Engineering Exchanges: Where the World Becomes your Classroom!

Image courtesy of the University of Waterloo


Prof. Chao Tan, Associate Dean, International

Cindy Howe, Administrative Coordinator, Engineering Exchanges



Welcome, Waterloo Engineering Class of 2026!!

The engineer of the future will need to be a truly global engineer where geographical boundaries will be of relatively minor importance, while communicating and working with engineers of all nationalities will be essential.  An international exchange could be your first step along this path!

What is an international exchange?

It’s a program that allows students to spend one or two academic terms at one of our international partner universities while earning credits toward their Waterloo degree.

International Exchange is available to all undergraduate students who maintain an overall grade point average of 70% or higher (depending on program) and, typically, takes place in your 3A or 3B academic terms (or both!!), or even 4A.  Normally, you will lose no time on exchange and will graduate with your class.

Why should you start thinking about it in 1A?

It’s a great opportunity that should be high on your list of things to plan for, but it needs preparation, organization, and forethought.  You could be among the 15% of your class who goes on this amazing adventure and learning experience.

What are some benefits of exchange?

Exchange will truly be an eye-opening and life-changing experience for you if you’ve lived most of your life in one country in one culture.  It can open your eyes to the outlook, traditions, and culture of your host country.  You will meet other exchange students from all over the world and make life-long friends and contacts.

The Faculty of Engineering has exchange partnerships with over 80 top-tier universities in about 30 countries.  You will need to decide which one best suits your needs; most of our exchanges are restricted in numbers, some are open only to certain disciplines of engineering. For some you need to enhance (or refresh) your language skills if the language of instruction is not English.  In some of our exchanges it’s the easiest to go for a one-term exchange, while for others, two terms, or even a full year including a work term may provide a better fit.

All this is a part of planning for your future, which could take you anywhere in the world!

To get started, visit our website “Engineering Exchanges” for all information, instructions, and forms you will need.  If you are on Facebook, look for the “UWaterloo Engineering Exchanges” group, which is open to both inbound and outbound exchangers and for those who have been on exchange, and is moderated by the staff in the Faculty Exchange Office.  It’s a great way to connect with students who’ve done what you want to do, or with students who are at Waterloo from a school or country where you want to go.

Most importantly, make an appointment to meet with Cindy Howe in the Faculty Exchange Office (Engineering 7, Room 7434; eng.ug.exchange.askus@uwaterloo.ca), who will review all your exchange options.

Don’t let this chance pass you by!  You will need more than a year of lead-time after completing the application process before you can go on exchange.

What about tuition fees?

You will pay your regular tuition fees to Waterloo.

Finally, exchange is great for fun, travel, and adventure.  You will visit parts of the world that stay-at-home students may not experience.  Don’t take our word for it; talk to the students who have gone, or read what one of them has to say:


“First of all, don’t shy away from it. I understand that there are many uncertainties involved with living in a totally new place and trying to figure your way around new people and new environments, however the experience is absolutely worth it. You may not realize it now, but even just trying a different education system and living in a new environment for a few months really helps you grow and improve your thinking overall. If you’re into travel, exchange is a once in a lifetime experience where you have so many opportunities to experience different places with the locals and pick up on new cultures and languages.”

– Subhan Atlas, Mechatronic Engineering, 3B study term at Lund University, Sweden

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