A student hiking in the forest, enthralled by the trees
October 28, 2022
3 mins read

Going Global: Your options for studying abroad

Going Global

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2018.

Interested in studying abroad?

Maybe you’re excited by the idea of a new academic and cultural experience. Maybe it’s your chance to be on your own for the first time. Whatever your reason, from the moment you start thinking about any kind of international experience with UBC, Go Global is your best resource.

Whether you’re interested in 2 weeks of learning about urban forestry in Beijing, or 2 semesters of economics courses in Denmark, there’s a program for everyone.

Here are your options for learning abroad:


“Anything’s possible with exchange. You can cater it to however you want. Are you going for academic reasons? Do they have the best business school wherever you’re going to apply, or are you going there for family, or just to party, chill, and meet new friends? If those are your priorities, make sure you leave time for those things.”

Claire Song | Exchange: Seoul National University

Exchange is the program you’ve probably already heard about. Students live abroad and take classes at partner universities for a term or the whole year. Your credits transfer back to UBC, so this is your chance to live in and experience a different culture while still working on your degree.

  • Duration: 1 or 2 terms
  • Good for: Students looking for an immersive term-based academic experience
  • Timing: During school terms
  • Rates and fees: UBC tuition rates for a full course load
  • Transfer credits: Most credits transfer back

Summer Abroad

"Taking a glaciology course, we hiked on crevasses where Interstellar was filmed. We held the ice from glacier lagoon, surprised by the fact that the bubbles contained air from 800 years ago... We always take the environment we are living [in] for granted without thinking of how great the power inside the earth is."

Faner Chen | Summer Abroad: Danish Institute Copenhagen

If you like the idea of exchange, but you’re worried about it interfering with your ability to take those required courses during the regular fall and winter terms, apply for Summer Abroad. You can choose from over 60 programs.

  • Duration: 2 to 10 weeks
  • Good for: Students looking for general courses with a focus on cultural experiences
  • Timing: Summer
  • Rates and fees: Based on the partner university’s rates
  • Transfer credits: Most credits transfer back

Global Seminars

“We were doing a VR video about immigration stories and networks between Vancouver and Kaiping. It transformed quite a bit when we got there because a lot of the students had ancestral connections to the space so they actually got to meet family they’ve never met before and reconnect with their roots and figure out their heritage—that was really, really awesome to see and some people documented that.”

Ashley Chien | Global Seminar: Kaiping/Hong Kong (The Heritage of Chinese Migration)

Global Seminars are a little different. Students take a specific course, led by a UBC faculty member in an international location. It’s the combination of the location and the faculty member that really brings the course material to life! Class sizes are small and the focus is hands-on learning. Each course is unique in terms of location, length, and cost. There are new courses offered every year, as well as repeat favourites.

  • Duration: 2 to 5 weeks
  • Good for: Students who want a course-based experience with a UBC prof and UBC students
  • Timing: Summer
  • Rates and fees: UBC course tuition
  • Transfer credits: It’s a UBC course, so you get UBC credits

Research Abroad

“In research, you learn a whole bunch of hands-on skills and debugging skills, and just relevant experience that I took back with me that helped me find co-op opportunities down the line. I’m definitely very appreciative for that.”

Han Zhang | Summer Research: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Another option many students aren’t aware of is Research Abroad. There are opportunities in Science and Applied Science, Engineering, and some Arts programs. You’ll have access to projects, faculty members, and equipment beyond what’s offered at UBC. Undergraduate students can choose from over 15 Structured Research Programs. There’s also special funding available to certain partner countries.

  • Duration: 4 to 12 weeks
  • Good for: Students on an academic track who want research experience
  • Timing: Summer
  • Rates and fees: Based on the partner university’s rates
  • Transfer credits: No transfer credit is granted

So that’s the short version of what Go Global has to offer. Visit the international experiences page to search for study abroad opportunities.

If you want to read more student stories and tips on studying abroad, check out UBC Life's Going Global series!