Frequently Asked Questions
Interested in going abroad with UCalgary? This page contains answers to many of the general questions or uncertainties that you may have.
If you already know what type of program you're intending to apply for, please select one of the buttons below for more specific information.
What opportunities are available?
Choose from 5 types of programs: Exchange Programs (where you become a student at one of our partner universities for one or more full semesters), Group Study Programs (where a UCalgary professor takes a group of students abroad in an experiential learning 'classroom on the road', typically 3-6 weeks long), Research (research placements are offered by our partner universities), Internships (internship placements are offered by vetted external organizations; these international internships are different from the internships offered by Career Services' co-op program), and UCalgary Global Online (virtual options for exchange, research, internship, and more).
Please watch Global Learning 101 for more details about these program types.
Where can I go? What can I study?
We are proud to have Study Abroad programs available on every continent (except Antarctica)! With programs in 45+ countries, and over 200 exchange programs & 30 group study programs annually, we can almost guarantee that we can get you where you want to go. Use our online program finder or browse through the resource materials at our office to get started. As for your study options - The courses you take abroad can contribute towards your major, minor, and/or electives. Our online program finder can help narrow down your search for studying abroad in a specific academic field. Your academic advisor at UCalgary will also be a valuable resource in confirming how the courses you take abroad will come back to your degree.
What if I want to go somewhere that isn't an option offered by UCalgary?
It may be possible to study abroad at a non-partner university. You must first speak with your academic advisor for approval and obtain a Letter of Permission from your faculty, then apply as a visiting student to the university of your choice. Note that as our office is only familiar with partner universities, we cannot offer any support in arranging courses, housing, visas, etc.; you will be doing this independently. As well, you will be responsible for paying tuition to your chosen university at their assessed international student rates.
Who can participate?
UCalgary Study Abroad programs are designed primarily for full-time undergraduate students; it is required that you complete 10 courses (1 year) of post-secondary education before your departure date. However, there are also options for graduate students. Many of our Group Study Programs are also open to Open Studies and/or Visiting students from other institutions.
What GPA do I need?
Your culumative GPA is an important indicator of your ability for success in a foreign academic environment. Good academic standing (typically defined as 2.0 or above) is required for all programs. Some programs require higher GPAs (such as 2.7 or 3.0) while others may be flexible in accepting students with lower GPAs. If you have any concerns about your GPA, please speak with a Study Abroad advisor and we will do our best to find a program for you.
What other eligibility requirements should I be aware of?
Some programs may be restricted to students in a certain year of their UCalgary studies, or may have requirements for a level of skill in a second language. There may be cases where only students from certain faculties/majors are eligible, or cases where Open Studies students are not eligible. Each program is different, so please make sure that you have read the program page carefully before applying.
You can apply to go abroad as early as the summer after your first year. Most students choose to go abroad between their second and fourth year. It is possible to go abroad as late as your final semester before graduation; this requires approval from your UCalgary academic advisor, and may result in delaying your convocation date due to the time needed for your grades to be processed after your international program is complete. (However, studying abroad during your final semester can open up networking opportunities should you wish to continue into a graduate program or a working holiday abroad!)
Overall, please just keep in mind that the earlier you start planning, the easier it will be to fit one (or more) international experiences into your degree.
Deadlines vary by program, so please make sure that you have reviewed the webpage for the programs that you wish to apply for. The information below should be treated as a general guide only.
For exchange programs
Applications typically open on November 1st for the upcoming year. The main deadline (called the priority deadline) is typically in early January. After all applications have been reviewed/accepted, any programs that still have space available for more exchange students will have applications re-opened. Generally, all Summer/Fall exchange spaces will be finalized (closed for new applications) by mid-March, and all Winter exchange places will be finalized by mid-October. However, if the remaining spaces are filled sooner, applications will be closed sooner.
For Group Study Programs
Applications typically open on September 1st for the upcoming year. Info sessions for each program are typically held in October, and some programs will have a fixed application deadline in November. However, many programs are "first come first considered", so it is strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
For research & internships
Applications typically open on November 1st for the upcoming year, with some programs opening for early recruitment in October. Deadlines may vary from mid-November to mid-February, depending on the research/internship placement. Please consult each program page for details.
All students going abroad on a University of Calgary program pay tuition to the University of Calgary and remain eligible for student loans and scholarships. Specific costs are listed on every program page on our website, so please ensure you read the page of the program(s) you are interested in for more detailed information.
What do Exchange/Individual Programs cost?
Exchange students are responsible for airfare, food, housing/rent, school supplies, any immigration costs (such as study permit application fees), and personal expenses. Students attending research or internship placements may pay some or all of these expenses; stipends may be available, depending on the program. Tentative costs are listed on each program page on our website, but these can vary greatly depending on your personal spending choices. Our advisors can connect you with study abroad alumni for support in building a realistic budget.
What do Group Study Programs cost?
Group Study Programs run on a cost-recovery basis and are designed with affordability in mind. The Study Abroad Office manages most of the in-field logistics (such as accommodation and transportation) and this is a sum you will pay to the Study Abroad Office directly. However, costs such as airfare, meals, and personal expenses are generally the responsibility of the participants. Each program page on our website has a Student Cost Summary available - this is a comprehensive breakdown showing exactly what you can expect to pay for the program.
All students going abroad on a University of Calgary program remain eligible for student loans and scholarships. In addition, you can apply for UCalgary funding opportunities specific to study abroad, such as the International Study Travel Grant, the Undergraduate International Research Grant, awards offered by your faculty or department, or external funding. Check out our funding page for more info!
Group Study Programs
All GSP courses are led by UCalgary professors and calendared in the UCalgary course system. For these courses, you will earn direct UCalgary credit (not transfer credit).
For courses taken on exchange, you will earn transfer credit. How exactly the courses will transfer back to your degree will vary, and may not be fully determined until after you return from exchange and provide course outlines to your academic advisor. Any courses that do not transfer to a UCalgary equivalent will earn you a general transfer credit.
Some research programs are not credit-bearing, while others may offer academic credit. If you will receive a transcript from your host institution for your research, it is your responsibility to discuss with your academic advisor about whether credit can be awarded, as it is not always guaranteed.
Most internship programs are not credit-bearing. The exception to this is The Washington Center internship program.
You can study in English in many non-English speaking countries. Many programs also offer a variety of language learning options at a basic or intermediate level, and some require knowledge of the local language. The language of instruction is shown on each program page; check this to ensure that courses you are interested in taking are instructed in the language you prefer. Some of our exchange partner universities also offer intensive language training before or during the semester to improve your language skills. By planning ahead, you could start language training at UCalgary or through a Group Study Program, and enhance it through immersion experiences at a host university later on in your degree!
The biggest point to remember is that you're not alone in your journey and, in most cases, aren't the first individual who has studied abroad with a similar situation and been able to have an incredible, transformative experience. We're here to help you ensure that you're set up for success abroad.
Do I need to disclose physical/mental health or accessibility needs in my application?
In order to protect your right to confidentiality in the selection process, Study Abroad applications do not require disclosure of any medical or accessibility needs. Once selected for your program and at the stage of registering (confirming your participation), you will be asked to submit a form with information on your physical/mental health needs. However, what or how much you choose to disclose is always up to you.
How can my health or accessibility needs be supported abroad?
Some programs and locations may have reduced (or greater) accessibility & supports than what is available at UCalgary; our advisors can work with you to find the best program to fit your needs. While you are never expected to disclose personal information, we encourage an open line of communication if you are willing to do so, as this helps us to best support you.
Historically we have worked with students who suffer from mental health issues like depression and anxiety, to physical health issues like those recovering from an injury or requiring mobility aides. We also support students who need exam or academic accommodations, and those with chronic illnesses or auto-immune diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, chronic pain conditions, diabetes, asthma, celiac disease, food allergies, etc.
Do I need any vaccines, medications, etc. to travel?
Before traveling abroad, you may need specific immunizations depending on your travel destinations, the length of your stay, and whether or not your routine immunizations are up-to-date. Since it can take several weeks for an immunization to protect you against a disease, you should consult a travel health clinic or your family physician 2-3 months before your program departure. You can see some tips and recommendations for various countries on the travel advice and advisories here.
Do I have to disclose my gender when applying?
When you first start your Study Abroad program application, you will be required to declare your sex as M, F, or X (as per Canadian passport standards). There is also space where you may indicate your preferred name and/or pronouns, although this is optional in order to protect your right to confidentiality in the selection process. You're welcome to fill this out in the application, or simply bring it up in discussion with a Study Abroad advisor; our office is a safe space and we want you to feel comfortable using whatever language you prefer.
How can my LGBTQ+/GSD identity be supported abroad?
At your own discretion, we welcome you to speak with one of our advisors about any concerns you may have, such as accessing hormone therapy abroad, which programs/places might offer more support for LGBTQ+/GSD individuals, or safely studying abroad in regions that may not be as tolerant of gender and sexual diversity. Our goal is to make sure all students can have an amazing and transformative experience abroad; from both a cultural and medical perspective, our advisors want to help you find a program that you are comfortable and excited to participate in.
Where possible, the "Additional Information" section on each program page has also been updated with relevant details. For instance, many of our exchange program pages have information about supports or UCalgary Q Centre equivalents available at these host universities.
Money diversification is important. Having a variety of available funds is important if a payment option doesn't work, is lost, or stolen. The more ways you have of carrying and disbursing your money, the more prepared and safer you'll be! While travelling, it's recommended to distribute your funds throughout your person rather than all in one wallet. A small amount of local currency is also useful to have on-hand for when you first arrive.
We strongly advise that you do not rely exclusively on either bank machine cards or credit cards. Credit cards are not always honoured internationally, fraud is prevalent, and some countries prefer to work exclusively with cash. Check with your bank for the availability of ATM services in other countries and whether you require a new personal identification number (PIN) for overseas access to your account. In the event of possible theft, it's also a good idea to protect yourself by carrying (and by leaving with someone you trust at home) copies of your important documents, such as credit card numbers and expiry dates, as well as making note of phone numbers to report a stolen card.
A passport is required in order to travel on an international study program. Current guidelines from the Canadian government state that your passport must be valid at least 6 months past the date of your return to Canada. Your passport details will be collected by your Study Abroad advisor well in advance of your departure, so you should be sure to apply for or renew your passport early - even at the time of applying to study abroad, if possible! Your passport may also be required in order to apply for student visas/permits, which will take additional time (anywhere from 3 days to 3 months, depending on the country).
If you are a dual citizen with multiple passports
When it comes to student visas and foreign immigration processes, there may be advantages to travelling on one type of passport over another. However, Canadian dual citizens are now required to return to Canada on their Canadian passport. Please speak with a Study Abroad advisor early on in the program application process to discuss.
If you are an international student without a Canadian passport
There may be restrictions on which countries you are legally permitted to study abroad in. Please speak with a Study Abroad advisor early on in the program application process to discuss.
If you want to bring a friend or partner with you on your studies abroad, there are options for you both within our Exchange programs and Group Study programs! Some example situations are outlined below. In any case, we recommend speaking with a Study Abroad advisor early in the application process, both to discuss the specifics of your situation as well as to confirm that there is enough space to accommodate multiple participants on your program of choice.
If you and your friend/partner are both UCalgary students
In your application, please make note of both of your names and that you are intending to go abroad together (you can include this in the "course list" section of the application, as there is no word limit in this section). For exchanges, this will not impact your application to your top schools, but it helps your advisor know to check in with you when it comes time for any competitive selection. For Group Study programs, student applications are evaluated individually by the professor, and there is always a risk that one of you will be approved for a program and the other not approved; if this happens, you will be contacted to discuss whether you are still interested in "going solo" or if you prefer to apply together to a different program.
If your friend/partner is a student at a different university
This is no problem for Group Study programs; your friend/partner will simply have to apply to become a visiting student at UCalgary in order to register for the program. However, exchange programs can only take UCalgary degree-seeking students, so please meet with one of our advisors - for example, if the university you wish to apply for exchange to also has an exchange partnership with your friend/partner's university, they may be able to apply for exchange through their own university while you apply through UCalgary.
If your friend/partner is going with you but not as a student
The structure of Group Study programs means that they cannot accommodate extra persons "tagging along" with the program. There is more possibility with exchange programs - as you arrange your own housing/travel independently, you may be able to coordinate living with your friend/partner, such that they can be living or working in your host city while you are attending school. Additionally, if your partner is a Canadian under the age of 30/35, they may also be eligible to apply for a Working Holiday through International Experience Canada in select countries. If you are seeking specific resources, such as a host university that offers daycare, please speak with an exchange advisor.