Study abroad and student exchange

Thousands of international students choose to study in Australia every year because of the excellent reputation of its education programs and the great lifestyle and travel opportunities. Those already studying overseas who would like to experience study in Australia can choose between a study abroad program and a student exchange.

Who offers study abroad and exchange programs?

Study abroad programs are offered by Australian universities and other tertiary institutions. If you are considering a study abroad program, you can choose any Australian institution that offers study abroad. You can complete an exchange program at an Australian secondary school or tertiary institution, but the Australian institution must have an exchange partnership with your home institution.

Courses and qualifications

Study abroad and exchange programs usually involve completing one or two semesters of study overseas. Credit from this study may count towards your course back home. The amount of credit transferred for studies completed in Australia varies depending on the academic system at your home institution. Students are usually allowed to enrol in any subject offered by their Australian institution, although entry to some subjects may be dependent on the student having fulfilled certain prerequisite subject requirements, so it is important to check with academic advisers at both your home and Australian institution.

Before you commit to a study abroad or exchange program, you should consider the following questions:

  • Does my home institution give credit for subjects taken overseas?
  • Am I able to count subjects taken overseas as part of my study abroad towards my major?
  • Will subjects taken overseas show on my transcript with or without a letter grade or a grade point average?

You are strongly advised to speak to your home institution’s academic adviser or exchange coordinator for answers to any questions you may have.

In an exchange program:

  • the home institution has a formal exchange agreement with the Australian institution
  • the student remains enrolled at their home institution during their time in Australia
  • the student continues to pay their normal fees to their home institution (the cost to the Australian institution is part of the exchange agreement between the two institutions)
  • the student must be nominated and approved for the exchange program by the exchange coordinator at their home institution
  • credit for study in Australia usually counts towards the student’s home course as part of the exchange agreement, although it is important to check to make sure this is the case.

In a study abroad program:

  • the home institution does not have a formal exchange agreement with the Australian institution
  • the student usually needs to take leave from their home institution
  • the student usually pays fees to the Australian institution up-front
  • the student must ask their advisers at their home institution whether they can receive credit for their study abroad subjects.

Tuition costs

Students taking part in a student exchange program pay their normal fees to their home institution. Students taking part in a study abroad program will need to pay fees, usually upfront, to their Australian institution.

Fees vary depending on the course and institution. It is important to discuss fees with an academic adviser at your home institution and your prospective Australian institution.

Entry requirements

You can generally apply for study abroad programs in Australia either through your home institution or directly through the Australian institution. Students taking part in an exchange program will need to get approval from their home institution before applying.

To be eligible for study abroad and student exchange programs, students usually need to:

  • have completed a minimum of two semesters of full-time study at their home institution
  • satisfy minimum academic requirements set by the Australian institution
  • have satisfied any necessary subject prerequisites
  • satisfy English language requirements set by the Australian institution.

Students may be required to fulfil a number of other application requirements, such as providing academic and character references, a financial statement and a copy of their academic results. Entry requirements differ between Australian institutions, so it is important to check specific details with individual institutions before applying. To obtain a student visa, study abroad and exchange students must be enrolled full time at their Australian institution. The minimum commitment of one semester of study is generally 12 to 14 weeks.

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