Arriving to and returning from your host institute

Arriving at your host country and institution

After all the waiting and preparations you finally made it to your host country, well done! Although we encourage you to enjoy your time overseas as much as possible (and you will have many opportunities for this while you are there), do not forget that you are still studying and should not treat this as just a holiday. You will encounter many roadblocks and there will be many new cultures and rules you will need to get accustomed to as well.

Arrival and settling in at your host institution

The first step is to ensure that you are settled in and get comfortable with your surroundings:

  • Make sure to call home to let your family and friends know you arrived safely and doing well. We also like to hear from you as well.
  • Identify any potential issues that may lead to problems in the future, such as culture shock and subject issues.
  • Visit the international office at your host university to introduce yourself. Raise any issues you have come across for support as soon as possible.
  • Get your on arrival form [PDF 65KB] signed  for your mobility grant/scholarship. Your on-arrival form needs to be uploaded to your ISIS account and your exchange coordinator notified within four weeks of starting your exchange.
  • Enrol into subjects and attend orientation.
  • Join some clubs, societies and get involved in the university activities and trips.

Issues with subjects

Most students experience one or more of their host institution’s subjects are no longer available due to clashing or unavailable subjects at your host university. Make sure to follow the instructions below to get any new host subjects approved as soon as possible to have this resolved urgently. Notify your exchange coordinator if you are experiencing issues with new approvals.

You will be required to seek approval by your College for any subjects not assessed in your initial SOMSAS application. Note you will not receive credits for any subjects that have not been approved or assessed by the College. If you need any assistance sourcing new subjects, be sure to ask help from the international office at your host institution as well.

Applying for new subject approvals:

  1. Login to SOMSAS using Mozilla Firefox as your internet browser to complete your Study Plan application. If you are not on campus, type “students\” before your ID number and then your normal password to log into SOMSAS.
  2. Click on the red “Variation of Application” button
  3. Enter the subject information, ensuring that you provide the link for the subject information and syllabus (if possible).
  4. Specify that you are applying for additional subjects and list any subjects you are cur in the “Overall Application Comment” field located in the “Edit Application Details” section.
  5. Submit application when ready.

Please refer to the SOMSAS Linked Application User Guide [260 KB] for clearer step-by-step instructions.

Culture shock and dealing with emergencies

Culture shock

Culture shock is a normal reaction of when our bodies become overwhelmed by a significant change in our surroundings than what we are normally accustomed to. This could apply to the food, traditions, difference in language, etc. If you feel any persisting sense of loneliness, anxiety, depression, homesickness or doubt, please seek advice and support from your host institution and get in touch with us. You would often find that these feelings subside overtime once you adapt to the changes and fully immerse into the new culture. If these feelings to do not subside and your experience is significantly impacted in a negative way, make sure to keep us informed and discuss your options.

Some tips to help cope with culture shock are:

  • Stay in touch with your family and friends
  • Try to get involved in clubs, activities and societies as much as you can
  • Go out and explore
  • Try blogging and reflecting on experiences
  • Focus on your hobbies and decorate your room like home to bring in some familiarity
  • Check with the support services available at your host university
Injuries and claiming insurance

Accidents can happen to anyone at any time. Should you find yourself in such a situation, make sure to seek treatment as soon as possible. Notify your Host University and La Trobe Abroad as soon as you can so that we are aware of your situation and are able to assist if necessary. Some important things to note:

  • Seek medical advice before travelling to other destinations
  • Please call up Chubb Insurance and quote your insurance policy (can be found in the last page of your LTU offer package) and seek their advice
  • In severe cases where you feel you are no longer able to continue with the program, please make sure to keep us informed and discuss your options
  • Keep receipts of any expenses incurred in relation to the incident
In case of a critical incident

In cases of any emergencies or natural disasters, promptly follow the instructions below and do not undermine your safety at any point:

  1. Please contact your host institution/host provider coordinator in the first instance for assistance and also follow the advice of local authorities.
  2. When safe to do so, get in touch with your LTU exchange coordinator to alert them of your situation as soon as possible and keep us informed over the course of the incident of any developments.
  3. Keep in touch with your family and friends as much as possible.
  4. Keep an eye on the advice and instructions provided by http://smartraveller.gov.au and any notification you may receive in regards to the situation you are in.
  5. If at any stage you feel you are in immediate danger or struggling to cope, you are able to return early from your program. To do this please contact both your host institution and your La Trobe exchange coordinator with your decision and they will provide you with the instructions and support for the process.

Extending your exchange for another semester

Any extensions are not automatic and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by La Trobe Abroad. Please do not contact the host institution about your extension, unless advised by La Trobe Abroad.

Extending at the same institution
  1. Contact your La Trobe Abroad Coordinator as soon as possible. The sooner that you can advise of your wish to extend, the better.
  2. In the meantime, start working on your study plan for the extended semester of your program. You will need to complete a SOMSAS application for credit approvals prior to confirmation of extension. Documents you will need to include in your application are:
    • List of subjects you completed in your initial semester of exchange
    • The descriptions of the host university subject/s
    • College and course/discipline coordinator approval (if approvals are arranged via email)

ONLY after College approvals have been finalised, La Trobe Abroad will contact the host institution to seek approval for a second placement. If there is a place available, then you will receive a new LTU Offer Letter

  1. Must submit the acceptance of your new LTU Offer Letter (please refer to the offer pack for more information or contact your exchange coordinator for more information)
  2. Submit your travel and OEPD form and any extensions required for your travel insurance
  3. Additional insurance must be arranged for gap period between 10 days after finishing your current exchange and 10 days before commencing the second the semester (does not apply to students pre-approved for 2 semesters)
  4. Follow host university procedures and requirements
Applying to a different institution
  1. Contact your La Trobe Abroad Coordinator as soon as possible (before the deadlines listed under the "Apply" tab for the relevant semester). The sooner that you can advise of your wish to extend, the better.
  2. You need to apply through the normal application process. Part 1 of your application must also include a list of subjects currently completing at your host university. To apply for SOMSAS follow steps – as above
  3. ONLY after College approvals have been finalised, La Trobe Abroad will contact the host institution to seek the extension
  4. If there is a place available, then you will receive a new LTU Offer Letter
  5. Must submit the acceptance of your new LTU Offer Letter (please refer to the offer pack for more information or contact your exchange coordinator for more information)
  6. Submit your travel form and extend your travel insurance
  7. Additional insurance must be arranged for gap period between 10 days after finishing your current exchange and 10 days before commencing the second the semester (does not apply to students pre-approved for 2 semesters)
  8. Follow host university procedures and requirements

When you return

Welcome back to Australia! You have most likely just had the time of your life overseas, so you are probably filled with many mixed emotions about returning home. We have compiled a heap of resources to help you cope with the re-entry process.

Reverse culture shock

Just like when you arrived overseas, you may also experience culture shock when you come back to Australia and may no longer see it the same way. If you feel you are experiencing reverse-culture shock, it is important that you seek help if necessary and try implementing some of the experiences you had overseas into your lifestyle to help cope with the feeling.

Here are some of the activities you can do:

  • Seek help and support from the La Trobe Abroad office
  • Follow the same steps as you did as when you were abroad to get accustomed to your host country. You may need to introduce some of the culture and customs you have picked up while you were overseas into your daily life.
  • It is recommended to seek Counselling help if you need more comprehensive and professional assistance.

Apply for advanced standing

When you have finished your exchange program, the host institution will send an official academic transcript to the La Trobe Abroad Office. You will need to:

Please note: you will not be able to collect your host university transcript without submitting this document.

  • Come to the La Trobe Abroad Office to collect your official host university transcript once you have been notified by La Trobe Abroad it has arrived and is ready for collection.
  • If you have received an unofficial copy of your transcript, you will need it signed and stamped by La Trobe Abroad staff as genuine.
  • Upload either your original official transcript copy or  your unofficial transcript (must be signed and stamped as genuine by La Trobe Abroad) as you fill in the Application for Advanced Standing form and that will go through to the College for credit transfer.

Please ensure to keep the original transcript for your own records

Re-entry workshop and getting involved

Get the Career Ready Advantage

Now that you’re back from your overseas experience, we highly recommend you join the Career Ready Advantage program.

The program is designed to help you actively prepare for your life beyond La Trobe.  It is structured to make it easy to record and build on your experiences – through part-time work, internships, and participation in volunteering, international exchanges, and other extra-curricular activities. By recording your activities and reflecting on your learning, you will build up a portfolio of experiences and evidence of skills, which you’ll be able to present to employers when the time comes to apply for graduate jobs.

Global Society

Your membership with the Global Society continues even after completing your exchange. Don't forget to keep in touch with your networks and stay involved with the active community!

Get involved

There are many things you can do now that you are back and have some amazing stories to share! Some of these are:

  • Join the peer advisors program
  • Join the exchange club
  • Join the student ambassadors program
  • Assist with La Trobe Abroad promotional activities and events such as the Exchange Fair
  • Seek out opportunities to talk about your overseas experience amongst peers and colleagues. We would love to hear from you as well

Contact studyabroad@latrobe.edu.au for further information about any of these.