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While you are Abroad

Our students tell us that studying abroad provides the experience of a lifetime, however we are only a telephone call away should you need us. The information below will help you settle into your new surroundings to ensure you begin your year/semester in the best possible way.

Our students tell us that studying abroad provides the experience of a lifetime, however we are only a telephone call away should you need us. The information below will help you settle into your new surroundings to ensure you begin your year/semester in the best possible way.  The Third Year Abroad website has some great information on what to expect with culture shock and homesickness, and how to minimise the impact.

Culture Shock

Stages of Cultural Adjustment: The 'W' Curve

The Honeymoon Phase occurs when you first arrive in a new culture. This is the excitement of being somewhere new and different!W In Page

Culture Shock may be noticeable after a few days or weeks. You may struggle to understand the rules of the new culture you find yourself in and you may find you miss your family and the home support structures the most.

The Initial Adjustment may leave you feeling irritated, or frustrated with the cultural differences you come across in daily life. You will probably find you make comparisons with your home culture and decide you prefer home! You may be assessing your own cultural values and trying to make sense of them.

By the Mental Isolation phase you would have probably worked out how to operate in your new cultural environment. You will most likely start to accept the differences between your home culture and those of the new culture and feel more relaxed.

The final phase of Acceptance and Integration brings with it a feeling of self-assurance and a more complete understanding of your home and the new culture. Differences and similarities are valued and more importantly you feel confident about handling most or all situations.

Remember, not everyone will experience this, some may for differing lengths of time and some may only experience part of the W-curve. This is just a guide to help you to understand some of the emotions you may encounter during your time abroad.


You may feel homesick, especially in those first few days when you may be experiencing jet-lag, are exhausted from using a new language and are finding your feet. Sending e-mails and telephoning family and friends is great and it is good to let everyone back home know you are okay, but don’t let this be all you do. It can sometimes make feelings of homesickness worse if you just think about what you are missing at home.

Once you check in with family and friends, why don’t you…

Explore the city in which you are studying or working! You are there to study/work but you are also there to explore a new culture, possibly learn a new language and to see new things!

Ask questions. If you are wondering why something happens as it does or what a colloquial phrase means, ask!

Be social. Seek out societies and clubs you might wish to join. Join a similar society to one you are part of here at Northumbria or try something you have always wanted to try.

Seek out new friends to compare stories about your first days in the new country and learn all that you can about the culture in which you are living.

Remember why you are there and have fun!

Higher Education Systems/Business Culture and Etiquette in other Countries

The UK Higher Education System can be very different from many higher education cultures in other countries. Students should seek out seminars and workshops in your host University that address the education system in the country, coursework, assessment, etc.

Just ask – fellow students and University staff or colleagues around the office will be able to help.

Student Services

As you will be registered as a Northumbria University student while abroad you can still contact the Student Life and Wellbeing team who can advise on a huge range of areas such as health, finance and counselling.

Who can I contact whilst abroad?

If you encounter any problems while overseas your first point of contact should be the Exchange Coordinator at your host University, as they will be able to offer you immediate assistance or point you in the direction of someone local who can help.

Northumbria University International Development Office


Tel: +44 (0) 191 227 4774

Erasmus+ grant queries

All Erasmus+ queries should be sent to

Tel: +44 (0) 191 227 3863

Northumbria University Security Office

If you encounter any emergency issues outside normal office hours, contact the Northumbria University security office who will be able to alert a member of the University.  It is vital that you complete your form return process as quickly after arrival at your host University as possible so that we have up-to-date information on where you are.

Tel: +44 191 227 3999


Open from 8pm - 7am (GMT) 7 days a week during term time

Tel: +44 (0) 191 227 3737

Student Welfare and Health

Please submit an enquiry via our contact form.
Tel:  +44 (0) 191 227 4127



Tel: +44 (0) 191 227 4200



Tel: +44 (0) 191 227 3284

Returning Home

6 weeks before departure

Give the required notice to quit on your rented house or flat

Book flights/transport home

Arrange a freight company to transport your belongings home (if necessary)

If you have any items that you do not wish to take home you could look to sell them or take them to a charity shop

4 weeks before departure

Ask about procedure for closing your bank account

Contact the water/electricity/gas/phone company (if in private, rented accommodation) and advise them that you will require a final bill

Contact friends to let them know you are leaving and suggest a 'farewell' gathering

If you have a job, let your employer know in writing the date you will be leaving

2 weeks before departure

Start collecting photographs or favourite sights, familiar places and friends

Give your school administrator a forwarding address in the UK for any important certificates or documents

Make any final cheque payments to give cheques time to clear before closing bank account.

The last few days ....

Pack things carefully. Remember: anything you choose not to send as freight, may cost you a lot in excess baggage!

Make sure all domestic meters have been read and all bills have been paid

Close your bank account(s)

Make sure you have noted the contact details of all the people, who you wish to keep in contact with

Arrange your transport to the airport

Contact friends to let them know you are about to leave

Make any final payments to your landlord/collect deposit and arrange to return keys for accommodation to your landlord

Confirm your arrival time with family/friends back home

Enjoy your journey!


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