Information for

International exchange

Cyanne swimming with a shark while on exchange in Australia.

Cyanne went swimming with whale sharks while she was on exchange in Australia. Read student exchange stories

Expand your world on an international exchange

Students in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences (AHS) are encouraged to participate in an international exchange opportunity. You can spend either one or two terms studying aboard. Courses taken while on exchange may be credited towards your University of Waterloo (UW) degree. Therefore, you can complete degree requirements while getting an experience of a lifetime!

AHS has more than 40 student exchange agreements in over 20 different countries.

By participating in an International exchange you have the opportunity to:

  • learn about a different culture by experiencing it firsthand;
  • learn to become independent, flexible, and confident;
  • make friends with people from different cultural and social backgrounds;
  • study courses within a different culture while obtaining credit toward your UW degree.

Who should apply?

Students selected for the exchange program serve as ambassadors to the University of Waterloo. Successful candidates must have:

  • at least third year standing (application accepted in 2nd year)
  • 70% or above overall average (75% for Australia exchanges)
  • completed at least one academic year in the department if they are a transfer student

Before you apply, you should meet with your academic advisor to determine if an exchange is possible based on your remaining degree requirements. If it is, your academic advisors will identify the best term for the exchange, as well as the required courses you must complete while on exchange to meet your remaining degree requirements. Academic advisors normally encourage students to participate in an elective-heavy term.

There is no guarantee concerning course offerings at UW. Although you may arrange your schedule to complete your degree requirements in four years, not all courses are offered every year and some courses may change time slots. This may lead to course conflicts. You should be prepared for the possibility that you may not finish your degree in four years.

How do you apply?

Applications are completed online through Waterloo Passport. Only one application per student is permitted. The application portal opens October 1. Although the portal remains open, to be considered in the first round of placements, the deadline is November 1. Applications submitted after November 1 will still be considered, but, they will be assessed in the second round of placements.

Before placements can occur, students must submit their application fee. The fee can be paid one of three ways:

For more detailed information, consult the Student Success Office website: How do I apply? 

Application process

You will be notified of your placement via e-mail by mid-February.

Please note, a placement does not mean you have been admitted to the host institution. You will be required to submit a formal application for admission directly to your host institution. You will receive instructions by email for completing the application to the host institution:

  • For summer programs and fall term exchanges: instructions will be sent out by the end of April.
  • For winter term exchanges: instructions will be sent out by the end of September.

Once your placement is confirmed, you should select your courses and submit their outlines for approval to the Student Success Officer. You will want to select your courses and initiate the approval process well before you leave. This will ensure that you know what transfer credits to expect when you get back. In many cases, you will be required to include your selection of courses in your formal application to the host institution. You will therefore want to start the approval process well before the application deadline.

Course selection/availability may change throughout the application process. Please keep the Student Success Officer up to date as these changes occur. We cannot guarantee course availability abroad. It is therefore important that you remain flexible when selecting courses for any exchange or study abroad program.

You can expect to receive an official offer of admission to the host institution:

  • by the end of June for summer programs and fall term exchanges;
  • by the end of November for winter exchanges.

Once you have been admitted to the host institution, you can start finalizing your travel arrangements and housing accommodations. This is when you will also need to apply for your study visa or permit, if one is required.

You must complete the mandatory pre-departure risk management requirements before you leave. Upon arrival at your host university, you must complete an arrival form.

For more detailed information, consult the Student Success Office website: application process.

Financing your exchange

While away on exchange, you pay normal full-time tuition fees to UW, rather than having to pay international student fees to your host institution. You will pay for a full course load (5 courses) regardless of the number of courses you take at the host institution. In order to bill tuition for a full course load, you will be enrolled in the placeholder course REC 375/ KIN 372 /HLTH 405 International Exchange (2.5 units) for the term of the exchange. Once we receive your official transcript from your host institution, the placeholder course will be replaced by your transfer credits. Please note, courses must have a grade of 60% or better to be transferred to count toward your UW degree.

Other costs, such as on-campus housing and text books, will be paid directly to the host institution. It is important to consider the extra cost of living expenses that may be affiliated with some countries (such as currency exchange rates and flight fares). You will also want to consider the extra expenses of travelling and sight seeing.

Some exchange programs offer direct scholarships or financial incentives to UW students once they’ve been accepted into the program. To learn more about financing an exchange, consult How do I pay for it?

The Canadian Bureau for International Education offers scholarship programs. To learn more, explore CBIE funding options.

What are my options for working overseas?

A part-time job may be possible during your exchange term; however, it does depend on the specific regulations of the host country. Check out conditions of your study permit or visa.

There are other ways you can work overseas. Here are some helpful links: