Frequently Asked Questions

students hiking on a trip abroad

What can I do during my first and second year to prepare for an exchange?

Attend one of our information sessions and ask returning students about their experiences. You can also research the universities and countries that you would like to visit.

I am a first year student. Can I apply to go on exchange?

We generally encourage students to go on exchange in their third year, but students are also eligible to go in their second year.

Can I go on exchange during my fourth year?

Students who participate in an exchange in their final year of study may not graduate until the Fall convocation. Due to timing differences in academic years at universities around the world, your grades may not be available in time to meet published deadlines to graduate. Please note that these circumstances are beyond the control of the International and Exchange Student Centre and Western University, and as such, neither party can be held liable for these occurrences. In addition, students applying to a professional school such as Law, Medicine and Dentistry, after spending their third year abroad should note that a final transcript may not be available in time to meet the application deadline for these programs. Western University cannot be held responsible for these circumstances

I am graduate student. Am I eligible to go on exchange?

Graduate students are eligible to study at some of our partner universities. You will need your supervisor's approval to apply. Please contact the International Learning Coordinator for more information at

Do I have to go for the full year?

No, you can choose to go for one term only. When selecting the term you would like to apply for, please note the start and end dates of the academic year at the host institution.

Are there summer exchanges?

Yes, some of our partners offer summer programs.

Where will I live while on exchange?

Most of our exchange students live in on-campus residences at our partner universities. If the host institution does not own residences, their International Exchange Office helps incoming exchange students find off-campus housing. 

How much does an exchange cost?

The overall cost of an exchange will vary significantly depending on your spending habits and the country and city in which you study. The good news is that you will pay your regular tuition to Western and not international fees. Exchange participants are responsible for the cost of airfare, travel documents, applicable vaccinations, supplementary health insurance, accommodation, and other incidental expenses. Participants are required to arrange their own travel/immigration documents, plane tickets, health insurance, and vaccinations. Please note that there are scholarships available to exchange students to help cover some of the cost.

Are there scholarships available for students applying to the exchange program?

Yes, there are scholarships available help support your exchange experience. For more information, please visit our Scholarship & Funding page.

Can I continue to receive OSAP while on exchange?

Yes, but you must prepare all documentation before your departure. Contact Hala Hussein at Financial Services for more information.

I hold a continuing scholarship. Would going on exchange affect my eligibility?

No, going on exchange will not affect your eligibility.

When will I know if I have been selected?

Evaluations are completed by country, and therefore some students might be contacted before others. However, all students who applied by the December and January deadlines will be contacted via email by the end of February.

When do classes start?

Term dates vary greatly from country to country. Visit Atlas and click on the university you are interested in to view approximate dates. 

Can I take classes in English?

Most of our partner universities offer courses in English. 

Are classes more difficult in other countries?

Part of the exchange experience is learning to adapt to a different academic system. For some, this might mean having fewer class hours and more independent work. Classes may be structured differently compared to Western or there could be fewer assignments and more exams. When asked if they found class more difficult, most of our returning students respond "no.” We encourage you to seek advice from our returning students.

 How many courses do I have to take while on exchange?

You must be a full-time student while on exchange. The number of required courses varies depending on the institution you are attending. Each university has a different grading system so you will need to be aware of the overall number of credits you need to take, rather than the number of courses. Visit Atlas and click on the university you are interested in to view credit requirements.

How will my grades be transferred to Western?

Grades from your exchange will be recorded as "Pass/Fail" on your Western University transcript. Please keep in mind that students who later apply to graduate or professional programs will normally be required to provide a transcript from the host university, and their grades from exchange will be assessed at the discretion of the program that they are applying to.

I submitted an application. What now?

The committee will begin assessments once the deadline has passed. Your complete application will be assessed based on your academic suitability and ability to be a positive Western ambassador. The committee will select candidates based on the online application, letters of reference and transcript. We will contact you as soon as we have the results of your application. This is typically by the end of February for first round applicants.

I was selected to participate on the exchange program. What should I do now?

1. Confirm your acceptance in writing and pay a $165 Placement Fee.

2. Complete a Course Approvals Form and have an academic advisor/department counsellor from your department approve the courses you plan to take abroad. If you do not complete and submit a Course Approvals Form, you will not receive credit for the courses you complete while abroad.

3. Fill out an application form for your host institution. We will send you instructions. Be advised that approval from the host university can take several weeks. You are not officially accepted until your host university has approved your application and sent you an official offer letter. Denial by the host university is very rare. 

4. Before you leave, you must attend Pre-Departure Sessions which typically run throughout the month of March and October. You can also choose to complete these pre-departure sessions in OWL. You can search for pre-departure in the list of Joinable Sites. Failure to attend one of the sessions may result in the cancellation of your exchange.

5. It is also your responsibility to conduct research on your own (via the Internet, travel agencies, foreign consulates, etc.) to ensure that you are knowledgeable about your host institution and country.