Semester exchange

Open to both domestic and international students, the exchange program allows you to travel abroad and study at the same time for a semester or two at one of our overseas partnered universities. This is done by exchanging places with one of their students who will take your place while they do their program at La Trobe University. As a result, you will be exempted from paying additional tuition fees to your host university and you will use your pre-approved subjects to gain credits for your studies with them!

At LTU we provide students with opportunities for study at amazing learning destinations around the world.  Studying overseas as part of your degree can provide personal and academic rewards, adding value to your LTU experience.

Quicklinks

Application dates

Exchange during Semester 1, 2019

Part 1 (SOMSAS – subject approval):

  • Early-Bird Submission: Friday 18 May, 2018
  • Final Submission: Friday 15 June, 2018

Part 2 (Application Form & Supporting Documents): Friday 27 July, 2018 by 5pm

Exchange during Semester 2, 2019

Part 1 (SOMSAS – subject approval):

  • Early-Bird Submission: Friday 19 October, 2018
  • Final Submission: Friday 16 November 2018

Part 2 (Application Form & Supporting Documents): Friday 14 December, 2018 by 5pm

Semester exchange application process

Refer to our Study Overseas Quick Reference Guide [PDF 190KB] for a summary of the below information. We recommend you to attend one of our information sessions throughout the year. Dates will be posted on our Facebook Page.

Eligibility

All domestic and international students doing a degree are eligible and we encourage you to apply.

You must:

  • have completed at least a year worth of credits (120 credit points) at La Trobe University or will have completed this by the time you do the exchange program. We recommend that you start your application in your first year.
  • have at least a 65% overall grade (note some partner universities require a higher requirement). Please note: if you fail one or more units in the semester before your exchange, you may not be accepted into the program.
  • have enough subjects left in your degree for your exchange (you may not complete your degree before your exchange).
  • be enrolled in a La Trobe University degree at the time of application, the semester before exchange, and also during the exchange program.
  • have your subjects approved for credit as part of the first stage of the application process (SOMSAS)
  • complete an equivalent full-time study load of 45 - 60 LTU credits during each semester of exchange

Start planning early! - Important

Start preparations as early as possible. The overall process may take up to 3-6 months leading up to the application deadline.

Step 1: What can I study overseas?

During your exchange semester your LTU subjects will be replaced by equivalent subjects offered at the host university. However, not all subjects in your course can be replaced with overseas subjects. It is up to you to find out which LTU subjects you may replace. After which you can start looking for possible replacement subjects at the host university website.

Take a look at your Study Plan in Student Online to find out which subjects are still available.

If you have any difficulties understanding your study plan, please contact the ASSC or SHE College Client Services representative by submitting an online query via ASK La Trobe or by visiting them in the Library for advice.

Please note the process below for specific programs:

  • Japanese major programs - students must map out their degree structure and see Dr. Elise Foxworth to discuss their study options prior to application.
  • Law students: Can only do electives as part of their Exchange program.
  • Health Science students: Please make an appointment to speak with your Course/ Discipline Coordinator about which LTU subjects you can replace overseas. Find your Course/Discipline Coordinator by searching your course in the current Handbook.
  • Psychology students: Please refer to the 2017 Psychology Study Overseas Guide [343 KB] which is also available on your LMS

Step 2: Where can I go?

Research the Exchange Partner Universities by exploring their websites for subjects and facilities. Based on the advice you have gained through the step above, you need to choose a maximum of three that offer suitable subjects related to your degree. It is recommended to only select one host university preference with a “limited placement chance” to increase your chances of being placed.

Please note: Keep a record of the subject links and descriptions/syllabi as you will need to provide and upload these during part 1 of the application. It is best to get at least 8-10 subjects approved for each institution to ensure you have sufficient back-ups.

Study abroad at a non-partner university:

If the university you wish to study at isn't a LTU partner university, then you will need to consider independently studying abroad.  Choosing your own independent study abroad option could allow you to complete courses overseas and count them towards your LTU degree. However, you will need to pay international fees directly to your host university and take a Leave of Absence from LTU during that semester. Study abroad is not a formal program and as such students enrol as international fee paying students at their host university. All administrative and academic arrangements need to be made on an individual basis with your home LTU academic college/s prior to participating.

Application Part 1 – Exchange study plan online subject approval (SOMSAS)

We recommend using Mozilla Firefox as your internet browser to complete your Study Plan application.

Not on campus? Type “students\” before your ID number.

  1. Login to SOMSAS.
  2. Upload documents such as your study plan (compulsory), unofficial transcript (obtained from StudentOnline), any emails with your college or course/subject coordinator regarding your subject options. (refer to ‘Start Planning Early’ Step 1.)
  3. Add individual subjects for approval on SOMSAS.

    Note, you can leave and come back later to add more information as long as your application is in “Draft” status.

  4. Edit credit equivalence (refer to partner university website - linked). Instruction video .
  5. Click ‘Submit Application’ by the relevant deadline. Once you click submit, you cannot make further edits. Note, if you need to make any further edits, please contact us at somsas@latrobe.edu.au
  6. Start working on Application Part 2 as soon as you have submitted SOMSAS.

Need help?

SOMSAS Student FAQs [361 KB]

SOMSAS Quick Reference Guide: Semester Exchange [PDF 684 KB]

SOMSAS Student User Manual: Semester Exchange [PDF 969 KB]


Who do I contact about my subject approvals?

Your college works together with your course and subject coordinators to approve your subjects. If you need to follow up on the status of your SOMSAS credit approval, please submit a question through Ask La Trobe online with all the necessary details. They will assist you with following up with your College for the status. You will receive an email to your La Trobe student email account once your credit approval application has been finalised by your College.

I want to change the order of my university preferences

You may reorder your preferences in Application Part 2 (not in SOMSAS). For changes after lodging application part 2 please contact studyabroad@latrobe.edu.au.

Application Part 2 - Exchange application form & supporting documents

Complete your exchange application form and email them along with the following supporting documents to studyabroad@latrobe.edu.au (note that your official transcript must be submitted in its original hard copy to the Global Lounge (Bundoora campus) or International Office (Bendigo campus):

  • Download and complete the Part 2 - Outbound Exchange Application Form [PDF 719KB]
  • One Academic Reference Form (from a La Trobe Academic – including casual academics/tutor)
  • Copy of Passport ID page or University ID card
  • Personal statement (no more than 1 page) explaining why you want to go on exchange and what you want to gain from the experience academically, personally and professionally
  • CV/resume (if applying for the SMS scholarship)
  • Language requirement - if your program has a language requirement (refer to information on our exchange partner website) please submit evidence of your current language level (e.g. a letter of competency from your academic).
  • Official La Trobe academic transcript (including the results of the semester during which you apply. You can purchase an official La Trobe transcript online. The original may be required for your host institution application. When ordering, you may have it delivered to La Trobe Abroad as third party recipient.

Please post original copies to the following address:

La Trobe Abroad

Level 3 Sylvia Walton Building

La Trobe University

Please note: unofficial transcripts are accepted as an interim measure until official transcripts from current semesters are released. These can be accessed through your StudentOnline.

Application nomination outcome

Your application must be complete before submitting for assessment. Incomplete applications may not be considered.

You will be notified via email of the next steps for your application by La Trobe Abroad within approximately 2 months after the Part 2 application deadline.

Acceptance sessions & pre-departure preparation

At this stage, your application nomination should have been confirmed – congratulations! Along with the confirmation you receive, you will be invited to attend 2 compulsory sessions (Acceptance and Pre-departure). This is where we will walk you through your next steps before leaving Australia.

Acceptance session & documents

You will receive an invitation to the acceptance session, once you have been accepted into the La Trobe University exchange program. During this session, we will give you information on your host university application and the conditions and responsibilities of the exchange program participants. This is a mandatory session.

Documents

Soon after this session, you must submit the following documents before the upcoming pre-departure session:

Form/document

Submit/upload to

Agreement & Acceptance of Offer (AAO) Form [PDF 83.9KB]

  • Upload to ISIS
  • Email your La Trobe Abroad Coordinator advising of the new upload

Mobility Grant Payment (MGP) Form [PDF 76KB]

(for Mobility Grant/SMS/other scholarship recipients – ISEP Exchange students do not need to submit)

  • Upload to ISIS
  • Email your La Trobe Abroad Coordinator advising of the new upload

Nominated  Proxy (NPE) Form [PDF 87KB]

(optional, but strongly recommended)

  • Send to ASK La Trobe
  • Upload to ISIS (ensure has date submitted to Ask La Trobe on the form)
  • Email your La Trobe Abroad Coordinator advising of the new upload

Pre-departure session & documents

This session prepares you for your departure overseas and covers important topics including health and safety, academic requirements, culture shock and more. This is another mandatory session where all accepted students must attend.

After this session, please ensure to download and read through the Pre-Departure Guide [PDF 869KB]. This guide contains important information to assist you with your preparations and throughout your journey.

Documents

You must submit the following mandatory forms at least 28 days before your departure from Australia.

Compulsory forms:

Variation of enrolment (VOE) form - online

Outbound exchange pre-departure documents (OEPD) [PDF 566KB]

  • Submit together with supporting documents directly to the Global Lounge or International Office in Bendigo

Travel Risk Assessment Checklist (TRA) [PDF 35KB]

  • Upload to ISIS where necessary (see instructions on the form).

Travel Insurance Form(TIF) [564KB]

All postgraduate and undergraduate students are covered under the University’s travel insurance for all La Trobe University approved international activity.

All postgraduate and undergraduate students are covered for a domestic or international journey* approved by LTU.

For the summary of the insurance policy with the key benefits and exclusions and other information please refer to travel. Please ensure to carefully read through this information.

Insurance cover for non-LTU approved activity is limited to 10 business days prior and 10 business days following an LTU activity. You are advised to purchase your own travel insurance for any additional days of non-LTU approved activity.

No cover applies to destinations advised as “Do not travel” by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Travel Advisory Levels explained: http://smartraveller.gov.au/resources/travel-advice-explained.html

  • This form is used as a record of the student’s  Travel activities overseas and eligibility of the university insurance cover
  • Submit together with supporting documents directly to the Global Lounge or International Office in Bendigo

Travel Insurance Guidelines (TIG) [PDF 70KB]

If the duration of the program or personal travel fall outside of the coverage period as stipulated above, all students are mandatorily required to take additional travel and health insurance to cover for the duration of their stay. Please follow the guidelines when purchasing additional insurance cover.

  • Follow the guidelines when purchasing your insurance

Optional forms (due before departure)

Application for Centrelink Letter Online Form

(if applicable i.e. you have an arrangement with Centrelink and need to advise them about your exchange)

Supporting documents are also required

  • Ensure your online Variation of Enrolment is finalised prior to completing this form
  • Upload letter to ISIS and save any confirmation of submission number
  • Email your La Trobe Abroad Coordinator advising of the new upload

Amendment to Personal  Details form [PDF 112KB]

(if applicable i.e. you wish to change your mailing address while on exchange)

  • Original to ASK La Trobe
  • Upload to ISIS (ensure has date submitted to ASK La Trobe on the form)
  • Email your La Trobe Abroad Coordinator advising of the new upload

Departure arrangement tips & information

All flight, visa and accommodation arrangements are the responsibility of the student. Please ensure to read through all information provided by the host institution and relevant country consulate carefully before proceeding with your arrangements. We highly recommend that you read our Pre-Departure Guide and Pre-Departure Checklist [295] before you depart.

Academic studies

While studying overseas, you must remain enrolled at La Trobe to ensure that you only pay tuition fees to La Trobe University. This is accomplished by submitting a variation of enrolment.

Flights, visas and accommodation

  • Keep an eye on cheap flights to your destination. However, we do not recommend that you book flights until you have received your host university acceptance. La Trobe University takes no responsibility for any financial loss associated with flight and/or travel insurance bookings.
  • Due to the large number of countries we deal with and constantly changing visa requirements, we are not authorised to provide visa advice. Please contact your host country’s consulate/embassy for information regarding the visa you will need. You will most likely be required to apply for a student visa. Please note: in some cases, the Consulate/Embassy requires you to fly to Sydney to apply for your student visa. Make sure to get in touch with them early so you don’t get surprised by additional airfares or waiting lists to make an appointment for your application.
  • In most cases, accommodation can be organised through your host university (please refer to the acceptance documents they send), but it is your responsibility to research and confirm your accommodation. Most students choose to live in residential colleges, dormitories, or apartments close to their host university campuses. This offers you greater integration into student life and tends to be the most affordable option. Some universities do not have on-campus housing but do have services to help you find accommodation.
  • La Trobe University offers travel insurance cover to all postgraduate and undergraduate students. Please note: Your cover won’t be activated until you have submitted your Travel Insurance Form.
  • For the summary of the insurance policy with the key benefits and exclusions and other information please refer to travel. Please ensure to carefully read through this information.
  • Insurance cover is limited to 10 business days prior and 10 business days following a La Trobe University approved credit-bearing international activity. You are advised to purchase your own travel insurance for any additional days of non-LTU approved activity.
  • No cover applies to destinations advised as “Do not travel” by the Department of Home Affairs. The University advises students to refrain from travelling to these destinations. Advisory Levels explained: http://smartraveller.gov.au.
  • If you are travelling to a destination that has been identified as ‘Reconsider your need for travel’, you must also complete a Risk Assessment Checklist
  • You must have comprehensive travel and health insurance before going on exchange. Some host universities may also require that you take out their health insurance policy. Carefully review your acceptance information for insurance requirements.
  • All travel and insurance documents must be submitted to your education abroad advisor at least 28 days before your departure from Australia.

Health and medical check-ups

  • It is very important that you undergo a health check-up before departure and ensure you are up-to-date with your vaccinations.
  • Be careful with what you pack in terms of medication as certain drugs may be prohibited by some countries. If you are carrying any medications for an existing health condition, please ensure that you carry a doctor’s certificate/prescription with you.
  • If you do have a pre-existing medical condition or a disability, it is highly recommended that you have informed both La Trobe Abroad and your host institution. This is very important to ensure you are provided with the right facilities and assistance as needed.

Arriving at your host country & institution

After all the waiting and preparations you finally made it to your host country, well done! Although we encourage you to enjoy your time overseas as much as possible (and you will have many opportunities for this while you are there), do not forget that you are still studying and should not treat this as just a holiday. You will encounter many roadblocks and there will be many new cultures and rules you will need to get accustomed to as well.

Arrival & settling in at your host institution

The first step is to ensure that you are settled in and get comfortable with your surroundings:

  • Make sure to call home to let your family and friends know you arrived safely and doing well. We also like to hear from you as well.
  • Identify any potential issues that may lead to problems in the future, such as culture shock and subject issues.
  • Visit the international office at your host university to introduce yourself. Raise any issues you have come across for support as soon as possible.
  • Get your On arrival form [PDF 65KB] signed  for your mobility grant/scholarship. Your on-arrival form needs to be uploaded to your ISIS account and your exchange coordinator notified within four weeks of starting your exchange.
  • Enrol into subjects and attend orientation.
  • Join some clubs, societies and get involved in the university activities and trips.

Issues with subjects

Most students experience one or more of their host institution’s subjects are no longer available due to clashing or unavailable subjects at your host university. Make sure to follow the instructions below to get any new host subjects approved as soon as possible to have this resolved urgently. Notify your exchange coordinator if you are experiencing issues with new approvals.

You will be required to seek approval by your College for any subjects not assessed in your initial SOMSAS application. Note you will not receive credits for any subjects that have not been approved or assessed by the College. If you need any assistance sourcing new subjects, be sure to ask help from the international office at your host institution as well.

Applying for new subject approvals:

  1. Login to SOMSAS using Mozilla Firefox as your internet browser to complete your Study Plan application. If you are not on campus, type “students\” before your ID number and then your normal password to log into SOMSAS.
  2. Click on the red “Variation of Application” button
  3. Enter the subject information, ensuring that you provide the link for the subject information and syllabus (if possible).
  4. Specify that you are applying for additional subjects and list any subjects you are cur in the “Overall Application Comment” field located in the “Edit Application Details” section.
  5. Submit application when ready.

Culture Shock & dealing with emergencies

Culture shock

Culture shock is a normal reaction of when our bodies become overwhelmed by a significant change in our surroundings than what we are normally accustomed to. This could apply to the food, traditions, difference in language, etc. If you feel any persisting sense of loneliness, anxiety, depression, homesickness or doubt, please seek advice and support from your host institution and get in touch with us. You would often find that these feelings subside overtime once you adapt to the changes and fully immerse into the new culture. If these feelings to do not subside and your experience is significantly impacted in a negative way, make sure to keep us informed and discuss your options.

Some tips to help cope with culture shock are:

  • Stay in touch with your family and friends
  • Try to get involved in clubs, activities and societies as much as you can
  • Go out and explore
  • Try blogging and reflecting on experiences
  • Focus on your hobbies and decorate your room like home to bring in some familiarity
  • Check with the support services available at your host university
Injuries & claiming insurance

Accidents can happen to anyone at any time. Should you find yourself in such a situation, make sure to seek treatment as soon as possible. Notify your Host University and La Trobe Abroad as soon as you can so that we are aware of your situation and are able to assist if necessary. Some important things to note:

  • Seek medical advice before travelling to other destinations
  • Please call up Chubb Insurance and quote your insurance policy (can be found in the last page of your LTU offer package) and seek their advice
  • In severe cases where you feel you are no longer able to continue with the program, please make sure to keep us informed and discuss your options
  • Keep receipts of any expenses incurred in relation to the incident
In case of a critical incident

In cases of any emergencies or natural disasters, promptly follow the instructions below and do not undermine your safety at any point:

  1. Please contact your host institution/host provider coordinator in the first instance for assistance and also follow the advice of local authorities.
  2. When safe to do so, get in touch with your LTU exchange coordinator to alert them of your situation as soon as possible and keep us informed over the course of the incident of any developments.
  3. Keep in touch with your family and friends as much as possible.
  4. Keep an eye on the advice and instructions provided by http://smartraveller.gov.au and any notification you may receive in regards to the situation you are in.
  5. If at any stage you feel you are in immediate danger or struggling to cope, you are able to return early from your program. To do this please contact both your host institution and your La Trobe exchange coordinator with your decision and they will provide you with the instructions and support for the process.

Extending your exchange for another semester

Any extensions are not automatic and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by La Trobe Abroad. Please do not contact the host institution about your extension, unless advised by La Trobe Abroad.

Extending at the same institution
  1. Contact your La Trobe Abroad Coordinator as soon as possible. The sooner that you can advise of your wish to extend, the better.
  2. In the meantime, start working on your study plan for the extended semester of your program. You will need to complete a SOMSAS application for credit approvals prior to confirmation of extension. Documents you will need to include in your application are:
    • List of subjects you completed in your initial semester of exchange
    • The descriptions of the host university subject/s
    • College and course/discipline coordinator approval (if approvals are arranged via email)

ONLY after College approvals have been finalised, La Trobe Abroad will contact the host institution to seek approval for a second placement. If there is a place available, then you will receive a new LTU Offer Letter

  1. Must submit the acceptance of your new LTU Offer Letter (please refer to the offer pack for more information or contact your exchange coordinator for more information)
  2. Submit your travel and OEPD form & any extensions required for your travel insurance
  3. Additional insurance must be arranged for gap period between 10 days after finishing your current exchange and 10 days before commencing the second the semester (does not apply to students pre-approved for 2 semesters)
  4. Follow host university procedures & requirements
Applying to a different institution
  1. Contact your La Trobe Abroad Coordinator as soon as possible (before the deadlines listed under the "Apply" tab for the relevant semester). The sooner that you can advise of your wish to extend, the better.
  2. You need to apply through the normal application process. Part 1 of your application must also include a list of subjects currently completing at your host university. To apply for SOMSAS follow steps – as above
  3. ONLY after College approvals have been finalised, La Trobe Abroad will contact the host institution to seek the extension
  4. If there is a place available, then you will receive a new LTU Offer Letter
  5. Must submit the acceptance of your new LTU Offer Letter (please refer to the offer pack for more information or contact your exchange coordinator for more information)
  6. Submit your travel form & extend your travel insurance
  7. Additional insurance must be arranged for gap period between 10 days after finishing your current exchange and 10 days before commencing the second the semester (does not apply to students pre-approved for 2 semesters)
  8. Follow host university procedures & requirements

When you return

Welcome back to Australia! You have most likely just had the time of your life overseas, so you are probably filled with many mixed emotions about returning home. We have compiled a heap of resources to help you cope with the re-entry process.

Reverse culture shock

Just like when you arrived overseas, you may also experience culture shock when you come back to Australia and may no longer see it the same way. If you feel you are experiencing reverse-culture shock, it is important that you seek help if necessary and try implementing some of the experiences you had overseas into your lifestyle to help cope with the feeling.

Here are some of the activities you can do:

  • Seek help and support from the La Trobe Abroad office
  • Follow the same steps as you did as when you were abroad to get accustomed to your host country. You may need to introduce some of the culture and customs you have picked up while you were overseas into your daily life.
  • It is recommended to seek Counselling help if you need more comprehensive and professional assistance.

Apply for advanced standing

When you have finished your exchange program, the host institution will send an official academic transcript to the La Trobe Abroad Office. You will need to:

Please note: you will not be able to collect your host university transcript without submitting this document.

  • Come to the La Trobe Abroad Office to collect your official host university transcript once you have been notified by La Trobe Abroad it has arrived and is ready for collection.
  • If you have received an unofficial copy of your transcript, you will need it signed and stamped by La Trobe Abroad staff as genuine.
  • Upload either your original official transcript copy or  your unofficial transcript (must be signed and stamped as genuine by La Trobe Abroad) as you fill in the Application for Advanced Standing form and that will go through to the College for credit transfer.

Please ensure to keep the original transcript for your own records

Re-entry workshop & getting involved

Get the Career Ready Advantage

Now that you’re back from your overseas experience, we highly recommend you join the Career Ready Advantage program.

The program is designed to help you actively prepare for your life beyond La Trobe.  It is structured to make it easy to record and build on your experiences – through part-time work, internships, and participation in volunteering, international exchanges, and other extra-curricular activities. By recording your activities and reflecting on your learning, you will build up a portfolio of experiences and evidence of skills, which you’ll be able to present to employers when the time comes to apply for graduate jobs.

Global Society

Your membership with the Global Society continues even after completing your exchange. Don't forget to keep in touch with your networks and stay involved with the active community!

Get involved

There are many things you can do now that you are back and have some amazing stories to share! Some of these are:

  • Join the peer advisors program
  • Join the exchange club
  • Join the student ambassadors program
  • Assist with La Trobe Abroad promotional activities and events such as the Exchange Fair
  • Seek out opportunities to talk about your overseas experience amongst peers and colleagues. We would love to hear from you as well

Contact studyabroad@latrobe.edu.au for further information about any of these.