How to Study Abroad (Part 1)

A few tips for your journey down the exchange-student hole

By Michael Finch

A warning to all, the next two posts will be rather dry, detailing how to get into another country without too many hiccups.

1. Apply for Kwantlen’s exchange program.

The forms can be obtained online or at the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS). I would recommend going in person and picking them up, this way you can make sure you get all the right forms and you can meet our awesome international mobility coordinator, Andrea Reynolds.

(Michael Finch)

2. Acquire a passport

Get this done ASAP, as passports can take a while to process. If you already have one, fantastic, make sure your passport is valid for at least six months AFTER your expected date of return. If you happen to get injured and end up staying a month longer than your passport lasts … not fun, or perhaps you want to extend your stay — all much easier with a valid passport.

3. Apply for enrollment at a foreign school

The OISS will provide you with instructions and forms on how to apply — it’s different for every school. When you are choosing your university you should be aware of the country you will be living in. Think about language barriers and cultural differences. The cost of living differs immensely across the world, and the currency conversion is also something to look out for. In Australia most things are more expensive than in Canada, and on top of that our dollar is worth a little less than theirs. It’s bloody expensive here.

 4. Selecting your courses

A word of advice here, choose electives when possible. You will get credit for all your courses, but they may not count towards your degree. (e.g. their English 1100 doesn’t equal our English 1100).  Find out from the OISS if they know whether the course is transferable. If not, best to stick with as many electives as possible. It also gives you a chance to create a light course load so you can focus more time on the on the travelling and adventure part. I chose all first-year electives just for that reason.

5. Obtain a visa

Again, it’s different for every country. You will need to contact either the immigration board of the country you wish to attend and find out what is required. Some can be done online, like Australia’s for example. I would recommend that this should be done after you’ve been accepted to the university, having a student number makes it much easier to be granted a visa.