Study Abroad

Returning to Essex

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You did it!

You studied abroad for a year or term. You've explored a new part of the world, immersed yourself in a different culture and boosted your employability by developing skills and experiences you might not have even realised. 

Although returning to Essex after a year or term abroad can be exciting, it can also be challenging. Everything you accustomed to in your life abroad is now reversed as you settle back in to life in the UK. 

If you've got questions about accommodation, grades, mental health or general reintegration, we've put together some info and resourced we hope will be useful to help you transition back to Essex life.


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Reverse Culture Shock

Although it won’t affect everyone, be prepared for some reverse culture shock when you return home after your time abroad. Settling back into your old life may seem simple, but if can often be a big change from the excitement of your life abroad. The small things you struggled with initially may have become customary for you, and adapting back to life in the UK isn’t always easy. 

Not sure if you’re suffering with it? 10 signs you’re suffering with reverse culture shock according to Global Graduates.

Take lessons from your time abroad to get through it. If you feel low, make sure you keep busy and share your feelings rather than dwelling on your emotions. There will be plenty of opportunities to return and to reconnect with all the friends you made in the future. Make the most of the things you have missed and focus on the positive. 

If you after all this you do still find yourself struggling to settle back in, seek advice from Student Support or speak to your personal tutor. You can also join the Study Abroad Society to connect with other students who went abroad and are probably in the same boat as you. 

Accommodation

We are aware that this is always a concern for students who go on a year abroad. The accommodation team cannot guarantee the availability of rooms for returning students due to the growing intake of new undergraduates and international students which affect room availability. 

However, if you’re a non-EU international student, you are guaranteed accommodation providing you apply by their deadline

Priority waiting list

Although campus accommodation can’t be guaranteed, you will be invited to join the waiting list that opens in September 2019 and will be given priority. The priority waiting list policy is outlined on the accommodation pages.

SU Homes

SU Homes are offering you the opportunity to secure a room prior to you leaving Essex. There is a small deposit to pay but this is refundable in December if you decide that you no longer wish to continue with the booking.

Transcripts and converting your grades

In most cases, your transcript will be sent directly to us by your host university at the end of your study abroad period. Some host institutions may require you to request a transcript from them to send to Essex. If you receive your transcript directly, make sure you provide a copy to Essex Abroad.

Your marks will then be converted to Essex grades giving you an overall year mark. Check the rules of assessment for further guidance. You won’t instantly receive your converted year abroad marks or your average year mark. The Board of Examiners is held in September, this where your marks are formally ratified. Shortly after this you’ll receive confirmation of your year abroad mark. 

Academic reintegration

You spent a year or term getting used to a new academic system and now you’re back at Essex you need to train your brain to get back into Essex mode - this can be difficult and take some time. 

Potential challenges you may face are:

  • Feelings of loneliness, some of your course friends may have already graduated
  • Lack of motivation 
  • Workload stress
  • Difficulty adapting back to Essex assessment methods

Steps you can take to overcome these challenges:

  • Talk to your personal tutor
  • Talk to your friends (Essex, friends from home and your friends from abroad – chances are they’re feeling the same!)
  • Visit the Talent Development Centre – they offer services and resources to help improve your writing and study skills (amongst lots of other great things)
  • Talk to your department

Social reintegration

A challenge many students can face when they return from studying abroad is the feeling of loneliness. Some of your friends may have since graduated and you may come back to Essex with a smaller circle of friends. Luckily, Essex is full of opportunities to make new friends. It might feel intimidating, but just remember you were in this very position when you first went abroad so you have the confidence and independence to do the same at Essex. Join a new society (Study Abroad Society is a great start!) and see what other opportunities the Students’ Union has to offer. 

You can connect with other returning students at our Welcome Home mixer during welcome week. 

We’ll also be holding another event in November to get feedback on your time abroad, celebrate your achievements and help you identify the skills and experiences you gained/straightened from your time abroad and how these can transferred to everyday life, particularly in the context of employability. 

We’ll also be contacting you throughout the year to invite you to volunteer with us by talking about your study abroad experience. 

Employability

Just by studying abroad, you’ve developed skills which are very attractive to potential employers but it’s really important to know how to sell these experiences both on your CV and in future interviews. 

You’ve lived abroad, adapted to a new environment and culture, took risks, developed independence, confidence and a whole – what kind of employer wouldn’t be interested in an employee with those skills?

When you’re back at Essex, it’s a good idea to have a chat with the Employability and Careers Centre to discuss your future plans and what skills/experiences you can draw on from your time abroad when it comes to applying for jobs.

Make sure to update your CV to reflect your new skills – you can seek advice and guidance from the Employability and Careers Centre with this. 

In November, we’ll be holding a post-study abroad workshop where you can feedback to us about your time abroad and we’ll also work with the Employability and Careers team to help identify these and apply them to job applications and interviews. Keep an eye out for this event.