March 11, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 84  

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Exchanging currency, culture & education

By Lorraine Forster
Gazette Staff


Have Canadian winters left you with a bad case of the blahs? If so, it sounds like an exchange is in order.

While not all exchange destinations offer surf paradise, they do provide an escape from the ordinary. Western currently offers exchanges to over 30 countries, so finding an international or North American university that offers courses which correspond to your discipline is made easier.

David Darby, program officer for the Ontario/Baden-Würtenberg exchanges, offers some insight into the program he directs that sends up to 50 students from 13 different Ontario universities to Germany each year.

“I would very much like to see more Western students participate and especially to increase participation from traditionally underrepresented faculties such as science and engineering,” he says. “Students from those areas are made especially welcome by the host universities and have often had the opportunity to be assigned to specific research teams.

“Each year the nine public universities in Baden-Würtenberg in turn send up to 50 students to Ontario. The intention is that students, while on exchange, continue to work and earn credit toward completion of their degree program at their home university,” Darby eplains. “In the past it has been a full-year program, but this year we are introducing a one-semester option in an attempt to open the program to more students.”

One of the questions commonly asked of the exchange program is whether students need to be fluent in the language where they will be studying. The answer to this question varies; some programs require a language competency equal to two years of university-level language courses and others do not.

“Most of the B-W universities offer some courses or even some programs in English. Also, each Ontario university student gets to attend a full-month immersion course in German before the semester begins in Germany, generously paid for by the state government of Baden-Würtenberg,” Darby reveals. “So, while two years of German is good preparation, a good number of highly-motivated participants have gone to Germany with less prior knowledge.

“Most students are offered and accept rooms in residence. Some also choose to make private arrangements, often working out an exchange of a room in a shared house or apartment with one of the students coming to Ontario,” he explains.

Aside from their academic endeavours, many students take advantage of the neighbouring European countries on their two-month travel break.

For more information, visit Applications are accepted in the fall; if you are interested in participating in the 2004/05 exchange, e-mail David Darby at

Western offers exchanges to the following national and international destinations:

Australia: Griffith University, Edith Cowan University, Victoria University of Technology

Canada (CANEX Exchange Program): McGill University, McMaster University, Queen’s University, University of Alberta, Université Laval, Universite de Montreal, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo

Costa Rica: Universidad de Costa Rica

Denmark: Copenhagen University, Aarhus University

France (Ontario/Rhone-Alpes Program): Université de Provence, University of the Mediterranean, INRIA, University of Nice, University of Tours, University Montesquieu-Bordeaux IV, INSA de Toulouse, Institut National Polytechnique De Grenoble, Université Rennes

Germany (Ontario/Baden-Württemberg Program): Dusseldorf University

Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong, City University of Hong Kong

Japan: The University of Electro-Commnications (Tokyo), Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences

Korea: Yeungnam University, Sookmyung University

Mexico: Monterrey Tec

Netherlands: Erasmus University (Rotterdam), University of Maastricht, Eindhoven University of Technology

New Zealand: University of Otago

Singapore: Nanyang Technological University

Slovenia: University of Maribor

Sweden: Stockholm University

United Kingdom: University of St. Andrews, Royal Holloway College (University of London), Lancaster University, Herstmonceux Castle, Sheffield-Hallam University, Southampton University, City University, University of East Anglia

United States: Florida International University, California State University at Sacramento




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