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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
November 25, 2015
Canadian Excellence



Frequently Asked Questions

This section is divided into four categories:
  1. Preparation
  2. Eligibility
  3. Application
  4. Other

Preparation FAQ

Who do I see for information about exchanges?
Please visit our Student Exchange: Who do I speak to for more information? section.

How long will I be away?
Depending on the exchange program at the university partner that you have chosen, you can spend one term or one academic year abroad. Make sure you look at the term dates to ensure they fit your WLU academic schedule.

Will participation in an exchange delay graduation?
Students who participate in the Fall term exchanges will not graduate prior to the Spring Convocation following their exchanges. Students who participate in Winter term exchanges will not graduate prior to the Fall convocation following their exchanges.

How much will it cost to go on an exchange?
You will pay full time tuition and regular student fees to Laurier based on 2.5 WLU credits per semester while on exchange. If you take more than 2.5 credits worth you will be charged additionally.  The additional costs are: flights, accommodations abroad, passport & visa expenses, emergency fees, local transportation, immunizations and student fees.

Is there any financial assistance for students on exchanges?
OSAP recipients retain their eligibility for OSAP, but you must notify the Student Awards Office of your intent to study abroad through Laurier International. Students studying through a Letter or Permission may not be eligible for OSAP because you will not be paying Laurier tuition.

Most scholarships will allow study abroad. Visit the Financial Assistance for International Opportunities section to learn about financial support available specifically for international opportunities like studying abroad.

Are accommodations provided?
Some host institutions offer on-campus accommodations while others do not. If available, host institution accommodation forms must be filled out, and returned in order to qualify. Host institution deadlines for applications must be observed, and any questions regarding accommodations must be directed to the host institution. If you live off-campus while abroad, travel to your host destination prior to the beginning of classes to secure accommodations. Laurier International does not provide assistance in securing accommodations for outgoing exchange students, but can connect you with Laurier students who have been to that country/school in the past so that you can get their advice on where to look for safe, affordable accommodations.

Can I study at a University that Laurier doesn’t have an exchange agreement with?
You may be able to go, but you need to fill out a 'Letter of Permission' (LoP) which you can get at the Registrar's Office. Through a Letter of Permission from Laurier, credits earned can be applied to a Laurier degree, however, tuition would be payable to the host university. Laurier International does not offer assistance in facilitating these exchanges (i.e. the credit transfers). Something else to keep in mind - you will be paying international student tuition fees if you go abroad on a LoP, as opposed to students who go to one of our partner schools who pay Laurier tuition fees. Paying international fees can affect your OSAP financial assistance.

Can Laurier international students participate in the exchange?
Yes - international students studying at Laurier can apply for the study exchange program, but you will still have to pay international student fees to Laurier if you are accepted to participate. You will have to also investigate the implications on your Canadian study permit as well as visa requirements for going to the host country.


When can I participate in an exchange program?
You must be in your 3rd or 4th year of study at Laurier in order to participate in the exchange program. Communication students can only go in 3rd year; Business students can only go on an exchange in their 4th year or 5th year if you have chosen the double-degree option. If you are unsure, please contact your Academic Advisor.

Can students involved in Co-op also take part in exchange programs?
Yes, Co-op students will usually choose one term of study abroad unless they can also do a co-op work placement abroad for a second term. There are more options for co-op students to go abroad in the fall term as there are more partner schools with corresponding semester dates.

If I only speak English, can I still do an exchange?
Yes, the language of instruction at a number of partner universities is English. Also, many exchanges can include intensive language training before or during the semester to help students adjust and improve their second or third language. By planning early you can start language training as early as first year and make the most of it through immersion at a foreign university in your senior years

I don't have the required GPA - what are my chances of being accepted to the Laurier Study Exchange program?
The GPA requirement is cumulative (i.e. we take into account all the grades you have earned in your time at Laurier). If you do not meet the GPA requirement, you will need to request a GPA Waiver Meeting with your Academic Advisor and complete a GPA Waiver form (available on the MyLearningSpace course when you have attended an information session). The form has sections that need to be completed by yourself as well as your Academic Advisor. Your Academic Advisor should complete and sign the form and then place it in an envelope and sign on the seal. The academic advisor also needs to send an email to  with the student's full name and ID in the subject line to confirm that have provided a GPA Waiver for that student. Please note that completion and submission of the GPA Waiver Form does not guarantee placement in the Student Exchange Program.

Can students studying part-time at Laurier participate in a study exchange?
Yes - however you must be enrolled in full-time studies at the partner institution abroad.


How do I apply?
Please visit our Student Exchange: Application Process section

When do I apply for an exchange program?

Applications must be in the International Office by January 22, 2016 by 4pm for 2016/2017 exchanges. Late applications will be accepted but in a later round. We will assess and place students in the first round if they submit their application by the deadline.

How are students selected?
Students complete standard application forms, and may be required to take part in either a formal or informal interview. Candidates are ranked upon their cumulative GPA, 2 references (academic and non-academic), Department Approval and their Letter of Motivation. Students may apply for up to three institutions and we aim to place as many students as possible.

What happens if I am not selected for one of my preferred destinations?
If you are a qualified candidate, suggestions will be made for open spaces at other destinations.

Can my academic and personal references write a letter instead of using the form?
No. A letter is not necessary – we just want their responses on the topics listed on the forms.

Can I still apply for the exchange program if I don’t meet the GPA requirement for my program?
If you are close to the GPA minimum, you can still apply. If you are deemed a qualified candidate other than your GPA, Laurier International may wait until your Winter marks are available to make a final decision. Since this is an academic exchange, if you are not close to the GPA minimum, then you are encouraged to look into other opportunities to go abroad, like volunteering, teaching English, working, Letter of Permission, or summer study program.

Do I need a language assessment?
You only need a Language Assessment if you plan to study in another language. If you do need a Language Assessment, contact the Languages and Literature department for the assessment.

How do I fill out the departmental approval form?
Research what courses may be available to you at the host institution and write down what courses you're hoping to take if you go on exchange (view a course calendar on the host institution website). This is a “wish list” of courses, and you are not committed to taking these courses. Write this “wish list” on the departmental approval form, including course weight, and have your undergraduate advisor (advisors if you’re a double major) sign it. Bring printed descriptions of these courses to help your academic advisor determine whether the coursework you plan to take abroad is suitable.

How do I hand in my study exchange application?
Follow the detailed instructions indicated on the MyLearningSpace course once you have attended an information session! 

Can I hand in my application late? 
Not recommended! There is no guarantee that there will be spaces left after the first deadline.

The host institution semester dates overlap with Laurier semesters. Can I still go on that exchange?
It depends on your academic situation and if the host university is able to make special arrangements for exchange students. If you're looking at a host institution that has an overlap of about a month or so (i.e. the fall term finishes in January), often the host can make special arrangements to allow you to return to Laurier to start the term here. For example, you can write your host exam before returning to Laurier, or write a final project instead of a final exam, or write the exam at Laurier proctored by Laurier International. You would need to double-check with the host institution to see if they will make special arrangements. It is your responsibility to make these arrangements. You could also study abroad for two terms instead of just one.

What are my odds of being placed for exchange?
It depends on the pool of applicants and their choices and qualifications. There is not a maximum number of students accepted for exchange each year. However, there is a limit to how many students we send to each institution each year, usually between two and six.

Who can I use for my references?
The Academic reference needs to be an instructor from Laurier - this can be a Professor, Teaching Assistant or Lab Instructor.

The Non-academic reference can be anyone who is not related to you or a friend of yours. Suggestions: a coach from a sports team, leader of a club you are involved in, employers (past/present).


How are credits from an exchange transferred?
You are required to obtain departmental approval for courses taken on exchange by completing a course credit transfer agreement form. This form is required only once you have been placed at a partner university. The Student Abroad Advisor and Academic Advisor will use your Course Credit Transfer Agreement (CCTA), along with your official transcript from your host institution to transfer your credits. Specific courses will be transferred to your Laurier student record, where possible. Otherwise, elective credits will be granted. Credits are transferred, while grades are not (i.e. Pass/Fail will be listed on your transcript, not your actual grade). You should be aware that if you plan to apply to graduate schools or faculties of education at a later date, many schools require original transcripts from your host institution, so you should order a copy of your transcript for yourself before leaving the country, and be aware that your actual grade will be visible on this. Further information about the course credit transfer process can be here.

How can I get involved with Laurier International?
There are many opportunities to get involved with Laurier International. Check out more information here.

Some departments offer seminars abroad for credit and/or field trips. Students can also arrange study abroad independently by applying as an International student to a foreign university or participating in another university’s study abroad programs.

You recommended registering with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development when I arrive in my host country - what's the benefit of doing that?
This service is provided by the Government of Canada for all Canadians traveling or living abroad so that they can contact and assist you in an emergency in a foreign country, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest, or inform you of a family emergency at home. Visit the Registration of Canadians Abroad section of the website to register once you have arrived in your host country.

How many times in my Laurier academic career can I go on an exchange?
You can go more than once, but you may not get your first choice of exchange school the second time around, because priority will be given to students who have never participated in an exchange, and who need the credits they'll take abroad to graduate.

Can I use my credit card to cover all my expenses abroad?
Foreign travel is often more expensive than people plan for. Plan and budget. Before you leave Canada, make arrangements for how you will get additional funds if needed. Have a little money already exchanged and in your pocket, so you can pay the cab when you arrive or buy a snack during a stopover. Note that some countries do not accept traveler’s cheques, and automatic teller machines may not be readily available. Check with VISA or MasterCard for the addresses of ATMs around the world. Also request a PIN number from your credit card company so that you can withdraw cash from your card if you need it.

Who is the Academic Advisor for my Program?
See the following list of contact info for all Undergraduate Academic Advisors on the Waterloo campus. Brantford students should refer to this link about Academic Advising on the Brantford campus. You will need to meet with this person to get sign-off on your course choices on the 'Department Approval' form.