General information on exchange programs

Hello and welcome. My name's Tim. I'm a board adviser at Swinburne and I'm here to talk to about the International Exchange Programs and a little bit of information on them. We'll cover a lot of stuff today. In about 15 or 20 minutes. Stuff on some eligibility, the cost, go through the benefits as well, a bit about the process, the importance of study plans and I'll finish off with a couple of frequently asked questions.

So, there are different ways that you can get overseas as part of your studies. The most popular, obviously the short and long term. Long term being one or two semesters. You study at one of our partner institutions. Short term ones can go from two, four, six, eight weeks. A lot of them run in the winter or the summer, but the focus of today's information session will be on the semester exchange. Spending one or two semesters abroad. Also there's  lots of ways  an  international internships, research, collaboration, also joint programs. There's a lot of ways you get overseas as part of your studies.

With 110 different mobility partners, the different universities that we work with around the world, I mean at about 30 different countries, you really can see a lot of the world as part of your studies. So why? It's really important to clarify why, I think. Differentiation is the first one that I'd like to point out. Everyone's going to finish with a bachelor of business, bachelor of science bachelor of design, so it's really important that you show that you can stand out from that and doing something like an international program is one way to do that. Networking. More than likely, you're going to encounter people overseas. You'll be able to keep in touch with them. Professors, academics, there's international job opportunities that can come from that. It's really easy to keep touch. So expanding your international network.

Internationalist perspective. Whatever it is you study, people around the world are going to view it slightly differently or bring something different to the table. So by being able to immerse yourself in that, I think it just adds that holistic understanding of whatever your discipline really is. Cultural development communication skills. When you immerse yourself in another part of the world and can understand the culture, I think that's a life skill. And believe me, when it comes time to getting a job, you want to be able to be confident with working with people from a variety of different cultures and also being able to communicate effectively with them.

So long term, you can study one or two semesters, or three. if you're doing a double degree, you need to one of our partner institutions. We've got about 110 mobility partners. So going to one of them ensures that you can continue to pay your HECS fees, which covers your tuition. You don't need to take a leave of absence but I'll touch on that towards the end. You are still studying full time. So you're studying full credit. The units you're studying at the overseas institution are crediting back here to your Swinburne program. As I mentioned. If you go to one of those partner institutions, you still

continue to pay your HECS and that covers tuition fees or if your paying for your fees up front, that's the same as well.

A little bit on eligibility. You need to have completed 50 credit points which is four units at the time for applying for exchange. So you need to have done your first semester that plus pass the units. That's to go anywhere in the world. If you are in your first semester and you want to go on your second semester, you can still do that but it needs only be at Swinburne's Sarawak campus. So you need to do a first semester. So doing four units your first semester. You can apply for Swinburne Sarawak but you wouldn't be able to apply for a destination outside of Sarawak. So the first opportunity that you have to go overseas, to go somewhere elsewhere apart from Swinburne's Malaysian campus is the first semester year two or after you've done at least 50 credit points, which is the same as four units. You also need to be returning to a full time semester and study load, which is 50 credit points as well. And once we do look at average, you need to have a 60 or over. So an average of 60 or over. All the units calculated and divided, if that's 60 or over, that fine. We're really looking for reasons to send students on Exchange. I think there is a misconception that you need to have a high distinction to be able to go. If the average isn't quite at 60, your course coordinator can still approve you to go. if you show that you had a few fails earlier on but now you've been able to get the university model and you really prepared for exchange you think it's the right time for you, your course coordinator can say yep, I'm happy to do that.

Costs. As I just mentioned to you, your tuition fees that you continue to pay at Swinburne covers the tuition fees at the host institutions so you don't pay them anything for the tuition. You might be charged an administration fee or an application fee but that's usually $100 - $200 maximum. Students still need to cover everything else aside of that. So whether it's flights, accommodation, travel insurance, any entertainment, any books, supplies, any incidentals, that's all covered by the student. And we always get asked how much is going to cost me? It depends on the lifestyle you want to live and where you want to go, obviously. But in general, we say $10,000 should be enough to see you through first semester anywhere. Obviously if you're studying in somewhere like Sweden, it might be a little bit more different to studying in Asia for cost, but in general, $10,000.

In terms of being able to help out with that, so in terms of funding, Swinburne Abroad has a variety of scholarships. We've got ones that are regional based, ones that are just for faculty specific, ones that are ambassadorships, so people we think are really representatives of Swinburne. You become the SwinMates president which is an international student group that we have here to at Swinburne. They range anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000. The government then also has their own set of scholarships. They use it as an instrument to try and encourage students to go to places they really want Australians to get more involvement. So particularly after the release of the white paper, Asian Century White Paper, a lot of funding. It's called you can buy plan. A lot of funding went into Asia. So the UK and the US tend to have less scholarships with Asia and Latin America had a few more there.

Another way to fund it, if you are paying for your course via HECS, you can take what's called an OS- HELP loan. So that's an overseas interest-free loan that you take on your HECS. So you have to do some overseas study to get access to that funding, but it gets added on to your HECS set. For Europe and the UK, it's 6,332 including the States as well. The Asians, so if you're going to take part of your studies in Asia, you can get earn 7,635. That's change is each year based on inflation. It's important to know that to get that OS-HELP loan, you obviously need to be paying for your course via HECS, but you must have done 100 credit points. So eight units. You must have passed and completed eight units. Also, you've got to be returning to at least one unit of study. You'll also be enrolled full time. Full time is either three or four units. The equivalent of three or four units here at Swinburne overseas. As well, if you already use allow integral study or settling payments, they do continue because you're technically still paying fees here to this university. So those payments do continue for the duration of the semester.

A good place to start is the SwinMates Abroad website. It gives a little bit of information that covers eligibility, also covers way you can go, some stuff about costs but it's a good place to start and just familiarize yourself with. So the application process. And this is really important to have a clear understanding of how it all works before you begin. To sort of course but which will give an example for later. That's basically a one page document that says, based on what semester you've started and your degree, it stipulates every single unit you need to do to get your degree. It’s a great place to start because once you fill that in, you're then left with a list of all potential units we're going to try and find an equivalent for overseas. That will then help you to be able to research through partners. You can even quickly tell by a university's website if they offer a course that's obviously going to be able to match up with yours. That's all done to be able to format a study plan. A study plan often called your ticket to going on exchange with an example coming up another couple slides. But that basically highlights what years you've left remaining and the grade that you've been able to find an equivalent for and that needs to be approved by your course coordinator. So for it to be an approved matched subject, your course coordinator needs to see information on that unit and say yes I'm happy that the learning outcomes at the overseas units, those are going to cover off on what this student would be able to have had here.

So that's the whole point of a study plan is saying are the same learning outcomes going to be met at the oversees institution? Importantly as well, the credit equivalency table. Each university has a different credit point system. It's like currencies. So it might be that a couple of units, so for example I went to Paris for my exchange, I took about nine subjects that equalled four back here because the assessments were less, the contact hours were a little bit less as well. So it's important to be aware. We're got a --I'll show you towards the end-- a credit equivalency table for all our partner institutions.

Once that study plan's been done, you can proceed with an online application. It's done through your student email. There's an option there where you can upload that study plan. It should only take about 15 to 20 minutes for that online application. After we've assessed that, we look at your study plan, your average, whether they've got enough places at that host institution, we will give you an offer to be in the Swinburne Abroad-- So you're not actually getting host acceptance then, acceptance from the foreign university, you're getting accepted by us that you've met all our requirements and we give you an offer to be a part of the program. After that, we help you organize your application once you've accepted the Swinburne offer to proceed with applying directly to the host university and often we need to verify some documents but we will assist you with all that. From there, it's a bit if a waiting game. Once we've submitted that second application, it's in their hands. The ball's in their court so it could take anywhere from two, three, four weeks for them to process, and then they issue you with your host institution's offer.

In the case that some of the more popular destinations like for example, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Middlesex or London, they will often have a few places that we're able to send students but we might have more students apply. Once we do everything to get your first preference, it may just be that we don't have enough places. So we're going to try to reallocate you. So it's always important to look at two or three overseas destinations that you'd be happy to go to because I'm a true believer that it isn't necessarily the partner that's going to define your experience. The opportunity itself and the time you have, it shouldn't be defined by this destination. I think you'll have a great time no matter where you go.

Anywhere you go will have an incredible study abroad experience. Lastly then, after you've received that host acceptance, that's when all these amending your enrolments, a combination of stuff really needs to kick in. Plus you obviously need to amend you're enrolment which basically let's your faculty know hey, I'm going overseas next semester. I'm going to enrol in only three or four units and then you're going to get on the plane. So this will probably give more detail.

Course planner. Everyone will have one based on what semester they start on and it will still specify these are the units you need to do. Some of them will be core, some will be blank that need to be filled with a minor or major specialization. It's good to go through and say which units you've done because it's obviously going to be left with a list of all years that you're going to try and match up overseas. It's a good place to start because it's also one of the requirements of submitting your study plans to you course coordinator just to show clearly what units you've done and you've got left to do.

Study plans. Most important. It's your ticket to getting on exchange. It ensures that you’re going to finish on time and you're going to be able to finish as if you still here at Swinburne. The home institution column, these are the units that you're going to receive credit for when you come back from Swinburne. This is Swinburne coded units. Left hand column is the host institutions. This is the host institution where you're going to study for your exchange. These are units that are going to be matched equivalents. So this basically says if a student studies these units oversees, once they come back and pass it, they'll receive credit for this. Obviously some personal details and where you're wanting to go. Importantly though, it needs to be approved by your course coordinator. We've got a full listing of all the course coordinators on our application page on our website as well that credit equivalent table I mentioned before. And down here as well is a credit equivalency. So some units that I took in Europe are only worth three European credits which is the ECTS, European credit transfer system. It might be that two units overseas is the equivalent of one back here. So it's important to just look at the assessment, the theories, the content, and any of the contact hours as well. So basically, you just need to be able to provide that I'm going to get similar learning outcomes overseas if I study these units to get these units credited.

Also if you have electives, If you any elective, great they're able to be used for exchange and they're fantastic because it allows you take a unit overseas that maybe isn't offered by Swinburne. So after you've done that study plan, you've submitted the application, you'll get our offer. We'll submit the host application with you. It might be done online or it might be done hard copy which is how the United States ones are. Then you'll get that host acceptance. You will finalize your flights, your collection of visas. We don't advise you to do any of these until you've received that final acceptance because there is always a chance that you may still be admitted.

Application deadlines. We set these deadlines to cover off on most of the partners. Obviously, the US, the UK, Japan, Canada, and parts of Scandinavia have an earlier commencement date and a little bit longer application procedure. So we set that quite early. If I was wanting going to go for Swinburne semester one, so starting in March, I would need to apply by the 15th of July the previous year. Other locations as you're in Europe, 15th of September is that date. plus at Sarawak, we have a bit of a lighter deadline. So if you're wanting to go starting March and you hadn't gotten anything to give to parts you like, you could still go parts of Asia and Europe. Also mentioned, every institution has their own deadline. We've just set up because it covers all, It like a blanket deadline. However, there are some that will have a little bit of a lighter deadline, like Northumbria, for example, in New Castle they have a little bit of a lighter deadline. So we recommend that you double check the deadline of your host institution when you're matching those subjects up.

I quickly want to finish off with some myths. I can't afford to go overseas. There's so much money available. There really is. There's government funding, Swinburne Abroad has got funding. Plus that OS-HELP loan, that's an interest -free loan on your HECS. So it really is quite affordable. I'm not HD or high achieving student. 60 or over and I'm really looking to send you. We're looking for reasons to try and send a student overseas not to say no. And like I said, if you don't go under that 60 look at your average, as well your course coordinator can still approve you to go. It won't fit in my degree. That study plan helps you to make sure you still studying full time and you're still going to finish as if you were still here at Swinburne I don't speak a foreign language. I consider myself a category three

but then I went to Paris of all places. All the universities except for two in Brazil offer courses in English. And I really argue it's a really good extra challenge to go to a country where they don't speak English. Because I think it forces you out of your comfort zone a bit more.

I've never been oversees before. Lots of our students haven't. I actually argue it's a really good way to start your travel portfolio because you're given a university environment, you’re given the support services of the university to start. And it's always good because you'll find there's about 100 to 150 other students from around the world who have also done that at their institution and the bonding and the friendships that you are able to create with that. I think it'll probably give you the bonding you'll never want to stop traveling.

So lastly, a couple of frequently asked questions. Can I go to university outside Swinburne's partner institutions? We said that partners, we've got about 110 of them valet your main roles with Swinburne. You can still go out to a university if you really keen to go to a particular institution, three important things. Firstly, you do have to pay the tuition fees at that host institution. When you're looking at some of the partners in the United States, it will often be a lot more than the Swinburne tuition fees. Secondly, you need to take a leave of absence from Swinburne because technically, you won't remain enrolled as it's outside of our enrolment agreement so you will need to take a leave of absence from Swinburne. Thirdly, the credit the study plan that I showed you, that document is no longer applicable because you not a Swinburne student. It can still be used as a rough guide but the credit won't be guaranteed. You'll actually need to apply when you get back with the transcript to try and get those units credited. So it's a little less streamlined for the credits to come through. Second one. I'm in my final semester, can I still go? You are only limited by where you can find a match for the units you have left. so obviously in your final semester, it becomes a little more difficult, especially if you've got capstone or all your projects, its going to be hard to find an equivalent oversees. So it is still possible to go but sometimes it can be quite difficult to find the similar leaning outcome at a host institution overseas. Also you're not eligible for that OS-HELP loan or scholarships because you need to be coming back to Swinburne after that study.

Will my marks on Exchange show on my Swinburne transcript? No. When you get a matched equivalent, say for organizational behaviour overseas, once you come back from Swinburne and submit your transcript, on your Swinburne transcript, organizational behaviour have next to it EXM. So you've received an, exemption you receive the credit for it, but the actual mark you receive will only show up on the host institution, the overseas institutions transcript that they provide for you. Its been too difficult to try and be able to translate marks across. So, instead you'll receive the exempted on you Swinburne transcripts. So EXM and you're actual mark itself will only be on the host institution's transcript. So I hope you've been able to get a little bit more of a better understanding about exchange. I think it's one of the best opportunities to travel. It's part of your studies, so I think any questions, you're able to drop in Swinburne Abroad offices. There's drop-in times, there's regular information sessions, and good luck and go oversees.