Prepare to come to UBC on exchange

Don't miss out on important steps as you prepare to come to UBC for exchange. Dates and deadlines will vary depending on which term you start.

Students starting in January 2021

Step 1: Send us your final course selections 

Go Global office will contact you about the final course request survey.

After you receive an email from us about the final course request survey, please follow the instructions and complete your course selection by the requested deadline. Your course timetable can be viewed at the Student Service Centre (SSC) after you have been registered.

If we do not receive your final course request survey by the deadline, you may be required to register in courses upon arrival in January. Many courses will already be full at this time.

Step 2: Read the International Student Guide

Find everything you need to know about life as an international student at UBC's Vancouver campus. See the UBC International Student Guide for important information and documents you're responsible for and resources that will help you navigate life as an international student at UBC.

Step 3: Pay your iMED and U-Pass fees

The easiest way to pay your iMED and U-Pass fees is by Visa or Mastercard on the Student Service Centre (SSC). Once you've logged in, select "Financial Summary". Fees will not appear on the SSC until you have been registered in your first class.

The SSC lists the due dates for your fees. If fees are not paid on time, your account will be placed on financial hold and charged a $30 processing fee, plus interest. You will not be able to make any registration changes, and we will not be able to issue your academic transcript.

Step 4: Apply to UBC Housing by October 1

If you're interested in applying to live on-campus you will need to apply to UBC Housing by October 1. Space is limited and you are not guaranteed housing as an exchange student.

In November, UBC Housing and Conferences will begin to process your application and will email Offers of Assignment to eligible students. If you receive on-campus accommodation, you must accept the offer and make any necessary payments by the deadline.

If you know your payment will not arrive by the designated due date, email to inform UBC

The front desk at the on-campus residences are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week for arrival and check-in.

Step 5: Organize temporary housing

If you will be living on campus and plan to arrive in Vancouver before residences open, you will need to arrange temporary accommodation. Students who do not make arrangements before they arrive may end up paying premium rates at a hotel, which can be up to several hundred dollars per night during December. The Jericho Youth Hostel is closed in December and January.

If you choose to live off campus, you are strongly advised to arrive at least two weeks before the start of classes to find a place to live. Please ensure you have a temporary place to stay until you find permanent accommodation.

Housing options and resources:

Step 6: Update your email address

Go Global and UBC Housing will use email as the main way to communicate with you. Please email Go Global and UBC housing if your email address changes. The email address you will be contacted is printed on your Go Global letter of acceptance.

Please add the following email addresses to your contacts or safe lists:

Step 7: Apply for your Study Permit and/or Temporary Resident Visa (if required)

Depending on where you come from and how long you stay, you may need a visa and/or study permit. Students who study at UBC for more than six months will require a study permit. Use your letter of acceptance to apply. For detailed information on immigration issues, please see the International Student Guide.

If you have any questions related to your immigration documents (study permit, eTAs and/or visas), please contact International Student Advising by emailing

Resources for coming to UBC

Academic culture at UBC

UBC's academic culture may be different from the culture at universities in your country. It is common for students to experience a drop in academic performance when on exchange at UBC. If this happens to you, don't worry. It takes most students time to adjust to a new academic environment.

You can make your transition to life at UBC smoother in the following ways:

  • Be aware that a dip in grades might occur, and don't panic if this happens.
  • Contact your instructor for tips on how to improve your grades.
  • Sign up for workshops and other academic support services on campus through the Learning Commons.

If you experience any difficulties adjusting to UBC's academic culture, speak with your faculty/departmental academic advisors, the Go Global advisors, or an International Student Advisor.