Study abroad and COVID-19:
Considerations for 2021/2022 Exchanges
The ongoing global pandemic continues to create uncertainty for universities worldwide and for the feasibility of international travel. As you decide to apply for Spring 2022 in-person exchange term (May 2021 deadline), you are advised to:
- Be aware that there may be a higher degree of uncertainty regarding access to courses and to accommodation at your host institution.
- Not purchase any flights or make non-refundable arrangements for your proposed exchange due to the possibility of further in-person exchange cancellations.
- Carefully review the COVID-19 and Study Abroad webpage for additional information and considerations.
Returning applicants must submit a new application with all new application documents (with the exception of the reference, for more information see the reference section below).
1. All applicants are required to have ONE academic referee who is teaching you or has taught you in the past. This must be from an SFU professor/instructor who has taught you at SFU.
Applying for exchange to Waseda University, Japan as one of your top preferences? Download the Waseda Letter of Recommendation, to be completed and uploaded by your SFU reference as an attachment along with your reference in the Study Abroad System.
2. Applying for exchange to Grenoble Ecole de Management, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, or Kansai Gaidai University? If you are selecting any of these host institutions, you must have two academic referees who are teaching you or have taught you in the past. This is because two references are required as part of the host institution application. Your references from your exchange application to ISS are reused for your host institution application. Your two references can be either:
- Two SFU professors/instructors (highly recommended)
OR if you have transferred to SFU from another institution:
- One SFU professor/instructor and
- One professor from another university or college
Note: Teaching assistants, high school and work references are NOT eligible to act as your reference.
Received references for another application?
- If you received a reference for an application in the last year, you may be able to re-use that reference towards your new application. Once you have started a new application complete this reference duplication request form prior to the application deadline. Please leave the "Reference" section in your application blank, unless you are also requesting a new reference. References are moved to your new application manually, so please allow time for this to be processed.
- Are you completing two or more exchange applications for the same application deadline (eg. Applying for a Fall term to Sweden and a Spring term to Japan)? If yes, you may be able to reuse your academic reference(s), if they meet the criteria above. Please email email@example.com for more information.
How to obtain your references(s)
1. Choose your reference(s). We recommend selecting a class you have done fairly well in. Also consider how well the professor knows you, for example; Did you speak in class? Was it a large lecture, or small class size? Did you attend their office hours? How long ago was the class? How many classes have you had with them? Were they an advocate of study abroad or international research?
Your referee will be asked:
- How long they have known you and in what capacity
- The relevance of the exchange to your career
- Areas of weakness
- Adaptability to new cultures
- An overall rating (potential, motivation, adaptability) of your suitability for exchange
2. Contact your referee to request permission to send them an online reference request form for exchange. This should be requested as soon as possible to meet the application deadline (when the application is open). We recommend that your referee does NOT specify the destination you are applying for in the event that you are nominated for a different destination. If nominated for exchange the reference will be sent to your host institution.
When asking your referee to complete the online form, we suggest providing them with the following documents:
- Current transcript
- Brief statement about why you want to go on exchange
For reference: How to ask for a reference letter
3. Once the referee agrees to be your academic reference, you can send them the online form through your application.
4. Your referee will receive the online form via email. You will receive an email once they have submitted their reference form, and your online Study Abroad System will indicate their reference is complete. Their reference needs to be completed by the exchange application deadline.
Select your destination(s)
In your exchange application you may list up to 5 institutions. However, you may select fewer if you prefer to be considered for fewer institutions.
For each institution you are listing as your preference(s) please be sure to:
- check the specific eligibility requirements, which are located on each host institution's webpage
- check the Exchange Terms Available document to see if terms are available at the host institutions you want to select (this document will be available in November for the January 25th application deadline, or in April for the May 31st application deadline)
- list them in order of preference (you will only be selected for one institution, per application)
If you are applying for two separate institutions for two exchange terms, please complete and submit two separate applications. We can duplicate your reference(s), please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request this.
SFU Advising Transcript
Upload your most recent SFU Advising transcript (it is called "Transcript: Advising"). Select it to be sorted by "Both", ie. it will show your academic record by term and subject. Steps on how to download an SFU advising transcript are here. Co-op, official, and unofficial transcripts are not accepted.
January deadline applicants: Upload SFU transcript after Fall grades have been posted.
May deadline applicants: Upload SFU transcript after Spring grades have been posted.
Other Transcripts (Optional - Strongly Recommended)
Do you have transfer credit from other post-secondary institutions (not including IB or AP credits from high school or test credits)?
If yes, we strongly recommend that you upload a copy of an unofficial transcript for each institution from which you have received transfer credit at SFU, to show your full academic history, especially if you have completed few terms or units at SFU.
Note: If you are nominated for exchange, you will be asked for an official transcript for each institution. We suggest that you request these now as they can take some time to be processed.
Zip files are not accepted.
Advisor Discussion Worksheet (ACADEMIC)
Undergraduates: Complete this with your academic advisor for the academic program most relevant to your exchange. It is recommended that you complete additional copies of this form for each of your declared or intended programs (major(s), minor(s), etc.). Provide your advisor(s) with this form via email in advance of your discussion(s). As many SFU staff members are working remotely, please discuss with your academic advisor how they would prefer to complete the form with you (e.g. email, phone, or video call).
Note, this document must be downloaded and saved prior to starting, in order to save the content you type into the fillable fields. If your academic advisor is not able to complete the e-signature you may upload an email confirmation from the advisor noting they completed the Advisor Discussion Worksheet with you, along with your completed Advisor Discussion Worksheet.
Download the Advisor Discussion Worksheet (Undergraduate) .
Graduates: Connect with your Graduate Supervisor (or Faculty Advisor) and Graduate Program Chair to complete this form.
Download the Advisor Discussion Worksheet (Graduate) .
A Study Abroad Officer at ISS cannot complete this form for you. Zip files are not accepted.
Proposed Study Plan
Your Proposed Study Plan will likely take the most time to research and complete, so we recommend starting this early.
In your exchange application you will be able to select up to 5 institutions. Complete a Proposed Study Plan for each institution you would like to be considered for, by researching available classes on their website. If you are applying for a two-term exchange, complete a Proposed Study Plan for each term.
If you are applying for a full-time exchange, complete a minimum of six classes for each of your preferred host institutions.
If you are applying for a short-term summer program, complete a minimum of two classes for each of your preferred host institutions.
- That are available for exchange students (review restricted subjects/classes)
- That are taught in-person or online, depending on if you are applying for exchange or virtual exchange
- That are normally offered in the term you plan to go on exchange
- Which you anticipate meeting pre-requisite requirements
Tip: Check out the Exchange Credit History in the host institution profile.
- Full-time Exchange and Virtual Exchange Proposed Study Plan
- Short-Term Summer Program and Part-Time Virtual Exchange Study Plan
Zip files are not accepted.
On the online application, you will grant permission to SFU to order your official SFU transcript.
Statement of Interest
Statement of Interest
In your application, you will be asked to respond to the following questions. Your answers will be typed directly into the Study Abroad System, no additional document is needed.
1: Why have you decided to apply for the exchange program?
Include how this experience would benefit your degree and support your future academic, career and/or personal goals. (Up to 200 words)
2: Why have you selected your first preference institution?
(Up to 100 words)
3: Why have you selected your second preference institution?
If you do not have a second preference institution, write "n/a". (Up to 100 words)
4: Why have you selected your third preference institution?
If you do not have a third preference institution, write "n/a". (Up to 100 words)
5: Why have you selected your fourth preference institution?
If you do not have a fourth preference institution, write "n/a". (Up to 100 words)
6: Why have you selected your fifth preference institution?
If you do not have a fifth preference institution, write "n/a". (Up to 100 words)
7: How do you prepare for, and adapt to, new and challenging situations?
If you have had experiences that you think are relevant to your participation in the exchange program (either internationally or locally) or virtual exchange program (an online context) include these as examples. (Up to 200 words total).
If there are extenuating circumstances you would like to share with the selection committee, please include them under "Additional Documents".
Upload a colour passport-style photo of just yourself. Please do not upload a scan of the photo in your passport. Selfies are accepted as long as they meet the criteria listed (see image below).
Supported file formats: .jpeg, .gif, .png, or similar photo file (please do not submit a .pdf, .doc file, or zip file)
Passport Identification Page
Upload the photo identification page of your current passport. For your exchange term, your passport may need to be valid up to 6 months past your expected date of return to Canada.
It is your responsibility to ensure that your passport is valid for the appropriate duration.
Passport about to expire or already expired? Upload a copy of the receipt you received when you applied for your renewal, or upload your expired/expiring passport and a document stating your name, student number, and details on when you will be applying for your renewal.
Don’t have a passport? Upload a copy of the receipt you received when you applied for your passport, or upload a document stating your name, student number, and details on when you will be applying for your passport.
As virtual exchanges do not involve travel, students who are ONLY applying for virtual exchange are not required to submit passport information. Instead upload a blank pdf or word document.
If you are applying for a combination of virtual exchange and in-person exchange you must submit a scan of your passport.
This section is not used to assess language proficiency for the host institution.
If you have a background in the languages of any of the host countries to which you are applying -- even if you plan on taking courses in English -- there is space in the application to comment on this. Include how you learned the language (eg. spoke it growing up, learned formally in a classroom, etc.), and your approximate level of fluency.
If you do not have a background in the languages of any of the host countries to which you are applying, leave blank. Language background is not expected for most destinations.
NOTE: For Successful Applicants
Some institutions may request a language assessment or exam to assess your language proficiency before or after acceptance into the program. If you intend on taking courses that are taught in a language other than English, you may be required to provide proof of your language proficiency, please check the program page for requirements. More information will be provided upon nomination.
You may use the Language Proficiency Form if your host institution doesn't require another specific form. This can be completed by a language instructor, or SFU faculty/staff member who speaks the appropriate language as a first language. Not sure who to contact? You may connect with the SFU Department of World Languages and Literatures to meet with an instructor of one of the languages they offer. As many SFU staff and faculty members are working remotely, please discuss with them how they would prefer to complete the form with you (e.g. email, phone, or video call).
Note, this document must be downloaded and saved prior to starting, in order to save the content you type into the fillable fields.
Declaration of Applicant
To complete your application, you must certify that all statements and documents in your application are true and complete, and that you understand that any misrepresentation may result in cancellation of your application, academic discipline and/or legal consequences.
Emergency Contact Information
You will need to submit emergency contact information for someone that could be reached for the duration of the exchange in case of an emergency. An English speaking contact is preferred.
If you need to change this after the application deadline, please email email@example.com.
Consent to Disclose Information
If you anticipate that a family member, friend or representative will be inquiring on your behalf about your exchange program and you wish that person(s) to have access to that information, ISS will require your permission before any personal information is released. We recommend that at least one person you identify will be located in the Vancouver area during the time that you are away on your exchange. Please note this is separate from the Designate from in the SFU Student Information System.
If you need to change this after the application deadline, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Outbound Exchange Student Acknowledgment Form
The SFU Outbound Exchange Student Acknowledgment Form outlines the terms of participation for SFU's exchange program. Students will be required to submit this form after the application deadline, when instructed to do so by ISS.
Students nominated to in-person and virtual exchanges will be required to complete the SFU Outbound Exchange Student Acknowledgment form.
Exchange Student Waiver and Release
The SFU Outbound Exchange Student Waiver and Release form is a release of liability, waiver of claims, assumptions of risks and indemnity agreement. Students will be required to submit this form after the application deadline, when instructed to do so by ISS.
Students who are nominated to a virtual exchange do not complete an SFU Outbound Exchange Student Waiver and Release form.
In the Study Abroad (Formal Exchange or Field School) program application, degree seeking SFU students applying for a full-time study abroad program may apply to the Suite of Study Abroad Awards. Students will submit one application in order to be considered for the full suite of awards, but only a maximum of one International Mobility Award (IMA) will be awarded per student. IMA applications will first be considered for the highest value IMA eligible. Each award has its own eligibility and selection criteria, which are detailed on the application.
NOTE: Virtual exchange students and visiting students accepted to SFU for the purposes of participating in a field school are not eligible for these awards.
- Diamond Family International Mobility Award (DFIMA)
Awarded to undergraduate participants accepted into a formal undergraduate Exchange or Field School program intended to provide additional funding to assist with the costs of travel and living expenses while pursuing studies abroad.
Value: Multiple awards, valued at a minimum of $2000 each are awarded each year.
- International Mobility Award (IMA)
In an effort to support students who are participating in a formal international Exchange or Field School programs, in addition to bursaries and scholarships, SFU has identified this additional funding to assist students with the costs of travel and living expenses while pursuing studies abroad. Multiple awards will be distributed each year.
Value: Up to $1000
- Beedie Study Abroad Award (BSAA)
SFU Beedie School of Business Student Exchange to a SFU Beedie School of Business Partner 2020-21
The SFU Beedie School of Business recognizes the impact of educating students within a global context, developing diversity in the academic community and encouraging students to extend their learning beyond our borders. To support our students studying abroad while on exchange, Beedie has provided funding to assist students with the costs of travel and living expenses abroad. Multiple awards will be distributed each year.
Value: Up to $1000
- Lana Cooke International Mobility Award (LCIMA)
In an effort to support Faculty of Applied Sciences students who are participating in a formal Exchange or Field School programs, in addition to bursaries and scholarships, SFU has identified this additional funding to assist students with the costs of travel and living expenses while pursuing studies abroad.
Value: A single award of at least $1000 will be distributed each year.
- Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology International Mobility Award (FCAT IMA)
In an effort to support The Faculty of Communication, Art, and Technology (FCAT) students to go on an international exchange through the Digital Journalism program, FCAT has provided funding to assist students with the costs of travel and living expenses abroad.
• Applicants for the FCAT IMA must be enrolled in a Bachelor's degree program in the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology in the term of the award
• Applicants for the FCAT IMA must be accepted into an SFU Formal Exchange as part FCAT's Certificate in Creative Technologies in Digital Journalism.
Value: Minimum of $1000 awarded
- Ben West Student Exchange Annual Award (BWSEA)
Awarded to a student in good academic standing in his or her third or fourth year of study in any undergraduate program, enrolled to participate in a term exchange. The award will be granted on the basis of outstanding community service. Where possible preference will be given to students enrolled in the SFU Beedie School of Business pursuing an exchange in Asia.
- Barry Macdonald Award for Global Mobility (BMAGM)
Awarded to students who:
• are enrolled full-time in the Bachelor of Business Administration program in the SFU Beedie School of Business in the term of eligibility;
• have completed at least 60 SFU units;
• are in good academic standing;
• have been accepted or are currently enrolled in an SFU international exchange program administered by the International Services for Students office in the term of eligibility; and
• have demonstrated exceptional community service.
• preference will be giving to students who are enrolled in their international exchange term(s) in Asia.
On the online application, you will be required to input referral information about how you heard about the exchange program.