Exchange Programs are among the most immersive and affordable experiences USF has to offer. Students spend an entire semester or academic year attending one of USF’s partner schools. The cost of instruction is paid to USF, priced similarly to a full-time semester of resident tuition at USF—so a great deal for resident and non-resident students alike! In most cases, students are integrated into classes with local students and truly get a taste for living in their host country.
- Credits earned count towards residency hours at USF
- Extensive course catalogs available, open to all majors
- Cost of instruction is similar to USF’s resident tuition
- Control over your housing situation abroad (though we recommend using the accommodations suggested by the host school)
- Much of your USF financial aid award package can travel with you—but meet with a financial aid advisor to go over your specific award package
- Integration with local students and faculty member
- Extended period of study, between three and ten months depending on academic calendar of the host school
Exchange programs are competitive as the number of students USF can send abroad on an exchange program is limited to the number of students we receive from a particular program. Students are encouraged to begin planning their application well in advance and discuss their intention to exchange with their academic advisors to make sure they have room in their academic plan for a full semester abroad.
Application Requirements and Deadlines
Students submit the following items along with a completed online application with USF. To complete an online application, click on the “Apply Not” link on the specific program you wish to attend. Do not apply for more than three different schools at once.
- Personal Statement: A 500-word essay describing how this particular experience fits in with a student’s professional and academic goals. Students should be sure to give specific details about the host school they are applying to as well as any personal reasons for selecting the host country. The personal statement may be submitted in person or by mail to the Education Abroad Office in CGS101 or by e-mail to the advisor listed on the specific exchange program’s page.
- Letter of Recommendation: A letter from a faculty member or advisor that is familiar with the student’s academic history or aspirational goals. Letters should provide insight on the writer’s impressions of the student and how well they feel they’d fair abroad as an ambassador of USF and the USF. Students are encouraged to provide the letter writer with a copy of their personal statement or an outline of their goals to better inform the writer. Students should request this letter at least a month ahead of the deadline as it takes time to compose a quality letter of recommendation. The letter may be submitted in person or by mail to the Education Abroad Office in CGS101. If the letter writer prefers to send it by e-mail to the advisor listed on the individual exchange program’s website, it should be sent as a PDF attachment and include their signature and be printed on letterhead if possible. Students should not submit electronic copies of their own recommendation letters.
- Unofficial Transcript: Students may obtain an unofficial transcripts from OASIS (generated by Florida Virtual Classroom). They should print the unofficial transcript as a PDF and upload it to the online application. If selected for the experience, they will need to provide an official transcript, available through the USF Registrar’s Office.
- Passport: While a passport is not required at time of application, one will be needed quickly after being accepted. Passports should be valid for at least 6 – 8 months after the intended return date from the program and be in good condition. As ordering a new passport, or renewing an existing passport, can take upwards of six-weeks students should be sure to begin that process at time of application.
- Applications for Fall Exchange: Due February 15
- Applications for Spring Exchange: Due September 15
If the application deadline falls on a weekend, it defaults to the weekday before. Official notification of the exchange decision is provided the Friday of the first full week in the following month—see the program website for an exact date.
Things to Consider Before Applying
This advice will include the kinds of classes you should be looking for (out of major
electives, major electives, etc.), what semesters would be the best fit, and which
classes you should definitely take at USF (gateway courses, exist requirements, etc.).
Graduating seniors should not apply for an exchange program. You must have at least one semester remaining at USF after your exchange in order for your grades to return in time for graduation.
Who is eligible to go?
Applicants must be degree-seeking USF students with at least one-semester’s worth of USF coursework on their transcript at time of application (some school require more than one at time of application). Some schools require two semesters of USF coursework, so be sure to read the individual website’s program information for details. Students entering USF from one of our sister-State Colleges may be able to apply depending on the program, but should speak with the exchange program coordinator prior to applying to make sure. Graduating seniors cannot attend an exchange program, as you cannot graduate the semester you are abroad. Students must be in good academic standing the semester they apply and the semester they go abroad. If a student drops to academic probation, they must contact their exchange coordinator to discuss their options. Please see the program website for additional requirements such as language ability, GPA minimum, and additional term-requirements.
The Application Process
The exchange program is a three-phase application process.
- The first phase is your application to USF. This is completed on the Education Abroad website and includes the items listed under “Application Requirements and Deadlines” above. Students may complete the applications prior to the deadline, but they are not reviewed until after the deadline has passed. Students will be notified of the decision a few weeks after the deadline (see program website for exact date).
- The second phase is the nomination and subsequent application process to the host institution. While much of the information the host school will require mimics information provided to USF in phase 1, the host will need it in their own format. Students will also need to provide an official copy of their transcript—available through the USF Registrar’s Office. Student will need to supply a copy of their passport’s information page as well as a list of possible courses during this phase of the application. You will receive instructions for phase 2 directly from the exchange coordinator.
- The third phase includes immigration documents and other pre-departure items. Specific instructions will be provided directly to successful applicants.
Finding Courses and Housing Abroad
Every school has a different course schedule search. Please speak with the assigned exchange coordinator listed on the exchange program’s home page for details.
Housing varies from program to program. Students should see their specific program’s website to review the options offered by the host school.
After Being Accepted By USF
Students will be expected to log back in to their USF application to complete “Post-Decision” questionnaires as well as click the “Commit” button. Students should be ready to make the $500 deposit to hold their space on the exchange program.