You see this word so many times in your school email inbox and your seniors constantly mention it with a faraway look in their eyes. Any guesses as to what that word is? Yep, EXCHANGE. But given the different combinations it comes with, which one does one choose? Local exchange or summer programmes?
Do you know that your four-year University degree allows you to study at another institution of choice for one semester or more? Although you still have to pay your SMU school fees for the semester, you really can pack your bags and go off to study at one of our partner universities either here in Singapore or literally all over the world!
Local exchange? What is that? You mean people want to study in a Singapore University other than SMU? Apparently, yes. Since 2001, SMU, NUS and NTU established the Singapore University Student Exchange Programme (SUSEP) that allows students to spend a semester in either of the three universities (we can practically hear some people going “YES! I can finally get a taste of hall life and lecture halls!”)
SUSEP usually lasts a full semester at the partner university or you can even negotiate a partial exchange where you can take a few modules in NUS/NTU and the rest in SMU. You just have to ensure that the courses can be mapped back to SMU and that your exams don’t clash! Also, good luck with the traveling.
Fancy yourself an overseas exchange to far-flung countries to experience foreign education? Ever wanted to travel to Europe but never had the opportunity or correct excuse to give your parents? Well then, you’re in luck! The International Students Exchange Programme (ISEP) needs no introduction. SMU has partnerships with schools all over the world, be it in neighbouring Southeast Asia, sunny South America, or freezing Scandinavia. You will be spoilt for choice attempting to choose your university, but do remember to keep in mind that certain schools in certain countries have different academic semesters from SMU that could require you to take a Leave of Absence (LOA). So be careful to make sure to plan your exchange in the right semester.
Summer holidays in SMU stretch from mid-April to mid-August. Although waking up at 1pm and playing PokemonGo till 5am in the park below sounds positively fun, an overseas Summer Programme might be fun as well (might). The terms for Summer Programmes are a little different, so depending on the type of programme, the fees you pay might differ significantly too. While some will require you to pay the full amount to your host university, others may request for you to pay the SMU equivalent of a summer term instead.
SMU offers a variety of programmes with many universities, including McGill University in Canada, University of St Gallen in Switzerland, and University of Cambridge (School of Social Sciences) in the UK. Just keep a look out and an aggressive filter for Summer Program emailers.
If you are still not satisfied with the selection of partner universities that SMU offers, be rest assured that you have the choice to take up external studies at an institution of your choice. However, please be warned about the amount of paperwork you will have to endure along with having to apply directly to the host university, and ensuring that you are able to map your course credits back to SMU. The school fees charged by that university and other living costs are also entirely borne by you.
Application for ISEP is usually February 15th for Fall Semester (Term 1 of the next Academic Year in August) and September 1st for Spring Semester (Term 2 of the same Academic Year in January). You can attend the briefing by the Office of Global Learning before your application (look out for the email).
SUSEP’s application period typically falls between mid-March to mid-April for enrolment in Term 1 (August) and early October to end October for enrolment in Term 2 (January).
SMU assesses your application based on your GPA, overseas experience (students who did not have a chance to go overseas with SMU get a higher priority) as well as the extent of CCA involvement! Year 1s and students who are in their last year of study are unfortunately not allowed to apply for exchange.