You did it!

You studied abroad for a year or term, explored a new part of the world, immersed yourself in a different culture and boosted your employability.

Although returning to Essex after a year or term abroad can be exciting, it can also be challenging as you adjust back 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 resources we hope will be useful to help you transition back to Essex life.

Essex Abroad on social media:

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. If you receive your transcript directly, make sure you provide a copy to the Essex Abroad team. Some universities may require you to request a transcript from them to send to us.

After we receive your transcript, your marks will be converted to Essex grades and calculated to give you one overall year/term abroad mark. Check the rules of assessment for the year of study that you are in as well as the grade conversion guidance suitable for your year of study as below:

You won’t instantly receive your result. The Board of Examiners, where your marks are formally ratified, will be held in October. Shortly after this you’ll receive confirmation of your year abroad mark.


We are aware that finding accommodation for your return to Essex is always a concern for students who go on a year or term 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 affects room availability. 

Priority waiting list

Although campus accommodation can’t be guaranteed, you will be invited to join the waiting list that opens in September 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.

Peer mentoring

You've done something amazing by going abroad, and now you have the chance to share your experience by becoming a Peer Mentor for Study Abroad. It is a great way to give something back, help others, improve your own skills and give a boost to your CV.

As a Peer Mentor, we would like you to:

  • Offer support and advice to new incoming exchange students at the Essex
  • Help exchange students settle in and make them feel a part of the University
  • Answer any questions new students may have, and signpost them to further university support services
  • Welcome new students to the University during specific Study Abroad Welcome events in October and January
  • You may also get the opportunity to help organise and attend various workshops and events throughout the year

As a Peer Mentor, you will not be required to give any academic advice, careers advice, counselling or to deal with sensitive situations – we have trained teams across the university to support with these instances.

Applications for current peer mentors has now closed. If you are a returning student and you'd like to support with any Study Abroad events, please email us.


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. 

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, speak to your personal tutor, or reach out to the Essex Abroad team. We recommend joining a society to make new connections.  We can also put you in touch with other returning students and current incoming student who may be experiencing the same feelings as you.

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!)
  • Our Skills for Success team offers services and resources to help improve your writing and study skills.
  • 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 (The Travel 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 from your time abroad and how these can be transferred to everyday life, particularly in the context of employability.  

Get in touch
Essex Abroad You can visit us in person at our office on Square 2, Colchester campus. Opening hours are below. If you are based at Southend campus or want to chat to us outside of these times, then book a remote call using the link below.

Monday - 11.00am to 1.00pm, Tuesday - 11.00am to 1.00pm and 2pm to 3pm, Wednesday - CLOSED, Thursday 11.00am to 1.00pm and 2pm to 3pm, Fridays -11.00am to 1.00pm and 2pm to 3pm.

Telephone: 01206 872632