March 11, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 84  

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Around the world in 80 days: how to get where you want to go

By Pip Scowcroft
Gazette Writer

Who would refuse a semester abroad if the opportunity arose? Western exchanges make this opportunity a reality, but a chance like this doesn’t just arise — it must be pursued.

It’s recommended that students apply in second year to go abroad in third year. Not all school years are created equal; Australia’s fall term, for instance, is the equivalent of our winter term, so being back at Western for fourth year will avoid any problems in terms of graduation.

The academic requirement is a 70 per cent cumulative average for most exchanges. You can still apply if your marks don’t quite cut it, but generally averages below 65 per cent aren’t considered. Students of all faculties can apply to almost any exchange destination. If you’re interested in a university that specializes in your field of study, faculty-specific exchanges are also available.

In October, applicants are required to attend one of the information sessions held by the Centre for New Students, to get an overview of how to apply and important dates. Exchanges are offered to institutions in more than 30 countries. On the application form, you must list three choices, though you’ll focus mainly on the first.

For this primary choice, you must compile a list of possible courses offered by the host institution which would supplement or integrate well with your Western program requisites. Keep in mind that these courses may not be offered at your exchange destination by the time you get there, so you need to prove that the school offers course options suited to your program.

The exchange office has resource material concerning exchange destinations offered, and drop in hours are held from November through January — so you can get any questions you may have. Course calendars for most schools are also available online and are often more up-to-date than the material in the exchange office.

Once you have a list of five or six possible courses, they must be approved by both the head of your program and the dean of your faculty. You’ll need to order a copy of your transcript and obtain two letters of reference, at least one of which must be from a professor. You also need a $25 money order for the application fee.

If you’re selected to participate in an exchange, an additional $125 is required as a placement fee. As an exchange student, you’ll pay Western’s tuition and cover your own travel and living expenses.

The application deadline is in mid-February and shortly after, the interview process begins. This year, the process consisted of a written portion, a one-on-one interview and a group activity.

For more information, check out the exchange website at, or drop into the Centre for New Students in Rm. 65 of the Stevenson-Lawson Building.



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