Arriving to and returning from your host institute

Arriving at your host country and university

After all the waiting and preparations you finally made it to your host country!

Although we encourage you to enjoy your time overseas as much as possible (and you will have many opportunities while you are there), do not forget that you are still studying and should not treat this as just a holiday. During your time away, you will encounter many roadblocks, new cultures and new rules to become accustomed to. However, we are here to help!

Arrival and settling in at your host university

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

  • Make sure to contact home to let your family and friends know you arrived safely and doing 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 to request support as soon as possible.
  • Get your on arrival form [PDF 65KB] signed  for your mobility grant/scholarship. Your on-arrival form needs signed and received by La Trobe Abroad within four weeks of starting your exchange.
  • Enrol into subjects, confirm your timetable and attend orientation.
  • Join some clubs, societies and get involved in the university activities and trips.

Issues with subjects

When you arrive, you might find one or more of the host university’s subjects you have pre-approved may no longer be available and you will need to gain approval for additional subjects. Make sure to follow the instructions below to get any new host subjects approved as soon as possible. Notify La Trobe Abroad if you are experiencing issues with new approvals.

You will be required to seek approval by La Trobe University 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 La Trobe University. If you need any assistance sourcing new subjects, be sure to ask help from the international office at your host university.

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.

Need help?

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 university 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
  • As a La Trobe Abroad student, you have access to a 24/7 emergency assistance hotline through Chubb. You can make a reverse charge call to +61 2 8907 5995 and quote the La Trobe University policy number 9313 1586 to get advice on what to do and where to find the services you need nearby.
  • 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 university/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 La Trobe Abroad to alert us 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 university and La Trobe Abroad with your decision and we 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 university about your extension, unless advised by La Trobe Abroad.

Extending at the same university
  1. Contact La Trobe Abroad 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
    • La Trobe University and course/discipline coordinator approval (if approvals are arranged via email)

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

  3. Accept your new LTU Offer Letter (please refer to the offer pack for more information or contact La Trobe Abroad for more information)
  4. Submit your travel and OEPD form and any extensions required for your travel insurance
  5. Additional insurance must be arranged for the gap period between finishing your current exchange and before commencing the second semester if it is more than 10 days (does not apply to students pre-approved for 2 semesters)
  6. Follow host university procedures and requirements
Applying to a different university
  1. Contact La Trobe Abroad 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.
  3. To apply for SOMSAS follow steps – as above
  4. ONLY after La Trobe University approvals have been finalised, La Trobe Abroad will contact the host university to seek the extension
  5. If there is a place available, then you will receive a new LTU Offer Letter
  6. Accept your new LTU Offer Letter (please refer to the offer pack for more information or contact La Trobe Abroad for more information)
  7. Submit your travel form and extend your travel insurance
  8. Additional insurance must be arranged for the gap period between finishing your current exchange and before commencing the second semester if it is more than 10 days (does not apply to students pre-approved for 2 semesters)
  9. 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:

  • 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.
  • Seek help and support from La Trobe Abroad
  • 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 university 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 if you have not completed this survey.

  • Collect your official host university transcript within the specified time frame once you have been notified 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 or your unofficial transcript (must be signed and stamped as genuine by La Trobe Abroad) when you fill in the Application for Advanced Standing form that will go through to ASK La Trobe for credit transfer.

Please ensure to keep the original transcript for your own records

Get involved

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

Become an LTA Ambassador

Every semester LTA are on the hunt for returned students to become LTA Ambassadors. As an ambassador you will:

  • Take over our Instagram for one week to share your experience
  • Write or contribute to a MyLaTrobe article relating to your experience. It could be a solo article or a contribution to a listicle. We are open to suggestions!
  • Participate in one of our events:
    - Info sessions
    - Exchange fair
    - Orientation
    - Pre-departure sessions
    - Open Day

You are also welcome to contribute more than once to any of the above! Plus, it will look great on a resume and you can build a portfolio of work to show prospective employers.

Before you go on exchange and while you are there, keep this in the back of your mind when taking photos or think an experience is worth sharing. Take notes and it will make it easier to remember when you return.  This will also help you complete your Experience Survey.

Promote exchange as a one off

Not quite willing to commit to be an ambassador? You can still help us promote exchange by sharing your stories. There are many opportunities to do this:

  • Tell other students. Word of mouth is a powerful motivator.
  • Write an article for LTA to be published through MyLaTrobe
  • Provide us photos and captions from your program for us to share on our socials
  • Tag your Instagram and Facebook posts with #ltaoverseas
  • Help us out at of one of our events:
    - Info sessions
    - Exchange fair
    - Orientation
    - Pre-departure sessions
    - Open Day

If you are interested in becoming an LTA Ambassador or promoting exchange as a one off, email us at studyabroad@latrobe.edu.au for more information.

Get the Career Ready Advantage

Now that you’re back from your overseas experience, you can use your experience to gain credit as part of the Career Ready Advantage Award.

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.