COVID- 19 Info for GSB Exchange Students

Main Covid19
Photo taken by Marlyse J.

When it comes to COVID-19, we understand that many of you may have questions about your exchange term. We hope this page will help answer some of them.  If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact our exchange advisors. Learn more about UVic's response to COVID-19.

Outgoing Exchange Advisors


Incoming Exchange Advisor


NOTEIf you are a student who is participating in an exchange via another faculty, we recommend you contact the International Student Services or your academic unit advisor for information pertaining to your particular exchange term.

Outgoing exchange FAQ

Will I be able to go on exchange?

Our GSB International exchange team is monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely as our students’ health and wellbeing is the main consideration for us. Our international office (and our partners) remain hopeful that things will be better in the future and exchange will be able to continue normally, but we do understand that exchange is subject to change and are monitoring the following issues closely:

Partner university policies with regard to welcoming incoming international students:

  1. Government policies regarding foreigners entering different countries and Canadians returning to Canada;
  2. Government policies for vaccinated and un-vaccinated travellers (Canada as well as partner countries);
  3. The possibility that UVic’s travel policy for outgoing students may change;
  4. The vaccination queue in Canada.

Our GSB International team will be in close contact with students, in case there are any changes in plans, and will notify and work with the student to pivot as required.

What if UVic announces that international travel is cancelled in the future?

For Fall 2020/Spring 2021, when UVIC cancelled international travel, BCom students were given the option to apply for "Special Authorization to Travel". Since exchange is a significant component of the BCom program, we are expecting the same option would be offered in future exchanges. There is an application process for “Special Authorization to Travel” and more information will be sent to students, if required.

That being said, please do research about your exchange destination and make sure to check the border restrictions and quarantine policies of your exchange location. Our partner universities may still be open for in-person exchange, but the borders may be closed for students from certain countries/nationalities.

If I no longer want to go on exchange after I have applied, can I cancel?

Yes. You will always have the option to cancel your exchange if you no longer feel comfortable traveling abroad, if it no longer works with your schedule, and/or other circumstances limit you from going on exchange. Due to COVID-19, we have also temporarily relaxed our deposit refund policy and will be giving full refunds on exchange deposits this exchange year.

If you do not want to fully cancel your exchange, and want to look into alternative options (such as deferring your exchange to the following year), please contact one of the Exchange Advisors.

What happens if my exchange university has cancelled their exchange term?

If your exchange university has cancelled their exchange program for the term, you may have the following options provided to you:

  1. Consider a virtual exchange option. If your exchange university offers that option as an alternative, we encourage you to look into it and take time to consider it.

  2. Look into an alternative institution to go on exchange to that term. What you will be offered will depend on the nomination/application deadlines of our exchange partners. Please note: due to capacity and deadlines, we cannot guarantee that this option will be provided to you or that you will be able to switch to another institution.

  3. Look into going on exchange in the following semester or year. Please speak to an Exchange Advisor if you would like more information on this option.

  4. Cancel exchange and take courses here at UVic. Due to COVID19, we have relaxed our deposit refund policy for exchange in 2021/22 and will be giving full refunds for cancellations this year.

Is it possible to do a virtual exchange (taking online courses at the exchange university)?

Yes, if our partner institutions offer a virtual exchange option, we encourage you to participate in it if you wish.  Although it is not the same as in-person exchange, it is still a great opportunity to gain cross-cultural experience, meet new people, and build international connections. There is also an opportunity to take a mixed load of UVic courses and exchange partner courses, if you choose this option.

If you are interested in seeing how this virtual exchange option will work for you at your particular exchange university, please contact an Exchange Advisor.

Can I switch my Fall exchange to a Spring exchange?

It is possible but options are very limited. Prior to COVID-19 (on a regular exchange year), we offered only five exchange university options for spring. Spring term dates at our exchange partners are often different from UVic's and unfortunately do not coincide with typical BCom program scheduling. For example, many of our exchange partners’ spring semesters go from February to June which conflicts with a summer academic term here at UVIC (May to August) . However, if you are interested in exploring the option and more information about this, please contact an Exchange Advisor.

Do I need additional health insurance coverage for COVID-19?

Yes, please make sure your travel health insurance covers COVID-19.  Your existing travel health insurance may cover it – but if it does not – then we suggest you purchase additional coverage that will cover COVID-19. Please review your health insurance policy carefully and become familiar with what your plan covers, how long it lasts, and where and how it works, this includes but is not limited to pre-existing conditions, high-risk activity, etc. 

NOTE: it is the student’s responsibility to purchase and organize their travel health insurance.

When should I purchase airline tickets and book accommodations?

We do not recommend you purchase any non-refundable items until closer to your exchange term or have received confirmation from the partner institution.  Unfortunately, due to the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation, we are anticipating we will not know if an in-person exchange will be offered at our partner institutions until closer to the start of term.

NOTE: As visas/study permits require time to apply and process, this does not include those items. If you are interested in pursuing your exchange term, please apply for visas/study permits early, with the understanding that you will not receive money back for it if your exchange is unexpectedly cancelled.

Should I apply for my visa/study permit now even though exchange is still uncertain?

Yes, if you are interested in pursuing your exchange term, please apply for visas/study permits early as these items will require time to process. Please contact your nearest visa office, embassy, or consulate to check the latest processing times in your region. When applying for visas/study permits, please understand that you will not receive money back if your exchange is unexpectedly cancelled.

NOTE: Depending on your exchange destination, visa applications may be closed or restricted during this time. If that is the case, please monitor your exchange country's official visa or government website to keep yourself updated with the latest information.