There are several important steps to take to prepare to leave the Iowa City and the University. These include:
Do I need to order a copy of my transcript for my home university?
No, this is automatically taken care of by the Office for Study Abroad. We will order your official UI transcript  as soon as it is available, then mail it directly to the exchange coordinator at your university or sponsoring organization (e.g., ISEP). This usually happens within 2-3 weeks following the end of the semester. If you want additional transcripts, you will need to make arrangements with the Registrar's Office to purchase them.
What should I do if I am planning to stay to continue my academic studies or get a job?
If you intend to remain for the next session and work on campus, undertake J-1 Academic Training , or transfer to another university in the U.S. to continue your studies, meet with an International Student and Scholar Advisor during walk-in advising hours to learn about the proper immigration procedures.
What preparations should I make for taking care of my taxes at the end of this calendar year?
If you did not work while you were a student here, you do not need to pay any income taxes. However, if you did take a part-time on-campus job while you were attending the University of Iowa, you may be eligible for a refund on taxes withheld from your paychecks.
Employers (like the University of Iowa) are required to mail tax-withholding reports to employees every January. These forms are called "W-2s," and must be included in any tax filing you submit to the Internal Revenue Service, which is the U.S. government's tax collecting organization.
If you have departed by the time your W-2 is issued and mailed, it should be forwarded to us c/o the Office for Study Abroad, and we will, in turn, forward the form to you at the permanent home address you listed on your application to become an exchange student. The ISSS web site has comprehensive information about U.S. income taxes .
How can I prepare psychologically for my return home?
Many international students are unaware of the degree to which they have changed while in the U.S., and have not thought systematically about the changes that have taken place at home during their absence. As a result, they underestimate the degree of "reverse culture shock" they will experience when they get back.
Research and suggestions from returning international students have shown that it helps to think in advance about those changes, and to prepare oneself for the adjustments that going home will require. The Canadian Bureau for International Education has published a "Guided Fantasy for Returning Students," to help with this "constructive worrying." Here is a slightly abridged version:
We sincerely hope that you have had a beneficial experience here in Iowa City. If you are leaving, we hope everything goes well for you at your new location. If you are staying here to continue your studies, we hope your academic work goes well, and that you have a rewarding experience.
How can I stay in touch with my friends from the University of Iowa?
The university has an excellent website for all UI alumni to be able to contact each other, stay informed about events in the campus and local community as well as explore career opportunities through other UI alumni. Visit the UI Alumni Association . Facebook pages, including the Global Buddies group, will also help keep you connected to your friends after you return home!
How can I share my experience as an exchange student with others?
We welcome you to share with us your photos, letters, personal websites, etc. as well as other links that you have found to be useful or interesting about your experience in the U.S.! Check out these resources from our former exchange students: