Frequently asked questions by Massey students planning to go on exchange

How the exchange programme works

How does the exchange programme work at Massey?
The Student Exchange Programme provides an opportunity for academic, cultural and personal development. Students pay tuition fees to Massey (for 60 credits of study per semester) to attend a partner university campus, and receive credit towards their Massey degree programme for the study completed at the host university.

The programme is individually driven, but the International Office at Massey facilitates the programme, assisting with student enquiries, offering guidance in identifying a university that meets academic and personal goals, coordinating the application process and liasing with the host university to nominate students for an exchange place.  Students are responsible for arranging their own flights, insurance, visa, accommodation and enrolment at the host university, and all other aspects of the exchange.  Staff at the Massey International Office and at the host university International Office provide assistance to exchange students.

The number of Massey students going on exchange to each partner university must balance the number of students coming to Massey on exchange from that university, and the International Office manages this.

Who is eligible to apply for an exchange?
Most Massey students can apply to participate in the exchange programme.  View further information about eligibility.

Will I get academic credit for my exchange at a foreign university?
Yes, you will receive a transfer of credit for successful study at the host university, provided the study meets Massey's requirements.  Before you go on exchange, you are required to obtain credit approval from Massey for your proposed study at the host university.  If you make any changes to the papers you actually study on exchange in comparison to your initial paper selection, you need to check with Massey that the new papers are appropriate for credit to your Massey programme.  You should also plan out the completion of your degree to ensure that you will be able to meet the requirements to complete your Massey degree if you participate in the exchange.

Do I enrol in papers at Massey while I am away on exchange?
No, you should not enrol in any papers at Massey during the semester you will be on exchange. The Massey International Office will arrange for you to be charged Massey tuition fees for your usual programme of study for the semester, and your Massey record will show that you are on exchange for the semester.  

The exception is that if you want to take a Massey distance paper while on exchange, you can enrol in a distance paper.  If the paper is part of your total 60 credits for the semester (i.e. you are taking the equivalent of 45 credits at the partner university), you will be charged Massey tuition fees for a total of 60 credits for the semester.  However, if the distance paper is in addition to a full-time workload at the partner university, you will be charged tuition fees for the distance paper in addition to 60 credits of exchange tuition fees.  If the distance paper has an exam, make sure you contact the Examinations office at Massey to make arrangements to sit your exam overseas.  Students who are NZ permanent residents but not NZ citizens need to be aware that they will be charged international tuition fees for a distance paper if they study a Massey paper by distance while overseas.

Is it possible to undertake an exchange in two different countries consecutively?
Yes, this is possible for undergraduate students.  We strongly recommend applying to both host universities prior to departure, so that the necessary paperwork can be completed while you are still in New Zealand.

It is not possible for postgraduate students to study at two different exchange destinations, as only one semester of exchange is permitted.

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When to go on exchange

When is the best time to go on exchange?
For undergraduate students, the best time to go on exchange is during the second or third year of your Massey degree programme.  Students who want go on exchange in their final year should check that they will be able to meet Massey's requirements for completing their degree and all major/minor requirements (e.g. students are usually required to complete 30 x 300-level credits in their major at Massey, or 60 credits of their final year if enrolled in an Honours programme).

Postgraduate students can apply to go on exchange for a maximum of one quarter (25 percent) of their degree, which is usually one semester. Postgraduate students are not able to undertake research while on exchange, but should study internally taught papers at the host university.  This usually means it is best to go on exchange during the first year of a postgraduate programme.

Exchange duration

How long can I go on exchange?
Undergraduate students can apply to go on exchange for one or two semesters.  Postgraduate students can apply to go on exchange for one semester only. 

To gain the most out of an exchange experience, undergraduate students should consider an exchange for the full academic year (i.e. two semesters, approximately 9 months). This will give you more opportunity to settle into the new university environment, local city or town, establish long-term friendships and gain a better understanding of the local culture and lifestyle.  Most of Massey's partner universities permit exchange students to study for one or two semesters starting in either semester.

Deciding where to go

How do I decide where to go on exchange?
Students should choose their host institution from the list of Massey's current exchange partners.  It is not possible to go on exchange to a university that is not one of Massey's existing exchange partners.

Check the "Subjects offered" links on the "Where can I study" page (above) for information about which partner universities offer various subjects.  As not all partner universities are included in these links, ask the International Office for advice on universities for your subject area/s.

All exchange destinations have merit and where you choose to study will depend on your personal preferences.  When considering a host university, you may like to consider the kind of location you're interested in (big city, smaller town, coastal, mountainous, climate, career contacts, etc) as well as the type of university you'd like to experience (e.g. large or small campus, clubs, sports, or other activities available, etc).  Cost of living and the cost of travel to and from that location may also be factors. 

Testimonials from previous Massey exchange students will give you an idea about other students' experiences and may help you determine which university is a good match for you.

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Selecting papers to study on exchange

How do I choose papers to study on exchange?
Students are required to study full-time at the host university while on exchange.  Follow the country and university links from the "Where can I study" page for information about a usual full-time workload and levels of study at each of our partner universities, and contact the International Office if you are unsure.

Students are recommended to take electives on exchange, where possible, as this allows the most flexibility for the papers that can be studied on exchange.  If you wish or need to study papers to credit towards your major or minor, you will usually need to select papers at the partner university that are very similar to papers offered at Massey.  Check the host university course catalogue for papers that are similar to what you would study during that semester here at Massey.  Read the course descriptions to determine if the papers are similar to your Massey papers.

We strongly recommend that students do not plan to take any compulsory/core papers during their exchange, as many partner universities cannot guarantee enrolment into any specific papers before the student arrives on campus.

When selecting papers, make sure you check that the papers are likely to be offered in the correct semester (Winter/Spring/Semester Two in the Northern Hemisphere equates to Massey Semester One, and Autumn/Fall/Semester One equates to Massey Semester Two).  The course offerings may not be available for your intended exchange semester at the time when you are planning your exchange.  Use the catalogue for the same semester the year before (e.g. Fall 2013 if intending to go on exchange in Fall 2014) for a guideline of the papers that are likely to be available.   

Also check the prerequisites for any selected papers to assess whether you are likely to be eligible to enrol.

Cost of participating in exchange

How much will my tuition fees be to participate in the exchange programme?
Massey students pay the usual tuition fees for 60 credits of study in the degree programme they are enrolled in at Massey, while studying at the host university. Tuition fees can continue to be paid to Massey by StudyLink if you qualify for StudyLink assistance.

Students may be required to pay non-tuition fees (such as student services fees) to Massey or to the host university.

What about other costs?
The other costs of the exchange vary by location.  Students are responsible for meeting all costs of the exchange, and should complete a budget to ensure they have sufficient funds to pay for return flights, visa application fees, health and travel insurance, accommodation and meals in the host country, study materials and textbooks, personal expenses, local transportation, and any additional costs for leisure or travel.  Most partner universities provide estimates of costs for prospective international students on their website.  Click here for more information about estimating the costs of the exchange.

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Scholarships

What scholarships are available?
Please refer to the scholarships page for detailed information on all scholarships and grants available to assist with an exchange.

StudyLink

How do I apply for a student loan or allowance when going on exchange?
You will need to complete a StudyLink Overseas Study Application Form in addition to your usual StudyLink application. For more information, please see Getting ready to go.

Will I incur interest on my student loan while I'm overseas on exchange?
University students who go overseas on a formal exchange should meet the criteria to continue receiving an interest-free student loan for the period of their study overseas.  Once you have received an offer of admission from your host university, make sure you complete the Overseas Study Application Form.  If you are likely to be overseas for over six months, the Student Mobility Coordinator will inform IRD of your semester dates at your host university.

If you have returned from your student exchange and did not complete an Overseas Study Application Form before departing, or if IRD has informed you that you will be charged interest on your loan because you have been overseas, please contact us.  We have a template letter we can send to IRD confirming you were participating in a recognised exchange programme and meet the criteria for an interest exemption.

For more information on the criteria for interest exemption while studying overseas, visit the IRD website.

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Accommodation

How do I organise accommodation for my exchange?
Once you are approved for exchange by Massey, you will need to start looking at the accommodation options available at the host university. You should contact the accommodation officer (or equivalent) of your host university to organise your accommodation. Normally the host university will give you information about accommodation application procedures when you submit your application for admission. As the application process varies between universities, check the accommodation website for your host university as early as possible to find out when you should apply for accommodation.

Please keep in mind that Massey University has no influence or input in accommodation procedures, and all queries in this regard should be directed to the host university.

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Obtaining a student visa

Massey exchange students are responsible for ensuring they meet the immigration requirements of their host university and country.  Check whether a visa is required by consulting the embassy or consulate of the country for your intended study. You can find a list of embassy contacts for some countries here.  Your host university will usually also provide you with information about visa procedures for their country.  Make sure you apply for a student visa well before your intended departure date. 

As immigration rules and procedures can change, students should always check with the appropriate visa-issuing authority if they have any questions about immigration, and not rely on the advice of any other (non-official) person.

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Before departing for exchange

Refer to the 'Getting ready to go' section of this website for a list of necessary steps to take before you embark on your exchange.

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While on exchange

Once you are on exchange, the host university's International Office will be your first point of contact for any support needs or questions that you have while attending that institution.  However, please do contact the Massey International Office directly if you have any concerns or issues that cannot be addressed by the host university, and we will endeavour to assist you as much as possible.

What if I need to change papers from those agreed upon, once I arrive at the host university?
You need to contact Massey to check if the papers proposed still meet the requirements of your degree at Massey.  Email studyabroad@massey.ac.nz to request updated credit approval.  Ensure you provide your full name and ID number, the list of papers that you were approved to study, your new list of papers, and detailed course outlines for any new papers you plan to study. 

Can I extend my exchange for another semester, while I am at the host university?
If you are an undergraduate student who is initially on exchange for one semester, it may be possible to extend your exchange duration for another semester.  You should contact the Massey International Office as soon as you consider this decision.  You will need to arrange updated credit approval for your proposed second semester of exchange.  The Massey International Office will also need to check whether the host university approves the extension, and take into consideration the current exchange balance between the two universities.  It is preferred that you notify us no later than mid-way through your first semester of exchange, so the necessary arrangements can be made.

How do I access my money while overseas?
There are a variety of ways to manage your money while abroad. Many banks and other organisations (such as Travelex) provide a travel card, which allows you to "store" a certain amount of money in a foreign currency so you avoid paying conversion fees each time you get cash out.  It is also possible to set up a bank account overseas, and in many countries this is quite straightforward.  Your New Zealand bank may be able to open an account for you at their partner bank in the destination country (for example, ASB with HSBC). The host university international office may be able to provide some advice on banks and money matters.

How can I share my experience with other students?
You can join the Massey University Student Exchange Facebook group to post messages to other Massey exchange students, or set up your own blog so that other students can read about your exchange experience.  We also ask all exchange students to write a report on their exchange, which we may use (with your permission) as a testimonial on our website.  You may also like to consider other ways of sharing your experiences, such as giving a brief presentation at a student exchange information seminar, or being a contact person for other Massey students interested in going on exchange to the same location, who may appreciate your advice.

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On return to Massey

What do I need to do when I return to Massey?
On return you should contact the International Office so we know that you have returned safely. As part of your acceptance into the exchange programme, you are required to submit a report on your experiences. You will be contacted at the end of your exchange with a request to provide this report.

How do I organise credit for papers studied overseas?
On return to Massey, your academic transcript from the host institution will be sent directly to the International Office at no charge to you. In some instances, you are required to sign a release form at the host university, prior to returning home. The International Office will forward your transcript to Massey Academic Services and they will organise the transfer of credit from your overseas studies to your Massey degree. You do not have to complete the Credit Application Form, as this fee is waived for exchange participants.

If you receive your transcript directly from your host university instead of via the Massey International Office, please contact us to check whether we have also received a copy, as we will need to see an original transcript in order to arrange your credit transfer.

Do I receive a grade on my Massey transcript on return to Massey?
No, you will only receive a credit on your academic transcript at Massey for your successful study at the host university. Grades cannot be transferred due to the differences in the educational grading system amongst universities. Credit on your transcript counts towards your eligibility for graduation but does not contribute towards your Massey GPA.  You will have your host university transcript to keep as a record of the actual courses completed and grades achieved during your exchange.

If you intend to study honours or postgraduate studies and need to maintain a certain grade point average, check with your Massey College about how your proposed exchange will affect your eligibility for further study.

If I am graduating at the completion of my exchange period, what do I need to do?
You should complete a graduation application.  Please contact the Massey International Office if your graduation application date is near and you have not yet received your transcript from your host university.

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