Internationalize your degree by going on exchange in your 3A, 3B or 4A term:
- Build your network and make new friends from around the world
- Step outside your comfort zone to become more independent and self-aware
- Set yourself apart in your job hunt by becoming more adaptable and developing the skills employers are looking for
- Earn credit toward your degree at Waterloo while exploring another country/region
If you’re planning to participate in an exchange or study abroad program in the 2019/20 academic year, you will need to attend an information session before you can apply. Check the Student Success Office Go Abroad website for upcoming dates and times (found under the "before match" tab).
- Cumulative overall average of 70% or higher (75% for Australia and the United Kingdom)
- Be in satisfactory standing for your program
- Be proficient in the language of instruction at the host university (check that the school you are interested in going to offers courses taught in English)
- Most students go on exchange during their 3A or 3B term, although 4A works best for students in Planning
For international exchanges, you pay your normal tuition fees to Waterloo prior to departure. There is no extra tuition charged to participate in an exchange program.
Summer programs through the University of Waterloo vary. For some summer programs, you pay the program fee directly to the host school. For others, you pay your tuition fees to Waterloo. You can find this information, as well as the program cost, on the program's summary page in Waterloo Passport.
While studying abroad, you're responsible for any extra studying costs (books, lab fees, etc.), travel expenses, passport and visa arrangements, accommodations, food and all other living expenses, including health care.
Costs of living abroad may vary considerably, but is often not significantly higher than living in Canada.
International experience awards (free money!)
The University of Waterloo, in support of international studies, offers a number of awards and bursaries. You can apply for all international experience awards by completing one application.
Where can you go?
Go to Waterloo Passport to see the opportunities that are available to Environment students.
To search, click on "Search Programs". Select "Exchange" as the type and check the box beside "Environment" to find the universities you can go to as an Environment student. Click "Apply Search" to get your results.
Click on the name of a school in the list of results to see more information about that school and the exchange agreement we have with them. Be sure to check the following information when looking at the school summary:
- Term/semester dates - quite a few universities have term dates that are different from ours and may overlap two of our terms (e.g. terms in Australia typically run from February to June and July to November/December). Check individual universities for term/semester dates as these can vary even within countries/regions.
- Language of instruction (found to the right of the map) - most of our partner universities offer courses taught in English but be sure to check this before applying.
You will find plenty of useful links in the school profile (the page you see after clicking on the name of the host school) that will take you to information on courses, housing, the school website and more.
Before you apply
- Attend an information session. Upcoming dates, times and locations can be found on the Student Success Office Go Abroad website.
- Discuss with your Academic Advisor and/or Co-op Advisor (if applicable) how an exchange will fit into your academic plan. Depending on the term dates of the school you are going to, you may have to make changes to the sequencing of your work and study terms.
- Look at the courses you still need to graduate. Try to get most of your required courses out of the way before you go on exchange or have a plan of when you will take those courses when you return to Waterloo.
- Check the term dates, duration and language of instruction of the host schools to ensure they would be a good option for you.
How to apply
Applications for summer 2019 (short summer programs), fall 2019, winter 2020 and spring 2020 are now open and students will need to attend a mandatory information session to be able to apply. Upcoming dates and times for those information sessions can be found on the Student Success Office Go Abroad (under the "before match" tab).
Follow the application steps and submit your online application through Waterloo Passport before November 1 to be matched in the first round for fall 2019, winter 2020 and spring 2020 exchange programs. Students who apply after the deadline will be matched with a host school on a first-come, first-served basis, in the continuous round of applications.
Please note that fall 2018, winter 2019 and spring 2019 (term-long exchange) applications are now closed.
When applying for an exchange program, you are encouraged to list up to five program choices in one application. You will receive a confirmation e-mail once you have submitted your application.
Course selection and transfer credits
Most students are able to transfer a full course load of credits (2.5 credits) back to Waterloo after completing an exchange term. The key is to look into courses early and have them assessed before you leave for your exchange so that you know what transfer credits you can expect to receive when you get back to Waterloo.
You are welcome to take any course that your host university will allow you to enrol in. This is the perfect opportunity to take courses that can only he found at your host school.
Transfer credit assessment process
Once you have been matched with a host school, have a look at their website to find courses you might want to take while you are there. Once you have a list of courses (no more than 10), you can send them to Jaime Fohkens to start the course assessment process. To assess your courses, we will need the following information:
- Course name
- Course code
- Course outline/syllabus
Be sure to include your full name, program and student number in your email when requesting course assessments.
Courses outside the Faculty of Environment
If you are thinking of taking courses that might fall within the Faculty of Arts or Math, have a look at their lists of courses that have been approved for Arts and Math students in the past to get an idea of the transfer credits you might receive.
These lists are meant to be used as a guide. Your courses will still have to be assessed closer to the time you leave to go on exchange as courses are continuously changing, both at Waterloo and the host schools.
Stories from Environment students
Corbin Weber (Environment and Business) - University of Wollongong in Australia
Vanessa Lubieniecki (Geography and Environmental Management) - Queensland University of Technology in Australia
Claire Hunter (Environment, Resources and Sustainability) - University of Liverpool in England
If you have been on an exchange and would like to share your story and/or photos, please contact Jaime Fohkens. We would love to hear from you!
Stories from students in other Faculties
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