FAQ- Outgoing Exchange

Study Abroad Options

There are many Study Abroad Options from which University of Guelph students in any program can choose from. You can apply to go on an Exchange ProgramField School program, or  Summer Exchange Program. You can also explore our summer language and research programs and more.

To find the best academic fit for you, use our Study Abroad Program Search. Using the Program Search you will be able to find partner universities and study abroad programs that match your UofG academic program. There are also links to the host university websites so that you can take a look at each university and their courses. 

We have a variety of short summer programs you can explore. 

You can go on a summer exchange program where you can take courses at a partner university for 2-6 weeks and transfer credits to Guelph. You may also want to explore the summer field schoolssummer language, and summer research programs. 

There are over 100 programs in more than 30+ countries from which students can choose and this includes Co-op students. However, it will take some planning so meet with the Co-op office and your Program Counsellors early and don't forget to attend the Study Abroad Information Session.

The majority of our partner universities have offices similar to UofG's Student Accessibility Services. We advise students to speak to the Education Abroad Advisors at CIP prior to submitting their study abroad application to ensure the necessary services will be available at a particular partner university on their sojourn abroad.

If you would like to attend a specific university that Guelph does not have an exchange agreement with, you can do what is called a Letter of Permission (LOP). A Letter of Permission gives a student from the University of Guelph permission to take credits at another university and transfer the credits back to their degree at the University of Guelph.

On an LOP, the student pays international student tuition and fees to the host institution (often 2-3x more than UG tuition) and is considered a student at the host university for the duration of the LOP. The student is responsible for applying to the host institution and the Centre for International Programs does not provide assistance. More information on an LOP is available through the Registrar's Office, and your Program Counsellor will be able to talk to you about Guelph's administrative process.

Unfortunately, due to the large numbers of organizations offering work, internships, volunteer placements and study abroad options, we don’t give definitive information.  However, we have created a guideline that will help you evaluate and select an international program. 

We offer great help even if your academic pursuit outside of Canada is not one of the Study Abroad Programs CIP promotes.  We offer an on-line pre-departure orientation called DepartSmart to all University of Guelph students travelling abroad as part of their academic program. And we collect your emergency contact information through an online platform.  CIP also promotes and asks all academic travellers to buy the compulsory comprehensive health insurance the University of Guelph has through Guard.Me Insurance. You can also get general Safe Travel Information from our webpage.

Eligibility

The Study Abroad Information Sessions will be available from mid-September till the day before applications are due, at the end of January. (find application due dates on our website, here) The info sessions will be offered as a 'Resource' on CourseLink and can be completed at your own pace. In order to get access to the CourseLink site, you will need to sign up for an info session, here.

Most students apply in their second year to go on exchange in their third year. You can apply in your first year to go in your second year but priority will be given to students in higher years. You can go on exchange in your final year or semester but your graduation may be delayed as most of our partner universities are on a different semester schedule. You should check with your program counsellor first before you apply to go on exchange in your final semester to ensure that you know what courses you require to graduate.

A 70% cumulative average (the average of all your course taken at Guelph) is necessary to apply to a Field School or Exchange Program. Because study abroad programs are academic programs and the application process is competitive your marks do count.

We will accept applications with cumulative averages between 67-69% if there are extenuating circumstances such as an illness that resulted in a lower cumulative average. You must complete the Minimum Average Exemption Request form that can be found in the online application if your cumulative average falls within this range. Applications with an average lower than 67% will not be accepted.

This depends on the study abroad program you decide to go for. The vast majority of our partners offer courses in English and all of our field school programs are offered in English. However, some of the courses (e.g. language programs) in some partner universities require some proficiency level in the local language, in such cases, you must meet the language requirement. If you have an intermediate (usually 2nd year) level of French, German, Spanish or Italian, then you can also consider studying in Latin America, France, Germany, Spain or Italy in the local language!  To study in one of these languages, you must submit a Language Assessment Form along with your online application.

Unfortunately, you cannot. You would have to be a registered full-time student at the University of Guelph in order to participate in any of the study abroad programs.

Finances

On a study abroad program, your tuition is paid to the University of Guelph. Other costs to consider are airfare, food, residence fees or rent, travel costs within the country and books. Check the exchange rate and look into the cost of living for the country you would like to go to. How much you spend is also based on your spending habits and lifestyle. On average, students spend 1.5x what they would spend at Guelph for a semester.

Because you are still considered a University of Guelph student while you are on a study abroad program you can still apply for OSAP for the semester or year you are away. Student Financial Services has scholarships and bursaries available for Guelph students travelling abroad for academic reasons.  For more information visit Financing your Study Abroad.

All students who will be studying abroad must purchase the Guard Me insurance plan at least three weeks before their departure. 

Unfortunately, there are no exemptions from purchasing Guard Me insurance, even if your host university or country requires you to buy a mandatory health insurance plan (such as OSCH in Australia).  While other plans may cover you for basic medical care in your host country, they often do not cover students for such things as travel to other countries, emergency evacuation, repatriation, or flying a loved one to be with you if you are hospitalized. Therefore, having the Guard Me insurance is necessary at an affordable rate.

Application

Students interested in applying for one of Guelph's international exchange programs must attend a Study Abroad Information Session. Only students who have attended a Study Abroad Information Session will have access to CIP's online Exchange Application.

You can also find detailed application instructions, here.

Only students who have attended a Study Abroad Info Session can access the online application. To access the application, go to https://uoguelph-horizons.symplicity.com/? and log in with your University of Guelph central login and password (same ones you use for Gryphmail). Be sure you are logging in with your full U of G email address eg. happystudent@uoguelph.ca

If you would like to participate in a Summer Field School or an Exchange in the Summer, Fall and/or Winter semesters, application are due the last week of January in the current academic year. A list of the deadline can be found here.

Please note that the ORA, OBW, OJS, and OIN programs have different application requirements and the details and due dates can be found here.

There is no cost attached to applying to study abroad. We will ask you to make any payments once you are nominated and you accept your placement.

It depends on where you want to go! Locations, where you may be able to go for an academic year, include France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway and Spain. We would love to send students to study abroad for an entire academic year but due to the limited amount of spaces available we send most students for one semester only.

No, you can't participate in more than one semester-long study abroad program in the same year.

You can apply to as many as two programs in an academic year, with one in the summer and the other in the fall or winter semesters. For instance, you can participate in both a summer program and a fall or winter exchange or a semester abroad program. You cannot participate in two exchange programs in the same academic year.

Each student can submit one application and each application can have up to five choices on it, with any combination or exchange or summer program. 

Spots are reviewed with our partnering universities at the beginning of the academic year in September and the final list is posted on the CIP webpage by December.

Acceptance

As long as you have a 70% cumulative average, we will do our best to place you in one of the five locations that you indicate on your application form. If for some reason, such as space availability and the number of applications to a specific university, we can’t place you in any of your listed locations, we will contact you before the final decision is made.

In the past, the most competitive locations for exchange have been in Australia, England and New Zealand. The placements for these locations have been made based on the cumulative GPA of applicants.

As long as you have a 70% cumulative average, we will do our best to place you in one of the five locations that you indicate on your application form. It is not a guarantee that you will be placed in your top choices even though it will be considered alongside the number of applications to the same destination, the cumulative GPA and the number of spots available for students to that particular host university.

All applicants will find out their placements at the beginning of March for the upcoming summer, fall, and winter terms.

You will normally get a one week window to accept or decline your placements after you receive your acceptance packages. The deadline to accept or decline is put in your nomination package.

There are a lot of different steps that you have to complete and prepare for after you have accepted your placement, but these will all be outlined in your nomination package. The most important first step is that all students who are accepted for study abroad programs must attend "Safe Travel Essentials”, a mandatory pre-departure presentation, which will be offered sometime in March. The presentation is organized by CIP and covers many important topics such as health and safety abroad, cultural adjustment and administrative processes. Please keep this date free in your schedule.

Should you decide to cancel your exchange after you have accepted your exchange placement online, there is a $200 cancellation fee, or a $300 cancellation fee depending on when you cancel. If you cancel after May 1st for a Summer or Fall semester exchange program, and after August 1st for a Winter semester exchange program you will pay the $300 cancellation fee. (Students who are cancelling must also pay the $80 Exchange Administration Fee if they haven’t already paid this.) Failure to pay the cancellation fee will result in a University financial sanction.  For cancellations due to serious extenuating circumstances, such as serious medical problems or a death in the family, students may apply for an exemption from the cancellation fee.

We try our best to place students in one of their top 5 choices. However, if you cannot get in one of your top choices due to the number of spaces available for the host university and the number of applications we receive for that school, we do not offer an option to be put on a waitlist. At this point, students can only accept or decline their offers. 

If you are planning to apply to a competitive school it is recommended that you rank it first or second on your application and that you also choose some less competitive options to ensure you are placed somewhere. 

Host University

You have a 99% chance of being accepted, as our partner universities know that we have already screened the students we are nominating for exchange. It would be highly unusual for one of our partner universities to not accept a student we have nominated. 

While it is really only a formality, some students find waiting for their acceptance from the host institution quite nerve-wracking. While you wait, keep in mind that many of our partner universities’ semester dates are later than U of Guelph’s. For example, if you are going to Australia for the winter semester, their semester doesn’t start until February and acceptances often don’t arrive until late October or early November.

If you haven’t heard from the host institution by June 30th for Fall departure or November 15th for Winter departure, please notify your Education Abroad Advisor and they will ask your host university for an update.

The majority of host institutions send the acceptance letters to students via e-mail (as a hard copy isn’t required for many visa applications). However, some host institutions send the acceptance letter via mail to the Education Abroad Advisors at CIP, who will then email you to come and pick up your acceptance. 

Academics

The number of courses you will be taking while on exchange depends on your host university and your degree requirements as assessed by your Program Counsellor. In order to receive full-time University of Guelph credits (2.5 for one semester, 5.0 for two semesters) when you return, you must take your host university’s equivalent of a full-time course load.

For example, in countries that are part of the European Union, universities use the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). 30 ECTS credits per semester are equal to 2.5 University of Guelph credits.  In the UK, many universities use the CATS credit system, and 60 CATS is equal to 2.5 UofG credits. 

Since the exact course information or timetable for your host university may not be available yet, or you may not be sure which courses you want to take, it is recommended that you choose more courses than you will actually be taking while on exchange and have these approved by your Program Counsellor on the EPCS form.  We recommend going to see them at least two weeks or more before the deadline for handing in the signed form to your Education Abroad Advisor.

Before you go on exchange, you must complete an Undergraduate Exchange Program Course Selection and Grade Submission (EPCS) form for each semester you will be away on exchange.  This will give a rough estimate of the courses you intend to take as it is possible some courses may change while on exchange. It is important that this form is completed correctly, and signed by your Program Counsellor before the form is submitted to the Education Abroad Advisors at the CIP office. The signature of your Program Counsellor is the proof that the selected courses will apply to your U of G degree. If you decide to change courses after you have handed in the EPCS form, simply make sure to e-mail your Program Counsellor to get approval for the new courses.

Once the Centre for International Programs has received your exchange transcript from your host institution, we will send a copy of the transcript to your Program Counsellor and notify you. In order for your courses to be transferred back to the University of Guelph, you must complete the Exchange Program Course Selection and Grade Submission (EPCS) form AGAIN to confirm the courses you took while on exchange and meet with your Program Counsellor to assess the courses and assign a generic credit and a credit weight to each of the courses. You may also be required to get departmental approval for the courses you took while exchange. 

Once your Program Counsellor has completed and signed the EPCS, you bring it to the Education Abroad Advisor at CIP, who will then take the form to the Registrar’s office and the courses will be added to your University of Guelph transcript.

It is possible to take a UofG Distance Education course while you're away on exchange. In general, it is best if you can take all of your courses at your host institution.  However, students are sometimes unable to take enough courses while on exchange to equal 2.5 UofG credits and choose to also take a 0.5 credit Distance Education course or Independent Study/Research course through the University of Guelph while on exchange.