Before you depart
Two compulsory pre-departure sessions (for all students going on exchange) are held during each session. The first is held in the first few weeks of session, and the second is held during the study break before final exams. Students must attend both sessions, as they cover important information such as academic issues, money matters, health & safety, travel tips, and much more! You will also receive a detailed Pre-Departure Guide and have the opportunity to meet and receive advice from other UOW students who have recently returned from exchange. Students are also enrolled in an International Exchange Program Moodle site to have access to important information for the duration of their exchange.
Students are responsible for making their own accommodation arrangements and there will be a variety of options available to you. These may include university residences (highly recommended), sharing private accommodation with other students, or participating in a 'homestay' program with a local family (a great option for language learners). Each exchange university has a housing office which will assist you to obtain accommodation.
Most students choose to live in a university residence while on exchange, as this provides greater opportunity for meeting new friends and becoming involved in student life. Residence housing is normally in a shared dormitory room. However, placed in university residences cannot be guaranteed at some institutions, so you must be prepared to locate alternative housing if necessary. Further information about accommodation options can be found on partner university websites and in the Exchange Library.
Passports, Visas & Travel Plans
Passports: A passport is an official government document proving your identity and citizenship when travelling internationally.
You must hold a valid passport for the entire duration of your time overseas. Australian citizens can obtain passport application forms from Australia Post offices around Australia (including the post office on campus). You should apply for your passport as soon as you are accepted to the Exchange Program. If you already have a passport, please check the expiry date to ensure that it lasts for at least 6 months after your expected return to Australia. You may be refused entry to your host country (and other countries you may be travelling to) if your passport does not have at least 6 months remaining. As this is a requirement of many countries, we recommend that you renew your passport as soon as possible.
Australian citizens should phone the Australian Passport Information Service on 131 232 or visit www.passports.gov.au for further information. International students should contact the nearest embassy or consulate of their home country for passport advice.
Visas: A visa is a permit authorising a non-citizen to travel to, enter, transit or remain in a specific country for a stated purpose and time.
As an exchange student, you will usually be required to apply for a student visa to your host country and a tourist visa for any other countries you may be travelling to.
You will apply for your student visa after you have received your formal 'letter of acceptance' and/or visa paperwork from your host university. Because visa requirements are constantly changing and because UOW's International Exchange Program encompasses so many countries, the Office of Global Student Mobility is not able to offer visa advice. Students are encouraged to conduct independent research into visa requirements and to speak with representatives from the relevant consulates or embassies.
Flights & Travel Plans
Although it is never too early to start investigating the cost and availability of flights to your exchange destination, you should not finalise any travel plans until you have received an official acceptance to your host university and your student visa.
You must be covered by comprehensive travel insurance (incorporating medical insurance, medical evacuation and repatriation) for the entire period of overseas study and travel.
By participating in the UOW International Exchange Program you will be automatically covered by our comprehensive travel insurance policy for up to 365 days (40% must be at your host institution and 60% can be for personal travel) of your exchange. If you will be away for more than 365 days, it is your responsibility to arrange and pay for additional coverage through the University's insurance provider. Further insurance details, including a certificate of cover, will be provided to students at the compulsory final Pre-Departure Session.
Going Global is a website to help you search for country specific and employment information and is one of the best online resources available. With over 80,000 pages of resources, this invaluable tool provides expert advice and insider tips for finding employment and internship opportunities across the globe.
The Global Society
For more information about any topic relating to studying overseas, or to ask specific questions, please go to The Global Society Community. Membership to The Global Society is provided to all of our outbound exchange participants to help enhance their experience. The Global Society also provides resources and discounts on flights and other travel needs to their members, as well as networking with other study abroad students. You can join or access these services through The Global Society website.
Membership is paid for by the university for all students heading overseas on exchange this upcoming intake. Claim your membership by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name and University of Wollongong.