Top 3 International Student Exchange Programs in Canada

Studying in Canada can provide unique opportunities and insight into a truly unique and vibrant country. Canada's universities are some of the highest quality in the world, boasting a vibrant student life and act as hubs for international students from over 250 countries. One of the best ways to experience Canada's amazing academic institutions is to join a Canadian student exchange program. But which ones are the best? To help you find the right exchange program, this article fully breaks down the three Canadian student exchange programs and how to apply.

University of British Columbia (UBC)

University of British Columbia (UBC)

The University of British Columbia has various study abroad programs for international students under its Go Global exchange programUBC is also partnered with Tec de Monterrey in Mexico and invites a group of qualified students to study at the Vancouver and Kelowna campuses every year.

2023 exchange application deadlines

Event Deadline
Online nomination by the partner university Round 1: March 15, 2023
Round 2: August 25, 2023
Online exchange application and application documents submitted to Go Global. Round 1: April 1, 2023
Round 2: September 15, 2023
Online housing application Students coming for Term 1 & Full Year: May 1, 2023
Students coming for Term 2 & Split Year: October 1, 2023

How to Apply

Step 1: Check if Your English Levels Meet UBC Standards

English language proficiency is a requirement for admission to UBC, and you will need to provide proof of your proficiency in English through a recognized language test such as CELPIP, IELTS or PTE.

Step 2: Check Courses and Programs Available for International Exchange Students at UBC

UBC offers a range of courses and programs that are specifically designed for exchange students. Below are some of the discipline-specific exchange programs available at UBC for international students:

  • Study Law at UBC in exchange
  • Study Commerce at UBC on exchange
  • Study Engineering at UBC in exchange
  • Study as a graduate student at UBC on exchange
  • Study across disciplines at the Okanagan campus

Step 3: Complete the Online Exchange Application

The online application form can be accessed through the UBC website. You must provide personal information, your academic background, and your choice of courses and programs.

Step 4: Submit Your Application Documents

You must submit supporting documents along with your application, such as transcripts, a statement of purpose, and proof of English language proficiency.

Step 5: Apply for a Campus-Wide Login (CWL) Account

A CWL account is required to access UBC's online services, including course registration, email, and library services.

Step 6: Apply for Student Housing and Pay Your Fees

UBC offers a variety of housing options for exchange students. You can apply for on-campus housing through the UBC housing website. You will also need to pay the required fees for tuition and housing.

University of Manitoba (UM)

University of Manitoba

The University of Manitoba offers tremendous opportunities for international students in Canada. The university has two campuses and offers more than 100 study programs. You’ll be able to complete one to two semesters as an exchange student at the University of Manitoba.

Manitoba has breathtaking natural landscapes and a vibrant culture, so there will be plenty of things to do between semesters and on weekend breaks.

2023 exchange application deadlines

  • March 15, 2023: Nomination deadline (Early submission is highly recommended)
  • April 15, 2023: Exchange application deadline

For more information and application forms, visit the inbound student exchange website here.

How to Apply

Step 1: Check if Your University is an Exchange Partner.

This program is only open to students from the following universities:

Country University
Australia Australia Deakin University
Flinders University
Griffith University
Swinburne University of Technology
University of South Australia
University of Wollongong
Western Sydney University
Belgium Ghent University
Costa Rica University of Costa Rica
Denmark Aarhus University
France Clermont Auvergne University
Institut Polytechnique UniLaSalle
Université d’Angers
Université de Caen Normandie
Germany Fachhochschule (University of Applied Sciences) Osnabruck
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences
Technische Universitat Munchen
University of Greifswald
University of Trier
Hong Kong City University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Hungary University of Szeged
Iceland University of Iceland
Japan Akita International University
Kokugakuin University
Sophia University
Waseda University
Malaysia UCSI University
Netherlands Radboud University
Singapore Nanyang Technological University
South Korea Chung-Ang University
Korea University
Yonsei University
Spain Universitat Politècnica de València
Sweden Linkoping University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)
Umea University
Taiwan National Central University
Providence University
Turkey Yeditepe University
Ukraine Lviv Polytechnic National University
United Kingdom Cardiff University
University of Birmingham
University of Liverpool
University of Nottingham
University of Plymouth

Step 2: Contact your University’s Exchange Coordinator

Complete the exchange application process at your current university. Once you’ve completed your application, have the university exchange coordinator from your current university email your nomination form to UM’s exchange coordinator at If you are nominated for student exchange, you’ll receive an email from UM containing links to their application portal and instructions on how to apply.

Step 3: Complete and Submit Your Application

As part of your application, you must submit documents like your academic transcripts, a 5-course study plan, personal statement, and proof of English language proficiency. In addition, although you won’t have to pay any tuition fees, you will have to pay student organization fees (120 - 150 CAD each term), lab fees, field trip fees, and course books (100-200 CAD per course).

University of Calgary (UCalgary)

University of Calgary (UCalgary)

The University of Calgary, located in Calgary, Alberta, has several global partner institutions worldwide that offer international student exchange programs in Canada. As a result, over 200 international students make their way to UCalgary every year. There are several courses available for international students, from Accounting to Zoology.

2023 exchange application deadlines

  • March 1, 2023: Fall and Full Year nominations (priority deadline)
  • March 15, 2023: Fall and Full Year applications (priority deadline)
  • March 30, 2023: Fall and Full Year nominations (regular deadline)
  • April 15, 2023: Fall and Full Year applications (regular deadline)
  • September 15, 2023: Winter exchange student nominations (final deadline)

For more information and application forms, visit the UCalgary student exchange website here.

How to Apply

Step 1: Review Academic Restrictions

Firstly, you need to ensure you meet the academic restrictions. Next, check the program’s eligibility requirements to ensure you meet the minimum GPA requirements and have completed the necessary prerequisite courses.

Step 2: Nomination by your Home University

Your home university must nominate you for the University of Calgary exchange program. This involves your university submitting your name to UCalgary, indicating your interest in studying abroad as an exchange student.

Step 3: UCalgary Exchange Application

After being nominated by your home university, you must complete the University of Calgary exchange program application. The application process is online, and you must provide personal information, academic background, and other relevant details.

Step 4: Exchange Application Courselist

Once you have completed the application, you must select the courses you wish to take at UCalgary. You do this by submitting your exchange application course list.

Step 5: Upload your University Transcript

You must upload a copy of your university transcript to your UCalgary exchange program application. This will help UCalgary determine your eligibility for the courses you have selected.

Step 6: Submit English Proficiency Document

If English is not your first language, you must provide documentation to prove your English proficiency. For example, you can submit an English proficiency test score or a letter from your home university.

Step 7: Apply for On-Campus Housing

The University of Calgary offers on-campus housing options for exchange students. If you wish to live on campus, you must apply for on-campus housing as part of your exchange program application.

Step 8: Register for Courses

After UCalgary accepts your application, you can register for the courses you selected in your exchange application course list. Make sure you register for courses as soon as possible to ensure you get a spot in the classes you want.

Why do a Student Exchange in Canada?

Why do a Student Exchange in Canada?

For several reasons, going on a university student exchange program in Canada could be an excellent opportunity for you. Here are some of the top benefits:

Cultural Immersion

Canada is known for its diverse and welcoming culture, and going on a student exchange program can give you a chance to immerse yourself in this culture. You'll experience Canadian traditions, customs, and way of life and make new friends from different backgrounds.

Improve Language Skills

If English is not your first language, studying in Canada can be an excellent opportunity to improve your language skills. English speakers'll surround you and have the chance to practice your language skills in real life.

Gain New Academic Perspectives

Each university has its unique academic curriculum and approach to learning. Studying in Canada can allow you to experience different teaching styles and learn from different perspectives.

Expand your Professional Network

Studying in Canada can also help you expand your professional network. You'll be able to meet new people, including professors, classmates, and professionals in your field of study.

Personal Growth

Studying abroad can be a transformative experience that can help you grow personally and gain a new perspective on life. You'll be exposed to new ideas, cultures, and ways of thinking, which can broaden your horizons and help you become more well-rounded.

Going on a university student exchange program in Canada can be a life-changing experience that can help you grow academically, professionally, and personally.

What’s Next?

How To Get A Study Permit for Your Exchange

Student Visa

As an international student in Canada, you must have a study permit if you plan on studying in Canada for longer than six months. Suppose your student exchange program is only for one semester (four months). You may only need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to enter Canada.

Working Holiday Visa: International Co-op (Internship)

Another option is to apply for a visa through Canada’s International Experience Class (IEC) program. This is the perfect option if you need a work placement or internship to complete your study program. You will need a valid job offer from one of the 35 participating countries to qualify.

If you want to ensure you get your visa quickly and easily so you can start your exchange in Canada correctly, you could hugely benefit from the support of a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCICs). An RCIC can fill out your application forms, create your online profiles, represent you with certain immigration authorities and provide you with the guidance and support you need throughout your application process.


Student exchange in Canada

How do you Budget for Your Studies in Canada?

Ensuring you’ve budgeted for living and educational expenses while studying in Canada is essential. Below are some of the costs you should bare in mind before applying for your student exchange program:

  • Estimated Living Expenses: 6400 - 8400 CAD per term
  • Estimated Accommodation on-campus: 3,400 – 3,900 CAD per term
  • Estimated Grocery Costs: 2,000 CAD/term
  • Estimated Local Transportation - mandatory student public transit pass (U-Pass): 173.40 CAD per term
  • Mandatory iMED insurance for international students: Single-term exchange - 315 CAD per term plus a 10.34 CAD direct billing fee for iMED or Full-year exchange - 225 CAD plus a 10.34 CAD direct billing fee for iMED.
  • Estimated Academic Expenses: 500 - 700 CAD per term (UBC exchange tuition is usually paid to your home institution unless stated otherwise)

To help you budget for your studies in Canada, here's a quick breakdown of the cost to study in Canada.

What is Student Life in Canada Like?

Student life in Canada is famous for being comfortable, vibrant and supportive. However, there are many major aspects to consider when looking at Canadian student life. Here's a full breakdown of student life in Canada to give you the full picture. 

Ready to Start an Adventure of a Lifetime?

With so many amazing opportunities awaiting you in Canada, becoming an exchange student is a fantastic way to get started. However, ensuring you go through the process correctly can be the difference between getting in and not. One of the best ways to do this is to speak to a student advisor. Contact one of our student advisors today to see if you qualify for one of Canada’s international student exchange programs!