Outgoing Exchange

It's Your VIU Degree, With Jet Fuel.

Exchange is your opportunity to have an adventure, earn valuable transfer credit towards your degree, connect with the global campus community and gain a whole new perspective on your education and career.  

Study in English at one of our partner universities around the world for 1 or 2 semesters and enjoy support from VIU to make it happen. Funding opportunities may be available. 

Next Deadline to Apply: September 25, 2023.

To be considered for an exchange program you must:

  • Be a full-time VIU undergraduate student, enrolled in 3-5 courses per semester
  • Have completed 30 credit hours (credits) before the application deadline*
  • Achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a scale of 4.33) in the past two full-time semesters (B average)
  • Be planning to transfer credits back to complete a VIU degree or diploma.

*Recent transfer students to VIU with at least 30 credits maybe eligible, if:

  1. They are enrolled at VIU full time when applying to the Exchange program
  2. Their proposed Exchange does not interfere with the VIU residency requirement

The eligibility requirements are firm, however under particular circumstances, exceptions to the above may be considered. Contact Education Abroad for more information.

We welcome inquiries and submissions for the semester exchange program all year, and review applications once per semester. 

Application Deadlines

Two intakes per year: September 25 and January 25 

Students can apply up to two semesters in advance:

Apply in Fall for the following Spring or Fall Semester

  • Apply in Spring for the following Fall or Spring semester

*Some partners have specific application timelines (e.g. UMAP)

Step 1: research Exchange partner schools, semester dates and course offerings before you initiate your application to the VIU Exchange program.

Step 2: Complete the Application Readiness Quiz!

Step 3: Log into the VIU Experience Hub

VIU Education Abroad is streamlining our application and pre-departure process by integrating with VIU’s Experience Hub platform.

  • Students may log-in to the VIU Experience Hub using their VIU Single Sign-on.
  • Navigate to the Experiential Learning Module in the left-hand menu.

Experience Hub 1

  • View available Courses/Programs

Experience Hub 2

  • Select EAEX – Education Abroad Exchange from the list of available Programs/Courses

Experience Hub 3

Experience Hub 4

  • From the EAEX – Education Abroad – Exchange dashboard, you may  proceed with the following application workflow steps (please note: you must complete all of these steps by the application deadline, September 25 or January 25. You can begin an application and return later to resume your progress.):
    • Eligibility Self-Screening Checklist
    • Accept the Exchange Program Terms and Conditions
    • Attend an appointment with the Education Abroad team
    • Attend an appointment with your degree advisor/program chair to discuss your plans for an Exchange semester abroad
    • Complete the Exchange Program Application Form (here you will rank your preferred partner schools)
    • Submit contact information for VIU Faculty reference checks

Experience Hub 5

  • After the application deadline (September 25 or January 25), Education Abroad will review all applications received through Experience Hub and assign students accepted onto the Exchange Program to an international partner school. Upon receiving your letter of acceptance, you may proceed with the workflow to complete mandatory pre-departure steps. 

Selection Process

Students will be selected based on a combination of the following criteria: application quality, references, preparedness, experience and linkage to identified goals. Successful applicants must participate in pre-departure orientation sessions and complete a series of checklist items prior to going abroad.

Missed the Deadline? 

1) Submit your completed application ASAP and you may be added to a waitlist.

In the case that a student withdraws from the Exchange program and a space becomes available (and timing allows, etc.), your application may still be considered. 

2) Apply for the next deadline. We have two deadlines per year, January 25th & September 25th.

Applicants should be advised that, while you can apply up to 2 semester in advance, early applications will:

  • Secure a spot at your preferred school, rather than reducing your options to leftover spaces.
  • Allow plenty of time to prepare for your Exchange (it can take a minimum of 3 months, and up to one academic year to plan for Exchange).

Where can I go?

Explore our list of VIU Exchange Partners.  

Exchange Partner 2023-2024

What if I want to study somewhere else? - "Visiting Students"

Sometimes students want to study at an overseas university that VIU does not have an exchange agreement with. In this case, students may be able to study abroad as a "Visiting Student" and pay tuition at the overseas institution, rather than to VIU (international fees apply). Note: Studying as a visiting student will affect your eligibility for student loans.


Exchange participants are subject to the Exchange Program Fee, which is equivalent to VIU Tuition Fees for 5 courses plus student/activity fees for each semester abroad.

Students are responsible for all other costs of the exchange, which may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Passport & visa related expenses
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Basic medial insurance (BC MSP or equivalent)
  • Return international transportation and related insurance
  • Local transportation
  • Accommodation
  • Cell phone
  • Books and supplies
  • Food
  • Entertainment


See a full list of funding opportunities.

Exchange Award 

10 lottery selected students participating on a VIU exchange program for one or two semesters will receive the Exchange Award of $1000 upon completion of their pre-departure checklist.  The Exchange Award is subject to funding.

Global Citizens Network Stipend

The International Education Department at VIU encourages education abroad by providing eligible VIU Students with a Global Citizens Network Stipend of $500. Conditions apply.

StudentAid BC (Student Loans)

Students on StudentAid BC funding may be able to continue their funding to include education abroad. Please contact the Financial Aid office for more information.

Eligibility Exceptions Apply

Not all institutions are designated to for StudentAID BC funding.  If your host university does not hold a current designation, you will not qualify for student loans for your exchange period. 

Important: If you intend to access StudentAid BC funding (Student Loans) for your exchange, use the search tool on the StudentAID BC website and check that your preferred host institution(s) are designated

Credits earned while studying abroad in the VIU Exchange Program may be used towards your VIU degree requirements. 

Students may wish to discuss their degree plans and interest in the Exchange Program with their degree advisor / program chair before applying to study abroad on Exchange.

Please be advised that VIU has an Undergraduate Degree Residency Requirement:

  • At least fifty percent of all credits used towards a VIU undergraduate degree must be completed with VIU courses
  • At least fifty percent of all upper-level courses used towards an undergraduate degree must be completed with VIU courses
  • At least fifty percent of all upper-level courses used towards each major, minor or concentration of an undergraduate degree must be completed with VIU courses

Vancouver Island University cannot guarantee this credit will be accepted at another institution. The credits may transfer back as “unassigned” or “assigned/direct equivalent” credit:

Unassigned example: History Unassigned 3rd Year  3.00 
Assigned/Direct equivalent example: MARK 260 Buyer Behaviour  3.00

Prior to departure, accepted Exchange students are responsible for researching their courses and planning their studies and transfer credit with their Program degree advisor / program chair. A Letter of Permission (LOP) will be developed between the student and degree advisor / program chair. The LOP outlines how the planned courses will transfer back to VIU. Planned courses may change and it is the student's responsibility to contact their degree advisor / program chair to update their plan and agreement while abroad.

Students are advised to save their course outlines in the event more information is needed in the transfer credit assessment upon return to VIU.

VIU’s Exchange Transfer Credit Guide

Please be advised, this tool does not offer a guarantee of transfer credit. All situations are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and decisions are finalized by the Registrar’s office in partnership with degree Advisors/Chairs.

VIU's Exchange Transfer Credit Guide

Life happens!    

If you need to make changes to your Exchange plans, you may request to defer, withdraw or cancel, prior to departure to your host destination abroad. We have also detailed the process for those circumstances that may come up once you are abroad.

We advise that students have a backup plan.  Speak to your VIU Degree Advisor and/or Program Chair and our office as part of your decision process.   

Deferrals, Withdrawals and Cancellations - Prior to Departure


Definition: to delay your study abroad term by one semester without having to reapply to the Exchange Program.
How to defer: Please send us a request by email to EdAbroad@viu.ca to make this request official.  Include the exact semester and dates you wish to defer to, destination preferences and any updates to your personal/educational circumstances since your original application and acceptance to the Exchange Program (ie. program of study, academic standing, motivation, concerns, etc).   

Please provide an updated unofficial transcript from your VIU student record for the Education Abroad office to confirm your eligibility and clarify if anything else has changed since your original application.   


  • We can accommodate requests to defer for up to 1 semester, provided you continue to meet the eligibility requirements of the VIU Exchange Program.  For example, if you have been accepted to study on exchange in Spring 2023, you may request to defer to up to Fall 2023 without having to reapply to the Exchange program.   
  • If you wish to defer by 2 or more semesters, we ask you to update your application and re-apply in the next application cycle that suits your plans.  We have 2 application deadlines per year (generally September 25 and January 25) and you can apply for up to 2 semesters in advance. 
  • Deferrals are not guaranteed and will be based on space availability at the host partner for the term requested. 
  • Students can only request a deferral once.  Students will need to reapply to the Exchange program if they cannot participate in the Exchange in the initial deferred term. 
  • Please note that the VIU Education Abroad office reserves the right to deny this request based on space availability with the host partners.  
  • Should your deferral request be accepted, the acceptance applies to the VIU Exchange Program specifically and does not guarantee placement at your previous and/or first choice host university as there may no longer be available spaces in a future semester.     


Definition: to withdraw your application or acceptance from the Exchange Program.   

Withdrawals may occur before the “fee lock date,” where tuition is no longer refundable and prior to travel taking place or the start of the semester/classes at the host university. 

How to withdraw: Please send us a request by email to edabroad@viu.ca in order to make this request official, with as many details as possible.   

Next steps if approved:  

1.       If registered in EXCH 015, the Education Abroad office will withdraw you from the EXCH 015 holding course and associated fees & credits. 

2.      Meet with your advisor and implement your backup plan (i.e. course registration at VIU). 

3. Update VIU financial aid, BC Student Loans and any scholarships you have been awarded or have applied to. 


Definition: to cancel your Exchange after the “fee lock date” at VIU and/or after departure and the study abroad experience commences at the host university. 

How to cancel: If you determine it is necessary to cancel your plans to participate in the Exchange program prior to your planned departure: 

  1. Please send us your cancellation notice by email to EdAbroad@viu.ca.  Include any information regarding the cancellation that you wish to disclose.  You will remain enrolled in the Exchange program until the cancellation email has been received. 
  2.  VIU/ Ed Abroad will send the official cancellation notice to the Study Abroad office at the Host University. 
  3. The student is responsible for the following:  officially withdraw from these courses/programs as applicable as the Education Abroad office will not have the information to do this on behalf of VIU students, withdraw from orientation programming, housing etc. 

Important Considerations for Deferrals and Cancellations in the VIU Exchange Program: 

Please consider the following and take action as needed prior to submitting a request: 

  • If you have questions about implications for your exchange experience, please do not hesitate to contact our office at EdAbroad@viu.ca to discuss in the early stages. 
  • Be aware of withdrawal deadlines for VIU tuition refunds
  • Be aware of your host institution’s cancellation deadlines (would any fees be charged by your host institution?) 
  • Have you paid any deposits such as housing that may not be refundable? 
  • Your travel medical, cancellation & interruption insurance policy(ies).  If these have been paid for, are you eligible for refund, or can you use this policy to apply for any reimbursement of non-refundable travel arrangements you may have made? 
  • Have you made any independent travel arrangements?  Note that you are advised against making any non-refundable travel or other arrangements. Any such incurred expenses will be solely your personal responsibility and will not be reimbursed by VIU. 
  • Have you received a scholarship, award or updated your Student Aid BC information if you have applied for student loans?  You will be required to update any funders in writing of changes to your plans and accept the terms of those conditions. 

Withdrawals & Cancellations - Once Abroad

In the case that you have departed for your exchange, and are abroad and encounter circumstances where you need to change your plans and withdraw from the exchange program while it is underway, please consider the following potential implications that may apply:

Transfer credit

Only those courses that have been completed and are documented on the final transcript sent by the host university will be assessed for transfer credit. 


Students are expected to meet the attendance requirements of the host university, including exam periods. 


Refer to the standard tuition refund policies of Vancouver Island University:


  • Tuition deposits are non-refundable and non-transferrable.
  • Refunds are calculated from the date on which the official withdrawal is received in the Registration Centre (Education Abroad Office).
  • Unpaid fines and other amounts owing will be deducted from the refund.
  • Students required to withdraw due to violation of the Student Conduct Policy are not entitled to any refund.
  • Tuition fees are locked and no refunds issued after the second week of classes.

1. International Students

International Student Refund Policy: Refund Policies for International Students at VIU

2. Domestic Students

Domestic Student Refund Policy: Refund Policies for International Students at VIU

What is an exchange?

If you participate in an exchange, you switch places with a student at another university (host university) while earning VIU credit. VIU has over 30 Exchange Partners.

When is the best time to go on exchange?

Most undergraduate students go on exchange the year before their final year. Talk to your advisor about going on exchange to determine when would be best for you, with regard to your program requirements.

When do I apply for an exchange?

There are two deadlines per year (October 6 & February 6) and you may apply to go abroad on exchange up to 2 semesters in advance.

How do I choose a host university?

Consider things such as academic programs, culture, climate, costs of living, and language when selecting a host university. Check out the university websites and social media tools, talk to professors, friends who have visited the area, and your academic advisor.  Review a few schools that you are interested in, and then narrow your choices down to three.

Will going on exchange defer my graduation?

If planned carefully and in consultation with an academic advisor, most exchanges do not defer graduation. However, if you choose to go on exchange in the final semester of your program, delayed receipt of your transcript from the Host University and subsequent delays in the processing of transfer credits could delay graduation.

How do I get credit for the courses I take while on exchange?

To ensure you get the credits earned at the host school transferred back to VIU, speak to your advisor. Accepted students must complete a Letter of Permission with their academic advisor or program chair, which will outline the planned courses abroad and the corresponding approved transfer credit at VIU. 

I have had a change in my plans and need to cancel my plans to go on exchange.  How can I cancel my exchange?

Any requests to withdraw must be made in writing to the VIU Education Abroad office.  We will work with you to cancel your nomination to the host university and remove you from the Exchange Course at VIU.  It is recommended that you speak to your advisor about a change in plans to ensure you are still on track with degree requirements.

How much does it cost to go exchange? Is financial support available?

When going on exchange you can expect to incur additional costs such as airline tickets, accommodations and other living expenses – but don’t let this stop you from gaining an international experience! Funding may be available!

How many courses can I take on exchange?

You are required to take the equivalent of a full-time course load at your host university.  Tuition fee payments to VIU are based on five courses.

Do the grades from my exchange studies count towards my GPA at VIU?

No, the grades you receive at your host university do not count towards your VIU GPA but you will receive an official transcript from the host university showing the grades you received.  You may be asked for the transcript with GPA in future if you apply to graduate school.

Where can I get information about travel health?

See Education Abroad Pre-Departure, including information about travel health and insurance.

Education Abroad Office

Faculty of International Education
Building 255 
Email: EducationAbroad@viu.ca
Phone: 250.753.3245 Ext. 2494

Exchange Student on Dock

The benefits of studying abroad on exchange

  • Courses count towards your degree
  • Tuition costs are the same as a semester at VIU
  • Discover new languages, opportunities and cultures
  • Stand apart in your future career with unique skills and experience on your resume
  • Build an international network of friends, colleagues and references
  • Non-competitive application process
  • Join a leadership team of VIU Exchange Agents when you return to Canada