Frequently Asked Questions
Participating in an Exchange program offers you the opportunity to develop skills and gain experience that employers may desire in a candidate. An Exchange program can serve as the opportunity to demonstrate the problem solving, intercultural and language skills that you have acquired while completing your degree. It can also showcase an independence and self-reliance that would be invaluable in the workplace. Lastly, it may highlight your ability to succeed in new and challenging environments.
Exchange and my UBC degree
Yes, you can do both! Planning your co-op term and an exchange will require some careful planning on your part. If you are already accepted into a co-op program, please speak with your co-op advisor to determine whether or not you can balance a co-op and an exchange program. We currently have very few co-op placement opportunities with our overseas partner institutions so please speak with your co-op advisor first.
Not usually. Students will receive UBC credit for all successfully completed academic courses taken on exchange. Non-academic courses such as badminton or tea ceremony, or seminar courses without assessment, will not earn UBC credit. Therefore, taking a full course load while on Exchange will be the same as taking a full course load here at UBC. How your credits transfer back to your degree can vary and is dependent on how they are articulated.
In most cases you can do course work in English. However, we do have some partnerships with universities that do not offer courses in English. Most schools offer courses in English or have language programs intended for foreign students (e.g. Universidad Nacional Autonomia de Mexico does not offer courses taught in English, but has an excellent Spanish language program).
In most cases, students apply during their second or third years to go on Exchange in their third or fourth year. All eligibility requirements must be met and in most cases, this means that students must go in their third year. However, exceptions can be made with respect to going in your final year. In this case, please consult with your Go Global advisor.
Deadlines are 6 months to a year in advance of the start of an exchange program to ensure there is sufficient time to prepare partner university applications, travel documents and pre-departure programming. For many students, the planning process begins as they start their degree and consider how an exchange might fit into their academic plans. We find that students who have done extensive research benefit the most from the entire Exchange experience (from before they apply to integrating back to UBC).
Yes, you can go on exchange without having declared a major. Simply write your tentative major and/or minor on your Go Global application.
No, in most cases you can go for just one term (however, some university programs are a full year). Some universities offer shorter programs (two to eighteen weeks) in the summer.
Students are permitted to do either a one term or two term exchange. However, it is possible to apply for a summer program, AND a one term or full year exchange program, AND a UBC Global Seminar Program.
There are limited spaces available at each partner university and the demand for each partner varies from one year to the next. In some cases, the demand exceeds the number of spaces available. For this reason, we ask that students provide us with your top three choices and carefully consider their second and third choices.
As long as you meet the minimum eligibility criteria, you will be accepted to the program. However, although we do our best to match you to your first choice, this is not always possible if we have more students than spaces available. Two thirds of available positions are matched to top academic applicants based on grades. The remaining spots are offered to students on a combination of grades and the essay.
Your decision should be based on a number of factors, some academic, and some personal. You should make sure the universities you’re interested in offer courses you need to take towards your degree in the term(s) that you wish to go. Also check to see what subject areas the university offers – they may offer unique courses not offered at UBC – take advantage of this! Some universities are well-known for certain departments or faculties; think about what you’re interested in learning about, and find a university that can help you meet that goal.
Also consider living arrangements, lifestyle, and other personal needs. What kind of accommodation do the universities you’ve researched offer? What size campus or town would you like to live in? Would you like to learn another language through immersion? We encourage students to push their boundaries and explore new perspectives. Talking this through with someone is often a good strategy as it helps you clarify your goals.
There are many types of accommodation available. While not all of our partners have guaranteed student housing, most provide assistance in finding accommodation on and off campus. However, many do not offer on-campus accommodation and in some cases, you may be required to find off campus housing on your own. Some universities have homestay programs. Alternatively, you may choose to stay with family or friends. Please note that Go Global does not facilitate your housing at the host university. It is your responsibility to research your own accommodation and to find options that meets your needs.
Students who require special accommodation should contact a Go Global advisor regarding their needs at least six weeks prior to the application deadline. You will need to provide Go Global with appropriate documentation so that we may liaise with the partner university on your behalf.
It really depends. You pay UBC tuition with the exception of a few partner universities where tuition is paid directly to them (this is indicated in our partner pages). Living costs vary from one country to the next and it is also important to consider your living cost budget in Kelowna as your baseline.
Prepare a budget to help determine how much it will cost to study abroad. Be sure to include extra spending in your budget, in order to take advantage of the different opportunities exchange offers.
Yes! When you are accepted to go on Exchange you are automatically considered for most International Learning Awards. However, we have other funding opportunities on our Awards and Scholarships page that you must apply for. Keep in mind that you are only eligible to receive one UBC mobility award (the one of greatest value will be awarded if you qualify for more than one).
Yes. In most cases, as a full-time UBC student you are eligible for provincial and national student loans. Please contact Student Services for details.
During pre-departure you will have the opportunity to learn more about student financial assistance and awards.
All successfully completed academic courses will transfer back to your UBC degree. How these credits transfer is dependent on how they are articulated. Please visit the Transfer Credit webpage for more information.
While on Exchange, you receive credit for coursework taken abroad; however, grades do not appear on your UBC transcript. But they do count. Your grades from exchange may be used for assessment of some UBC scholarships. If you choose to apply to grad school you will be required to provide transcripts from all prior institutions attended, including those you attended while on exchange. Passing grade varies by institution. Please look at your partner university page on our website for more information.
There are many ways to contact returned Exchange students. Consider the following options:
- Returned Student Directory
- Attend an Info Session
- Attend Explore - October 12th in Fipke Foyer
- Read Student Reports
- The 2017/18 Facebook On Exchange Group
The visa application process varies by country and in complexity. Go Global is not able to advise on student visas as the criteria change and differs depending on the applicant. The best place to access current and accurate information is directly from the host country’s embassy, consulate, or high commission.
Note: everyone’s circumstances are different. Please do not assume that a fellow student’s process will be the same for yours. Your visa process is based on your citizenship, prior travel, your destination, as well as other personal factors.
You should wait until you receive official acceptance from your partner university before purchasing a ticket. However, if you chose to purchase your ticket before you receive your acceptance, make sure you buy cancellation insurance.
It is extremely rare that Go Global would nominate you to a school and the nomination wouldn’t be honored; however, a few students don’t look into their student visas requirements early enough and aren’t able to go because they don’t get their visa on time for their flight.
If you are going on Exchange as an undergraduate student for one or two terms you will be automatically registered in 15 UBC credits per term (unless you have a letter from Access and Diversity which recommends a reduced course load). While you may be registered in 15 UBC credits and assessed for 15 credits of tuition, some students choose to take fewer courses. Make sure you are registered in a full-course load as determined by your partner university to avoid jeopardizing your student visa.
Grad students are assessed their regular program fee while on exchange.
Summer Programs are assessed per credit (i.e., some Summer Exchange students register for as few as 3 UBC credits).
If you intend to apply to transfer from UBC's Okanagan campus to its Vancouver campus, you will not find out your transfer status until after the Go Global Deadline. As such, it is strongly encouraged that you meet with a Go Global Advisor before applying to Go Global. Degree programs between campuses have different requirements and students who do not meet with an advisor may experience challenges with their exchange status.
Your grades earned while on exchange will never appear on your UBC transcript and do not affect your GPA. However, they do become part of your permanent academic record. If you are applying to any other educational institution, you will be required to submit a transcript from your exchange, and your grades will appear on your partner university transcript.
For a general sense of how your grades may translate, refer to the International Grade Conversion Guide.
Every student participating in a Senate-approved exchange program through Go Global is eligible to receive transfer credit for all courses successfully completed abroad as part of the exchange agreement (except for non-academic courses such as fitness or tea ceremony). Exchange credit can take one of three forms:
- Unassigned faculty credit (e.g., Arts, third-year
- Unassigned department credit satisfying a general requirement (e.g., third-year POLI)
- Specific course credit (e.g., PSYO 350)
Your faculty advisor will determine how the credit you earn on exchange will be applied to your degree requirements.
Exchange transfer credits does not count toward the total amount of transfer credit allowed in your degree. Exchange transfer credit counts as credit earned at UBC.
A list of course equivalencies from our partner universities can be found once you are admitted to Go Global and login to your Portal.
A credit equivalency formula exists for each partner university. This formula is used to calculate the total number of UBC credits that you can receive for courses taken during your exchange. Please check our partner university search for your host university's credit equivalency formula.
The maximum number of credits you can earn on exchange is equivalent to the total number of credits you took while on exchange and applied to the specific equivalency formula. This may result in decimal numbers. While we may round up or down the total credit value, you cannot receive more than the total taken.
We will evaluate your transfer credit request based on the total number of credits you took at your host university to ensure that you receive the maximum number of credits.
In general, you should be taking upper-level courses on exchange (equivalent to UBC 300- and 400-level courses). If you are attending a university that has a three-year degree (Australia, New Zealand, and most countries in Europe), courses in the second year often transfer as upper-level credit at UBC but this needs to be confirmed by faculty or the database.
However, you should consider the following when determining the year level of a course:
- What prerequisites does the course have? If there are none, it's likely a lower-level course.
- Is the course an "Introduction to" course? If it is, it's likely a lower-level course.
- Does the course cover the subject at a very broad level without going into detail in a particular topic? If it does, it's likely a lower-level course.
Courses in the last year of a three-year degree are equivalent to upper-level courses at UBC. In the end, it's up to the faculty at UBC to determine the year level of your courses. If you are concerned about this prior to going on exchange, please contact your Go Global advisor.
It takes approximately 16 weeks to process transfer credit evaluations from the time a student submits their completed Course Request Forms to the time the evaluation is added to their student record.
Keep in mind that we must receive the official transcript from your partner university before the credit can be added onto your record. Please make sure to review the submission deadlines and ensure that your course requests are complete and accurate.
We advise that you submit your online course requests for evaluation once you have finalized the courses you will take on exchange (i.e., after the add/drop date at your partner university).
If your course selection changes after you have submitted your course requests for evaluation, please email email@example.com.
With a Course Request Form, you will need to provide basic course information (course number, title, credit hours, etc), a syllabus, and a description for each course you take on exchange. If the course was taught in a language other than English, you will need to translate the course information with the original course syllabus.
Refer to your partner university's website. You can search for partner universities on the Go Global website.
Enter the direct URL link of the course description into the Course Request Form. If you have paper course syllabi, type out the required course information into the appropriate field.
Provide the course descriptions in English as well as the language of instruction. Supply a rough translation of the course description and enter this into the "Detailed course description in English" field in the Course Request Form.
The results of the evaluation will appear online on the Student Service Centre, in the "Transfer credit" section. You will receive an email with the results of your evaluation when they are available and you will be able to track the progress of the evaluation in the online portal. Please contact your Go Global advisor if you have any questions.
Students are generally satisfied with exchange credit evaluations, but if you believe that something may have been overlooked, you may appeal by contacting your Go Global advisor. Provide specific information in your appeal (e.g., grade missing from transcript, incomplete course information submitted in the online Course Request Form, etc.).
In this case, an appeal is not required. Please contact the appropriate advisor in your department or faculty. For program requirements, contact your departmental advisor; for faculty requirements, please contact the central faculty advising office. Please come prepared with a copy of your course description when you meet with your advisor. At their discretion, an advisor may waive a program or faculty requirement if they feel the requirement has been met abroad.
Applications are only evaluated after the application deadline.
You should submit your application by the earliest deadline that applies to your partner university choices. For example, if you are applying to the University of Glasgow, the University of Copenhagen, and the University of Sydney, you should apply for all three by the earliest of the three deadlines.
All documents relating to the Go Global application must be submitted online by 4:30 pm on the day of the deadline.
We consider eligibility requirements and the availability at partner universities when matching students to opportunities. If your partner university choices have space, you will be matched based on your GPA and answers to the application questions. For programs that have a high demand, students may be invited to an interview.
In general, students may only go on one exchange, to one location per degree, even if the exchange is only a one-term exchange. The following are exceptions to this rule; if an exception applies to you and you would like to apply to two placements, please speak with the Go Global office at least two weeks prior to the application deadline.
- Students may go on a summer exchange AND an exchange during the school year.
- Students may go on exchanges to two universities if they will be paying tuition directly to one of the partner universities (formerly called “Study Abroad”). Please ask a Go Global advisor for details.
Attend a Go Global application workshop. See Events & Info sessions for dates and times.
Before you apply, you should have a general idea of the type of courses you plan to take during your exchange and how they will fit into your UBC degree. However, since up to date course information from your host university will not be available until closer to the time of your exchange, it may not be possible (or necessary) to know exactly how every course will transfer at this stage.
Once you have been selected for an exchange, you will be asked to make specific course selections and you can then work towards getting pre-approval for your exchange courses.
If your loan certificates are sent directly to UBC (Ontario, Newfoundland), fax or email your Off-Campus Document Request form to Student Services. You must do this after we email you that your loan certificate is ready to pick up.
When we receive your form, we will sign your loan certificates and send them to your POA. Please enter the correct address on the Student Service Centre (SSC).
Before you go on exchange, contact Student Services to get an Off-Campus Document Request form.
If your POA lives in Vancouver or on-campus, you do not need an Off-Campus Document Request form. Please do the following:
- Download the Third-Party Pickup form
- Complete this form and give it to your POA.
- Your POA can visit Student Services with this form to have your loan certificate signed or pick up your loan certificate if it is mailed directly to UBC.
If you require further information about how to manage your student loans while on exchange, please contact Student Services.
Last reviewed 7/30/2018 1:26:38 PM