Around the world in 80 days: how to
get where you want to go
By Pip Scowcroft
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
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
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 www.registrar.uwo.ca/cfns/exchange,
or drop into the Centre for New Students in Rm. 65 of the Stevenson-Lawson