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Queen's University
 
  • FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the difference between study abroad and exchange?

Is it possible to study abroad if I am not in my third year?

Is it possible for science students to study abroad?

Is it possible for Con-Ed students to study abroad?

Are there scholarships, bursaries, or other forms of financial assistance available?

If I go on exchange, will I be able to retain my current scholarships and bursaries?

Should I still apply for exchange if I don’t have the minimum GPA of 2.6 that is required?

Do my marks count while I am on exchange, since it is pass or fail?

If I want to go to a country that speaks a foreign language, do I need to know how to speak the native language before going?

Will I have to do an extra year at Queen’s if I go on exchange?

Will going on exchange weaken my chances of getting into grad school?

If I go to the Castle, can I go on exchange as well?

If I get accepted to go on exchange, does that mean I also got accepted by the host university?

Am I allowed to work when I am abroad?

My application for an international exchange program was declined. What are my other options?


What is the difference between study abroad and exchange?

International exchange enables students to study at partner institutions with which we have a formal agreement while paying standard tuition to Queen's. Currently, we have 80 exchange destinations in 22 countries. Independent study abroad allows students the opportunity to study at international universities with which Queen's does not have a formal exchange agreement. The major difference is that a student who takes the independent study abroad route applies as a visiting student to the university and pays international student fees to the host university. 

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Is it possible to study abroad if I am not in my third year?

It depends. Students who go on exchange usually do so in their third year, in part because the competitive selection process limits the number of exchange placements available. The degree requirements in many subjects of concentration are such that students pursuing a major concentration have maximum flexibility for study abroad in their third year of study.

However, subject to program requirements, students may in principle study abroad outside of their third year of study on an International Letter of Permission (ILOP).

  • Students in first year may apply for an ILOP if the average of their mid-year grades is at least 60 per cent and if they have passed a majority of courses. A conditional ILOP would be issued pending receipt of final grades.
  • Normally the last two years of the honours degree are taken in the Faculty of Arts and Science at Queen's. Students in good academic standing may spend the third or fourth year of an honours program at another university with the written permission of the department(s) of concentration and the Associate Dean (Studies).
  • Students who are granted an ILOP to complete the final course(s) of their program at another university during the Fall-Winter Session must provide an official transcript by May 15; otherwise their graduation may be postponed until the next Fall Convocation.
  • For students completing the final course(s) of their program in the Spring-Summer Session, an official transcript must be submitted by October 15; otherwise graduation may be postponed until the next Spring Convocation.

Any student enrolled in a degree program at Queen's, and who is in good academic standing, may apply for admission to the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) at Herstmonceux Castle. Because the BISC is open to students in all years of study, as well as university graduates, students are only limited in the timing of their attendance at the BISC by the course requirements in their subject(s) of concentration. Students should consult with their respective department or the International Programs Office for further details.

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Is it possible for science students to study abroad?

Yes, science students, like any other discipline in Arts and Science, are also able to participate in exchange programs. Students must research the partner institution as well as speak with their respective Undergraduate Chair before applying for an exchange to ensure that courses will transfer properly and prerequisites will be met while studying abroad.

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Is it possible for Con-Ed students to study abroad?

Yes, as with any other discipline at Queen’s, students in Concurrent Education must first consult with the Faculty of Education Practicum Office to decide on the appropriate steps to take in order to study abroad. Most students from this faculty usually defer their practicum until their fourth year, opting to take courses that will contribute to their teachables while abroad.

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Are there scholarships, bursaries, or other forms of financial assistance available?

Some financial support is available to assist in making Queen's study abroad programs more accessible. A number of scholarships and bursaries are available specifically for students participating in formal exchange programs. There is also substantial financial assistance available for students attending the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) at Herstmonceux Castle. Interested students should check with the Student Awards office for more detailed information.

Queen's awards are generally not available for programs which require the payment of fees to an institution outside of Queen's. However, there are other granting agencies that offer financial support for study abroad, and millions of dollars go unclaimed by students every year. Students may have to do some independent research to identify potential granting agencies and their terms, but resources at Queen's are available to assist with this search. Students are encouraged to check with the Queen's University International Centre (QUIC) for recent awards postings, or try the online service provided by www.studentawards.com. OSAP loans may be transferable for some direct enrollment options; the International Centre can provide further information.

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If I go on exchange, will I be able to retain my current scholarships and bursaries?

Yes, when you return to Queen’s, scholarships and bursaries may be retained and renewed, provided the conditions of the award have been met while studying on exchange.

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Should I still apply for exchange if I don’t have the minimum GPA of 2.6 that is required?

Yes you should still try to apply. Although it is important, it is not the only factor that we will consider. The application process for exchange requires four separate components: your GPA, an essay, an academic reference and a resume. Each factor pulls a weight in selecting potential candidates for exchange. See how we evaluate the applications.

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Do my marks count while I am on exchange, since it is pass or fail?

Yes they do. Although you are only required to achieve an equivalent of 60% in each course while studying abroad to receive the course credit at Queen's, your grades are still important. The marks from the partner institution are assessed for prerequisites and scholarships, in addition to whether or not the credit will be awarded. Also, when applying to postgraduate programs, institutions may require that you send transcripts from Queen’s AND the partner institution.

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If I want to go to a country that speaks a foreign language, do I need to know how to speak the native language before going?

It depends. Some universities do require a basic knowledge of the language, but in the majority of our partner universities, most courses offered in our exchange programs are instructed in English. Therefore, while being able to speak the native language of the country is a benefit and will greatly enhance the experience of living abroad, it is not a requirement. Once abroad, however, students frequently do take language-acquisition classes, facilitating their integration into the unfamiliar environment and culture while earning credits to count towards their degree.

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Will I have to do an extra year at Queen’s if I go on exchange?

Not normally. Some students may personally decide to take an extra year after returning to Queen’s to improve grades instead of completing the degree. With appropriate planning and course selections, however, most students are able to earn their degrees within the regular four-year time frame and graduate with their peers, provided that they have successfully completed all of their courses while studying both at Queen’s and abroad.

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Will going on exchange weaken my chances of getting into grad school?

The requirements of each postgraduate program vary considerably, each demanding an in-depth application process. Many programs value mature students who exemplify the ability to thrive in a new learning environment and/or have international experience. Studying abroad offers a competitive edge to the student’s application while showcasing their independence and pursuit of an enriched education.

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If I go to the Castle, can I go on exchange as well?

Yes, you can! The Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceux offers an enriching and unique educational experience for students. Although the BISC and exchange opportunities both provide an international education, the experiences gained from each opportunity vary greatly. If both the BISC and exchange appeal to students, then they are encouraged to pursue both programs, truly taking advantage of the varied international programs Queen’s has to offer.

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If I get accepted to go on exchange, does that mean I also got accepted by the host university?

No. After you get accepted to go on exchange with Queen’s, you still have to apply to the host university directly. The application process differs at each university, and you should check their website for information about how to submit your applications and other requirements.

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Am I allowed to work when I am abroad?

Maybe. Working while abroad is one of the many ways students are able to immerse themselves in a foreign culture. Unless stated otherwise on the student visa, students are able to work abroad (usually for a specified number of hours per week) while registered in a full course load at the partner institution.

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My application for an international exchange program was declined. What are my other options?

Unfortunately, we don't always have enough places with our exchange partners to meet student demand. However, there are many international opportunities other than the exchange programs offered through the IPO in which you can participate. You may wish to consider an independent study abroad experience, which enables you to study almost anywhere in the world. Also, the QUIC website has a variety of resources that you can look into when searching for other options.

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