts: At the start of your academic session, you must have opened a UK student bank account. As it’s time to leave, visit your bank and request them to close your bank account and deactivate your debit card. You may choose to withdraw the money in your bank account or transfer it online to your account in your home country. Many of you may have worked part-time during your academic year and are due to receive your pay but need to leave the UK, therefore close your bank account. In that case, you must have a word with your employer whether they will be able to transfer the dues in your home country bank account. Otherwise, you can request them for a cheque.  

Notification of departure: During your time in the UK, you have registered with your GP or taken memberships of libraries, etc. Dropping an email regarding your departure from the UK will not take long. Make sure you notify all the services that you have subscribed for so that you no longer receive mails/e-mails from them. You can either call up your GP and the libraries that you have memberships with or email to notify them about your departure.  

Bidding adieu to your friends: This will probably be the hardest part when you have to leave for your home country. During your time in the UK, you have made amazing friends from different parts of the world and it is unknown when you will meet them next. Before leaving, meet each one of them, exchange your home country phone numbers and emails to keep in touch with them. This way you can also make plans to meet up in some part of the world soon!

While goodbyes are the hardest, they are certainly not forever! You have a life full of challenges and learning once you return to your home country and start working. But your student life in the UK will always be there for you to cherish!

Niharika Pandit, comms intern for UKCISA, studied MA Gender Studies at SOAS, University of London.