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Learning Abroad

Learning Abroad

Learn abroad & enrich your education 

An experience abroad can be one of the most rewarding opportunities you engage in during your academic career. Taking your learning global provides you with unique opportunities for self-discovery and personal growth; it can also help strengthen and increase your understanding of cultural diversity and international issues.  

There are many ways to see and understand the world, including through an exchange or study abroad program or by volunteering or working overseas. It can hard work to find an international experience that's right for you but we promise that it will be worth the effort!

“Exchange has changed me as a person. It has made me more outgoing, confident and more interested in the world. I strongly urge every student to have the experience of learning in a different country...and exploring different cultures.”

Past Ryerson Study Abroad Student

Here are ways that you can get started:

  • Register for a Learning Abroad Information Session to learn about your options as a Faculty of
    Arts student.
  • Consider volunteering overseas. There are hundreds of organizations that offer short-term international experiences. Not all of them work with the best interests of communities and participants in mind, so do your research. Stumped? Contact us for guidance.
  • Consider working abroad. It takes a lot of effort, coordination and planning, but Working Abroad, opens in new window can be an amazing experience. 

There are two ways in which you can study abroad and earn academic credits towards your Ryerson degree: through an Exchange program or a Study Abroad program. With an Exchange program, a formal arrangement exists between Ryerson and the international host university. With the Study Abroad program, you can study at an international university that does not have a formal agreement with Ryerson. Here are the key differences between the Exchange program and the Study Abroad program.

Exchange Program Study Abroad
You apply to specific universities that have a formal, program – to – program exchange agreement. You apply to any university that hosts study abroad students, with permission from your Academic Program (see below).
Spaces are limited at each university, top candidates are selected by application and interview. You apply directly to the host university for acceptance.
You need to have a min 2.5 GPA to be eligible to apply. You must meet the host university’s eligibility requirements. 
Regular tuition is paid to Ryerson (5 course units per term). Tuition fees are not paid to the partner University.  Tuition is paid directly to the host university. 
You’ll work with your Program Academic Advisors prior to departure to get approval for courses you take on exchange. Courses are transferred upon receipt of an official transcript. You’ll select your courses and obtain your Program Department's approval, using the Ryerson Letter of Permission (LOP) form, to ensure that course(s) will be credited towards your degree upon return. 
Depending on your program, you can go for the Fall or Winter semester or for a full year.   You can go for the Fall, Winter or Spring/Summer term.
Administrative help is available through the Faculty of Arts Exchange Coordinator in the Student Experience Centre.

Administrative help is available through the host university's international office.

Students are eligible for OSAP while on Exchange

Students attending non-exchange partner universities are not eligible for OSAP.

Students must plan ahead prior to the experience.

Students must spend more time and effort planning for a study abroad experience than for an exchange.

Because your financial requirements will vary depending on your individual plans, the cost of living in the host country, and your personal preferences. Only you can determine how much money you will need while you’re away, though we do encourage you to check out google sheetthese cost estimates, external link based on country that Ryerson International has developed.

The first step is to draft estimates for what you expect your exchange semester/year will cost and refine it as you gather more information on flights, accommodations and day-to-day expenses. Start by creating a budget that reflects the costs of a typical semester in Toronto as your baseline so that you have something to compare it to as you weigh the costs and benefits of exchange. Next, draft an exchange budget. Include:

  • Tuition / Exchange students pay the tuition fees for a full course load to Ryerson University, subject to the established methods, payment deadlines and service charges, as would be normal if the student was spending the academic session at Ryerson.
  • Accommodations / The majority of exchange partners require students to be responsible for finding their own accommodations. Some of the partner universities have their own residences/ accommodations, in some cases students will find housing off campus. 
  • Travel, Insurance, Visa / Students are responsible for their own health insurance, travel expenses, and visas.
  • Food / Find a weekly or monthly estimate on food costs, and include this in your budget.
  • Other / Include all other typical expenses (cellphone, clothes, books, spending money).
  • OSAP and Exchange / Students can apply for OSAP for the year/semester they are on exchange. Your financial aid through OSAP is based on a formula that compares your educational costs to expected contributions from your parents/spouse (if applicable) and your own income and assets. OSAP will assess your file and provide you with your educational cost and your basic living expenses as if you were living away from home while on exchange. The formula does not take into account or cover your travel expenses such as your airline ticket, visa fees or health insurance. Note too that the difference in start and end dates at the Exchange University can sometimes result in an increase/reduction in the amount for which students are assessed in a given year.


While on exchange you remain a Ryerson student and in most cases are still eligible for the awards, scholarships, and financial assistance that you would be eligible for if you were staying in TorontoRemember that an award will help towards exchange, but neither OSAP nor an award will finance your entire time abroad.

Ryerson International offers a $2000 scholarship for select students participating in an exchange with one of our partner universities. Click here for more information on how to apply, as well as additional information on global learning from Ryerson International.

You are eligible to apply for the exchange program if you have a Clear academic standing and have a CGPA of at least 2.50 (in some cases higher depending on the university). These criteria are set to ensure that you will be prepared to thrive academically while on exchange. 

Students typically apply in January of their second year to go on exchange in their third year. Depending on your program and preference, you may go for a full year or a single semester. (The Winter semester is recommended for single – semester exchanges.)

Each of our exchange partners is linked with specific departments/programs in the Faculty of Arts. Click here to see which exchanges are currently open to students in your program. Please note that ALL Ryerson students are eligible to apply for University Wide Exchange Opportunities.

There are limited spaces available at each partner university, and the demand varies from one year to the next. Because student demand may exceed the number of spaces available, we ask you to choose your top three choices when applying. 

You’ll make your decisions based on a range of academic and non-academic factors. Start by listing the reasons you want to go on exchange and then ask yourself the following.

  • Is their program academically compatible with mine? 
    Make sure that the university you’re interested in offers courses you need to take towards your degree in the term(s) that you wish to go. 
  • How much will it cost to live there? 
    Although you pay tuition fees to Ryerson, you will pay for your travel, accommodation, meals, visas, medical insurance and all other exchange-related expenses. Living costs vary from one country to the next and from one student to the next. Click here for tips on estimating the cost of exchange. 
  • What types of accommodation are available?
    Some of our partners offer on – campus housing to exchange students. Partner universities that do not offer on – campus housing provide assistance in finding off – campus accommodations.
  • Do I need to speak a language other than English to study / live there?
  • Am I looking for a living experience similar to or vastly different from the one I’m living now?
  • How well do I deal with change? How ready am I to leave family / friends / the familiar for an extended period of time?

Students can apply for OSAP for the year / semester they are on exchange.  Your financial aid through OSAP is based on a formula that compares your educational costs to expected contributions from your parents/spouse (if applicable) and your own income and assets. OSAP will assess your file and provide you with your educational costs and your basic living expenses as if you were living away from home while on exchange. The difference in start and end dates at the Exchange University can sometimes result in a slight increase / reduction in the amount for which students are assessed in a given year as well. The formula does not take into account or cover your travel expenses, such as your airline ticket, visa fees or health insurance. 

You will need to discuss your degree requirements with your academic advisor upon acceptance into the Exchange Program to ensure you are selecting transferable courses. You will be expected to take whatever is considered a full course load at the partner university, which can range from 3 – 5 courses depending on the university. Since courses are deemed equivalent, five courses will be credited towards your Ryerson degree. You receive a transfer credit for courses completed abroad; the grades do not count towards your CGPA. However, your actual grades will appear on the transcript from the host university, and may be used for assessment of some scholarships and if you choose to apply to graduate school.

The visa application process varies by country and in complexity. The best place to access current and accurate information is directly from the host country’s embassy, consulate, or high commission. Remember, everyone’s circumstances are different. Don’t assume that a fellow student’s process will be the same for you. Your visa process is based on your citizenship, prior travel, your destination, as well as other personal factors. 

We advise that you wait until you have received official acceptance from the host university before purchasing a ticket. 

Are you interested in applying for an exchange program? Here are the steps in the application process.

  1. Register for a Learning Abroad Info Session / These sessions are offered year round, with large and small group sessions depending on the time of yearDue to the volume of inquiries, students are asked to attend a session first before booking individual meetings with the Exchange Coordinator.
  2. Research your options / Think seriously about what you hope to gain from the exchange experience. This will determine the most important factors for evaluating your options. Research the Exchange Universities, opens in new window affiliated with your program, brainstorm your options, talk with friends/family/past participants. Estimate your costs and learn more about the exchange destinations. 
  3. Apply to the exchange program / Your application has two parts. First, complete the online application on the Ryerson International, opens in new window website. Next, prepare your Letter of Interest. This is a 1.5 – 2 page letter, single space, business formatted letter that is addressed to the Chair of your program. In this letter you want to communicate why you are an excellent candidate for the exchange program. Simply put, you are explaining: Why an exchange? Why me? Why now? Why this school/country/program, etc. Ask someone who will give you honest feedback to read your letter, and double check it for typos, grammar and style. Don’t forget to sign the letter.

Submit the signed Letter of Interest and a printed / signed copy of your online Application by the last Friday in January to the Exchange Coordinator in the Student Experience Centre, POD 344J.  Short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview in February and will be notified of conditional acceptance by mid-March.

Deadline / Application to go abroad on exchange for the Fall 2018 semester or Winter 2019 semester are due January 31, 2018. Download this PDF filedocument for guidelines and important information on the application process.

Questions / Click here to email us.

Key Contacts