How exchange works
Our 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. While you go to study at a partner university, one of their students will come and study with us. As a result, you will be exempted from paying additional tuition fees to your host university. You will continue to pay your La Trobe fees as you do now. Then use your pre-approved subjects to gain credits back into your La Trobe degree.
Regardless if you are a domestic or international student, all students can apply and have access to many grants and scholarships to support you while you are overseas. Exchange gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture by living there for several months, you could even spend one semester in one country and a second semester in another. There are few opportunities in life to live abroad so this truly is the opportunity of a lifetime!
For more general information and a list of all our partners, take a look at our flyer for 2021:
How to apply
Application dates are advertised a year before starting an exchange program at your host university. If you already have some overseas university options in mind, you don’t need to wait for the application closing date to apply. The overall process may take up to 3-6 months leading up to the application deadline, so start applying as early as possible.
Semester 1, 2021 applications have now closed.
Next round of exchange: Semester 2, 2021
Applications open: October 2020
Please note: the application closing date is for acceptance into the La Trobe University exchange program. Dates for nomination and acceptance to your host university will vary depending on region.
Step 1 - Attend an information session
We hold information sessions during each semester, and you are welcome to attend any of these without reservations. These sessions are held in the Melbourne (Bundoora) campus and also the Bendigo campus (with video conference to other regional campuses). You are strongly encouraged to attend at least one of these.
Some of the topics that we cover are:
- the benefits of studying overseas
- what overseas programs are available
- how to choose the right program for yourself
- what funding you will receive
- the costs
- how to apply
The next round of upcoming information sessions are:
Melbourne (Bundoora) Campus
|To be advised, please keep checking back|
Bendigo Campus (with video conference to other regional campuses)
|Join one of the above|
Step 2 - Check your eligibility
All domestic and international students doing a degree are eligible and we encourage you to apply. We recommend that you begin your semester exchange application in your first year.
To be eligible, you must:
- Have completed at least 120 credit points for your current La Trobe degree or will have completed this by the time you start your exchange.
- Have at least a 65% overall WAM (see how to calculate your WAM here). Please note some partner universities may require a higher requirement.
Please note: if you fail one or more units in the semester before your exchange, you may no longer be eligible for the program.
Conditions of Exchange
- If you are planning your exchange during the final semester of your La Trobe degree, you may not be eligible for an OS-help loan. Please see the OS help loan eligibility criteria.
- Be enrolled in a La Trobe University degree at the time of application, the semester before the exchange, and also during the exchange program.
- Complete an equivalent full-time study load of 45 - 60 La Trobe credits during each semester whilst on exchange.
- Your subjects must be approved for credit by La Trobe. It is your responsibility to find suitable subjects from the relevant institution website and ensure they are available during your program.
- If you are a sponsored student, please check with your sponsor before applying to La Trobe Abroad to see whether or not you are able to participate in an semester exchange or short programs outside Australia.
- For international students who intend to apply for post-study work visas, please note that your participation in a semester exchange or short programs may impact your eligibility to meet the Australian study requirement.
Step 3 - Understand your study plan
During your exchange semester, your La Trobe subjects will be replaced by matching subjects offered at the host university. However, not all subjects in your course can be replaced with overseas subjects. It is your responsibility to check your course study plan and determine which subjects you may replace. After which you can start looking at Exchange Partner Universities to check if they offer suitable replacement subjects that match your La Trobe subjects.
Please note: Keep a record of the subject links and descriptions/syllabi of the Exchange Partner Universities as you will need these at a later stage in the application process.
Take a look at your Study Plan in StudentOnline or the course Handbook to find out which subjects you still have to complete for your degree. If you have any difficulties understanding your subjects or how to rearrange your study plan, please contact the ASSC or SHE College Study Advisor by submitting an online query to ASK La Trobe or by visiting them in the Library for advice.
Please refer to the below advice for some specific programs:
Health Science students: Please make an appointment to speak with your Course/ Discipline Coordinator about which La Trobe subjects you can replace overseas. Find your Course/Discipline Coordinator by searching your course in the current Handbook.
Japanese majors: students must map out their degree structure and see Dr Emerald King to discuss their study options prior to application.
Law, Accounting and Criminology students: Can only do electives as part of their Exchange program.
Nursing students: Please refer your LMS for information on options.
Psychology students: Please refer to the Study Abroad tab your Psychological Science Student Portal on LMS.
Step 4 – Choose your universities
La Trobe University Exchange Partners
Research La Trobe’s exchange partner universities by exploring their websites for location, subjects and facilities. Based on the advice you have gained through the Step 3, you need to choose a maximum of three partner universities for each semester of your application based on how well the subjects they offer match to your La Trobe degree and the chance of being placed at the partner (placement chance).
Placement chance is classified as:
- High chance of being placed at this institution
- Fair chance of being placed at this institution
- Limited chance of being placed at this institution
- Very limited chance of being placed at this institution.
Applying for Universities with a high placement chance increases your chances of being considered for a scholarship, provided you have a WAM of at least 70%. Plus, you can only choose one partner with a limited or very limited placement chance for each semester of application.
Placement chances are affected by the number of inbound and outbound applicants each semester.
If you are applying through the ISEP program, there are additional requirements, please ensure that you have a consultation before you proceed.
Study abroad at a non-partner university:
If the university you wish to study at is not a La Trobe 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 La Trobe degree. However, you will need to pay international fees directly to your host university and take a Leave of Absence from La Trobe during that semester. Study abroad is not a formal program and as such students enrol as an international fee-paying student at their host university. All administrative and academic arrangements need to be made on an individual basis with your home La Trobe academic college/s prior to participating.
Step 5 - Apply online
You need to complete and submit your application online by the deadline for this round.
Ensure to specify 3 university preferences on your application. Then, the following documents must be emailed to email@example.com once you have completed the online application:
- 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.
- Language proficiency letter - if any of your selected host university preferences require you to speak a certain level of a non-English language (refer to the individual web pages of the universities on our exchange partner website), you must provide a formal letter from your language academic that indicates your current level of proficiency in that language.
- Unofficial transcripts - These can be accessed through your StudentOnline. Please note that you may be required to also supply an original official transcript for your nominated host university application if required at a later stage.
- One Academic Reference Form completed by a La Trobe Academic (including casual academics, lecturers or tutors). As this is a confidential document, please ask your referee to email this form directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A La Trobe Abroad coordinator will be in touch to confirm which university you will be nominated to. Whilst we will strive to give your 1st preference, it may not always be possible. Please ensure that you have researched all 3 preferences and confirm that you will have sufficient subject options at each university.
- If you are applying through the ISEP program, there are additional requirements, please ensure that you have a consultation before you proceed.
- Your application must be complete to be considered.
Changing the order of your university preferences
If you wish to change the order of your preferences after lodging your application please contact La Trobe Abroad.
Two weeks after the application deadline, your La Trobe Exchange Coordinator will notify you via email whether your application into the La Trobe exchange program has been successful and which university you are nominated to.
Once accepted by the nominated university, you will receive confirmation and instructions on how to accept your host university offer. As universities around the world have different semester dates, this may occur between 1 and 3 months after acceptance into the La Trobe exchange program.
Next steps and pre-departure preparation
At this stage, your La Trobe exchange program acceptance and host university nomination should have been confirmed - congratulations! Along with your confirmation, you will receive instructions from your coordinator on how to apply for subject pre-approvals. Later you will be invited to attend 2 compulsory sessions - Next Steps and Pre-Departure.
Next Steps session and documents
Once you have been accepted into the La Trobe University exchange program, you will receive an invitation to the Next Steps session. During this session, we will give you information on your host university application and the conditions and responsibilities of taking part in the exchange program. This is a mandatory session.
Please note: due to universities around the world having different semester dates, you may still be waiting on your host university offer when this session occurs.
Soon after this session, you must submit the following documents before the upcoming pre-departure session:
(for Mobility Grant/SMS/other scholarship recipients – ISEP Exchange students do not need to submit)
|Exchange Proxy Form (optional but highly recommended)|
Pre-departure session and 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.
By this session you should have received your offer from you host university, if you have not please contact your coordinator.
After this session, please read through the Pre-Departure Guide. This guide contains important information to assist you with your preparations and throughout your journey.
You must submit the following mandatory forms at least 28 days before your departure from Australia.
Variation of enrolment (VOE) form - online
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 La Trobe.
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-La Trobe approved activity is limited to a combined maximum of 10 days before and after a La Trobe activity. You are advised to purchase your own travel insurance for any additional days of non-La Trobe 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
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.
Optional forms (due before departure)
(if applicable i.e. you have an arrangement with Centrelink and need to advise them about your exchange)
Supporting documents are also required
(if applicable i.e. you wish to change your mailing address while on exchange)
Departure tips and 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 before you depart.
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 days either side of a La Trobe approved credit-bearing international activity. You are advised to purchase your own travel insurance for any additional days of non-La Trobe 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.
- 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.
Take advantage of the Buddy Program where you’ll be matched with a La Trobe graduate (alumnus) based in your destination country. Get local tips on everything from navigating the public transport system to the best places to buy your coffee.
‘Having a buddy in my host country made me feel more confident moving to Malaysia for my semester exchange. Fara made me feel very welcome, helping me settle in and get the basic goods I needed for my residence. When I needed country-specific insights, her knowledge was invaluable.’ - Alyssa Brittnell, exchange to Malaysia.
Discover more about how the buddy program helps exchange students adjust to their new surroundings.
Arriving to and returning from your host university
Now it is time to enjoy all the hard work that went into preparing for your exchange! The next page will provide information on settling into your new life at your host university and what you need to do when you return home.