One of the wonderful perks that comes with being a University of Melbourne student is the life-changing opportunity to spend a semester (or two!) on exchange as a part of your degree.
“What’s so great about exchange?” You may be asking. Well, besides the fact that a majority of students who have gone on exchange describe it as the best experience of their lives thus far, you will be paying University of Melbourne tuition fees (rather than those of the university you are attending) and obtain credit towards your University of Melbourne degree.
However, many students are turned off by the tedious exchange application process. Well, this article will make it more digestible for you by breaking it down into several steps. You’ll soon be on your way to a school of your choice!
If you are planning to go on exchange in Semester 1 2017, do note that the exchange application deadline is 29 May 2016, so read on and get started now!
Step 1 – Check Your Eligibility
The first thing you need to do is ensure that you are actually eligible to go on exchange on the Eligibility Requirements page. Some key requirements for undergraduate students are as follows:
You must have…
Attended a compulsory myWorld First Step Session (see below) and have completed, or are about to complete, one year of study and 75 points at Unimelb by the application due date
Grades: You need a weighted average of at least 65% (H3) in your degree. If you are wanting to obtain credit for a concurrent diploma overseas, note that you have to have this average in your diploma subjects too.
You need to be able to… study the equivalent of a full-time load.
Eligibility requirements for graduate students and other types of students are available on the page as well.
Step 2 – Attend a myWorld First Step Session
This, as you’ve just read, is a compulsory component of the exchange application process. Simply put, it is a general information session for any students considering going on exchange or studying abroad. Please note that your application will not be accepted if you have not attended a myWorld First Step session.
Click here to see when the next session will be held, and make sure you book it ASAP because slots run out very quickly!
Step 3 – Choosing a Destination (Be Careful!)
You’ve attended the talk, now you can walk the walk – here comes the best part! Be prepared to spend hours looking through University of Melbourne’s partner institutions whilst daydreaming about all the potential adventures you’ll have. With approximately 180 exchange partners in 39 countries around the world, you’re bound to be spoilt for choice!
However, there are certain essential things to take note of when choosing institutions. For example, each institution has special conditions that specify the restrictions they have for exchange students. Shown below is University College of London’s (UCL) Special Conditions:
These conditions may affect your ability to go to the institution. For example, I originally wanted to go to UCL on exchange. However, upon reading this section, I realised that I wouldn’t be allowed to take any Politics and International Studies subjects there, which is problematic considering that is one of my majors…
Besides the institution’s special considerations, do read through all the other program description tabs very carefully to obtain information on the academic year, subject handbook, living options and so on! It’s a holistic approach: make sure you’re considering your life in and out of uni!
Step 4 – Start the Application Process
Okay – here’s where things start to get serious. The exchange application form contains various sections, and will ask you for:
- when you attended a myWorld First Step Session;
- your second and third preference destinations if your first preference is not possible for some reason;
- the languages you speak and how well;
- any disabilities or chronic illnesses you may have;
- an exchange essay
- your study plan
- your financial plan
- details page of passports for all the citizenships you hold
- permission to pass on your name and email address to other students interested in the exchange program
- confirmation that the information you have entered is true and correct.
You can view more details on the application form here. However, I will focus on what I find to be the most time-consuming process of the application: The study plan.
Step 4a – Complete Your Study Plan
The first step to completing this study plan is choosing your subjects. The fact that Global Mobility Melbourne has dedicated an entire page on choosing subjects goes to show that this process requires a fair bit diligence on your part. I will leave you to read the nitty-gritty details on that page, but the process can be summarised into 3 steps:
- Read the ‘Credit Load’ tab in the brochure page for your desired partner institution very carefully to figure out how many subjects you must successfully complete overseas in order to get an equivalent load credited to your degree in Melbourne.
- Important: It is compulsory that you are enrolled for full-time credit load whilst on exchange!
- Scour the partner’s institution handbook / course schedule / subject list to find subjects that interest you and fit into your University study plan. Do note that the subject description, prerequisites, assessment information and other administration details are required as well.
- Get these subjects approved by your faculty advisor
Also, this will probably be highlighted during your myWorld First Step Session but I shall mention it again: Get started on choosing subjects early, as it will probably take longer than you expect! For example, some partner institutions’ websites do not provide all the information you need on their subjects. This requires you to e-mail the institution personally to request for it, which may delay your process.
Step 5 – Submit Your Application Form on Time
As you would have noticed, applying for exchange is a mostly independent process. However, support is available – Global Mobility Melbourne’s comprehensive website will guide you through it all. For any further questions, you can contact the lovely folks at Stop 1.