Next round of exchange: Semester 1, 2022. Applications open: Early 2021.
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 and 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 when you return.
Regardless if you are a domestic or international student, all students can apply and have access to many grants or scholarships to support you while you are overseas. Exchange gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture by living like a local 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!
- Go abroad for a semester or full year
- Choose from over 120 host universities in 33 different countries
- Most exchange universities teach in English
- Scholarships, grants, continued Centrelink payments and interest-free student loans are all available
- Complimentary La Trobe travel insurance
- Both domestic and international students can apply
- Undergraduate and postgraduate students can apply
- Open to students from all campuses
About the Experience
Studying overseas is fast becoming a rite of passage – one in four Australian undergraduate students participate in a mobility program during their degree. An international study program offers a myriad of personal, educational and professional benefits, which might turn out to be the single most memorable experience you’ll have at university! Explore options, read student stories, watch student videos and admire student photos in our LMS module: La Trobe Abroad – The Global Student Experience.
Watch Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar talk about the benefits of learning abroad:
Who is Eligible?
- You have completed at least 120 credit points for your current La Trobe degree or will have completed by the time you start your exchange, so you can even apply during your first year!
- You have at least a 65% WAM (see how to calculate your WAM here). Please note some partner universities have a higher requirement.
- You are enrolled in a La Trobe University degree at the time of application, the semester before the exchange, and also during the exchange program.
- You will be enrolled in an equivalent full-time study load of 45 - 60 La Trobe credits during each semester of exchange.
Please also refer to other important conditions
- If you fail one or more units in the semester before your exchange, you may not be accepted into the program.
- 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.
- Your subjects are approved for credit as part of the application process. 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 if you are eligible to participate in a 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.
Applying for Semester Exchange
Application dates are advertised a year before starting a semester 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 as early as possible.
Next round of exchange: Semester 1, 2022
Applications open: Early 2021
Generally speaking, second year is the best time to undertake an exchange program, so we recommend applying in your first year.
Step 1: Chat with us and Attend an Information Session
We hold information sessions during each semester and you are welcome to attend any of these without reservations. You are strongly encouraged to attend at least one.
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 sessions will be held via zoom. For a full list of sessions including access to past presentation recordings, please visit our Global Lounge page.
If you are not able to attend any of these sessions, we highly recommend that you contact us.
Step 2: Understand your Study Plan
It is important to make sure that you have enough space in your degree for a semester exchange program. Generally speaking, second year is the best time to undertake an exchange program, so we recommend applying in your first year.
During your exchange semester, your La Trobe subjects will be replaced by matching subjects offered at the host university. However, you might find that not all subjects in your course can be replaced with overseas subjects and some courses may have limited exchange options (see list below). It is your responsibility to check your course study plan and determine which subjects you can replace. Note, it is easier to replace elective subjects then it is core subjects. 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.
To help you understand your study plan, we have created a 13 minute How To video:
Some La Trobe courses with limited exchange options:
- 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.
- Podiatry students: Can study at Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, during semester one in third year.
- Social Work students: Can study at Malmo University, Sweden, during semester two of second year or an overseas Clinical placement later in your degree.
- Nursing & Midwifery students: Nursing can study at University of Edinburgh, Scotland, during semester two of second year. Midwifery students can study at Malmo University, Sweden, during semester two of third year. Please refer your LMS for information as Partner options may change. Overseas Short Programs (one subject) are also available.
- Psychology students: Single degree students can only study during semester two of second year. Please refer to the Study Abroad tab of your Psychological Science Student Portal on LMS for host universities and subject options. Overseas Short Programs (one subject) are also available.
- Occupational Therapy: Can use their first year second semester elective on an overseas short program or fourth year placement overseas. Please confirm with your course coordinator.
- 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 study electives as part of their Exchange program, core subjects may be limited by Australian accreditation requirements.
- Education: Best to use ‘Specialisation’ subjects for Semester Exchange and Overseas Short Programs (1-2 subject credit). Opportunities are available for School Placement programs overseas between 3rd and 4th year.
This is not a complete list and is subject to change. Please check with your course coordinator or contact us at email@example.com to discuss current options.
Step 3: Choose your Host Universities
Your next step is to start researching host university options that will suit your degree. La Trobe has over 120 partners across 33 countries so this research can take some time to narrow down your preferences.
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 2, you need to choose a maximum of three partner universities for each semester of your application.
Look for suitable replacement subjects offered at a host that fit within your La Trobe study plan. Keep a record of the subject weblinks and descriptions/syllabi of the exchange partner universities as you will need these to apply for pre-credit approval through SOMSAS (Step 5).
Also look at the chance of being placed at the partner (placement chance). Placement chances are affected by the number of inbound and outbound applicants each semester. 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.
You can only choose one partner with a limited or very limited placement chance for each semester of application.
You may also want to take into consideration partners that are eligible for additional funding such as the Strategic Mobility Scholarship or countries that are eligible for the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grants. For more information on available scholarships and eligibility criteria visit our Program Funding and Costs page.
International Student Exchange Program (ISEP)
La Trobe University partners with ISEP to provide our students access to more than 330 universities across 54 countries. This means our students can choose from more subjects and more locations around the world.
If you are applying through the ISEP program there are additional requirements, please ensure that you book a consultation with our ISEP Coordinator before you proceed.
Study abroad at a non-partner university:
If the university you wish to study at is not a current 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. Students enrol as an international fee-paying student at their host university and take a Leave of Absence from La Trobe during that semester. All administrative and academic arrangements need to be made on an individual basis with your home La Trobe academic college/s prior to participating. Note: as this will not be a La Trobe approved program, there may be other funding eligibility restrictions to consider.
Step 4: Submit your Application
Now you have three partner university preferences, submit an online application by the deadline for this round.
Then, once you have completed the online application the following documents must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Copy of Passport ID page. If you do not have a passport, then a copy of your Student ID card or Drivers licence.
- 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.
- Unofficial LTU transcript. These can be accessed through 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 email@example.com.
- If required, a 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.
- A La Trobe Abroad Exchange 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 book a consultation before you proceed.
- Your application must be complete to be considered for the La Trobe Abroad Exchange Program.
Changing the order of your university preferences
If you wish to change the order of your preferences after lodging your application and before the application deadline, please contact La Trobe Abroad.
After the application deadline, your Exchange Coordinator will notify you via email whether your application into the La Trobe Abroad exchange program has been successful and which university you will be nominated to. Then you can move onto Step 5.
Acceptance into La Trobe Abroad's Exchange Program
If you have been accepted into La Trobe Abroad's Exchange Program, congratulations!
Along with your confirmation, you will receive instructions from your Exchange Coordinator on how to apply for subject pre-approvals. Then, you will be advised of the Host University Application process and be invited to attend 2 compulsory sessions - Next Steps and Pre-Departure.
Please do not financially commit to travel arrangements until you receive your formal offer from the host university, refer to Step 7.
Step 5: Student Outbound Mobility Subject Approval System (SOMSAS)
To ensure subjects you study at a host university are credited back into your La Trobe degree, you will need to request pre-credit approval. This is completed in our Student Outbound Mobility Subject Approval System (SOMSAS).
Please wait for confirmation of which host university you will be nominated to before proceeding. You only need to complete one SOMSAS application for subjects at the host university you will be nominated to.
To complete an application, login to SOMSAS using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome (not mobile). If you are not on campus, type “students\” before your ID number.
You will need:
- Information and weblinks on your host university subjects, as saved in Step 3.
- An idea of whether you want credit approval for a core or elective subject.
Then, check out these handy resources to help you complete your SOMSAS application:
- SOMSAS Instructional Video
- SOMSAS Quick Reference Guide Semester Exchange [699KB]
- SOMSAS Student FAQs [224KB]
Once submitted, keep an eye on your student email account for progress updates as you may need to provide further information or add additional subjects. Assessment of SOMSAS applications can take several weeks to process.
Step 6: Apply for OS-Help Loan
Domestic students can apply for the Australian Government interest-free OS-HELP Loan and the amount will depend on the location of your program. The loan amount is added onto your HELP debt. Of course, it is not compulsory to take out an OS-Help lean but it is a great initiative by the Australian Government to help fund your experience.
You can apply for OS help loan once you have been accepted into the La Trobe Abroad exchange program and your subjects have been pre-approved for credit on SOMSAS.
Overseas study not in Asia
up to $7,037
Overseas study in Asia
up to $8,444
If you are doing Asian Language Study during your exchange
A supplementary amount of up to $1,123
For more information on the OS-Help Loan and other funding options, please visit our Program Funding and Costs page.
Step 7: Host University Nomination
Please note: Step 7, 8 & 9 may happen concurrently for some students.
Your Exchange Coordinator will formally nominate you to your Host University. Once your nomination is accepted by your host university, you will receive instructions on how to complete their application process
As universities around the world have different semester dates, this process may take several months after acceptance into the La Trobe Abroad Exchange Program.
Step 8: Next Steps Session
Your Exchange Coordinator will invite you to the Next Steps session as part of your acceptance into the La Trobe Abroad Exchange Program. 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.
You will also be sent login details for the International Student Information System (ISIS) to your official La Trobe student email. ISIS is your exchange program portal where you can access and upload documents relating to your La Trobe Abroad Exchange Program.
Soon after this session, you must submit the following documents before the upcoming pre-departure session:
Upload to ISIS
Email your Exchange Coordinator advising of the new upload
(for Mobility Grant/SMS/other scholarship recipients – ISEP Exchange students do not need to submit)
Upload to ISIS
Email your Exchange Coordinator advising of the new upload
Exchange Proxy Form (optional but highly recommended)
Upload to ISIS.
Email your Exchange Coordinator advising of the new upload.
Step 9: Host University Application
Once your nomination is accepted by your host university, you will receive instructions on how to complete their application process. As universities around the world have different semester dates, this process can take several months after acceptance into the La Trobe Abroad Exchange Program.
Once the application has been accepted by your host university, they will send you a formal offer to study on exchange at their university. You will need to accept this offer, then you can start booking your travel arrangements and researching the steps to apply for a student visa.
Please do not financially commit to travel arrangements until you receive your formal offer from the host university.
Step 10: Pre-departure Session
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 Exchange 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 as you plan for departure.
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 as part of Step 9.
We do not recommend that you book flights until you have received your host university acceptance and it is advisable to purchase a changeable or refundable fare. 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 the 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 . Some student visas can take weeks to obtain.
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. Insurance cover is limited to a maximum combined 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
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. The following are the main exclusions apply to LTU policies;
- Flying or engaging in aerial activities - other than as a passenger in an aircraft licensed to carry passengers;
- Self-injury and suicide
- Criminal and/or fraudulent acts
- COVID-19 related incidents (excluding medical treatment)
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Travelling against medical advice / unfit to travel
- Travel with the purpose to seek medical treatment
- Terminal illness
- High Risk Activities
- DFAT4 listed destinations
- Professional Sports (training for and/or participating)
- Recoverable costs
- Anything which would be covered by;
- any workers compensation legislation;
- any transport accident legislation;
- any government sponsored fund, plan or medical benefit scheme; or
- any other insurance policy
- required to be effected by or under law
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.
Join the Buddy Program
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.
Discover more about how the buddy program helps exchange students adjust to their new surroundings.
‘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
For answers to frequently asked questions about semester exchange, please read our Semester Exchange FAQs.
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.