Inbound students Study Abroad and Exchange at the University of Melbourne

Experiencing Problems?

While it is hoped that all students have a problem-free exchange, occasionally difficulties do emerge. It is therefore important to know to whom you can turn for help.

Common problems include:


Unexpected fees

As an exchange student you should not be charged any tuition fees at your host institution. If you are charged fees, please contact the international office at your host institution to query the fee. If this does not resolve the matter, please make contact with Melbourne Global Mobility immediately.

If you wish to take subjects at an institution affiliated with your host university, but not party to the exchange agreement with the University of Melbourne, you may be asked to pay fees. This often applies to affiliated language schools and students are advised to avoid such schools and locate suitable subjects at their host institution. If it is not possible to do this, and you are keen to take studies at the affiliated school, please contact Melbourne Global Mobility and we will mediate on your behalf. Note, however, that schools or institutes which are not party to an exchange agreement with the University of Melbourne are under no obligation to waive fees.

Note: although rare, student services fees which are levied by host governments cannot be waived for exchange students.


Problems with your subjects

You may find upon arrival that one or more subjects you had approved on your Melbourne Global Mobility study plan are unavailable due to either lack of enrolments, the temporary absence of a lecturer, timetable clashes or a last-minute change in the course program. If you do not have enough alternative pre-approved subjects on your Melbourne Global Mobility study plan, you will need to select new subjects and get them approved by your faculty(s) at the University of Melbourne. More information on how to do this is on the subject changes webpage.



Undertaking an exchange will introduce you to new methods of teaching, different ideas about your academic discipline and different workload expectations. While most exchange students do not have trouble adjusting, some students can find the changes disruptive to normal study patterns. If this is the case, and you feel you will need more time to adjust to the new environment, you might consider taking a reduced workload. Please remember your options:

  • for one semester overseas: a minimum of 37.5 points (preferably 50 points)
  • for one year overseas: a minimum of 87.5 points (preferably 100 points)

To learn the equivalent load at your host institution, please go to the credit load equivalents table.

Note: consult your Faculty advisor before altering your course load. You must ensure you are enrolled correctly and that any subject variations do not disrupt future study plans.



All institutions that have signed an exchange agreement with the University of Melbourne are obliged to assist Melbourne Global Mobility exchange students to find accommodation. If you are having difficulty securing appropriate accommodation, please make contact with the international office of your host institution for advice and, if this does not prove helpful, make contact with Melbourne Global Mobility.

Through Melbourne Global Mobility you can also contact other students on exchange at the same institution, or who have attended in the past, to seek further help.


Personal circumstances

If personal circumstances cause you to cut short your exchange in the middle of a term/semester, please contact Melbourne Global Mobility immediately. We may be able to negotiate alternative arrangements for you regarding things like assessment. As a matter of courtesy, it is also very important that you notify your host institution.


Feeling down ...?

Culture shock, the prospect of forming new friendship groups, an unfamiliar environment far away from home, the pressures of study - all these things can weigh heavily in the first few weeks of an exchange and it is important to realise that it is quite natural to feel down at times. It is also important to know where to turn for help should the need arise. Like the University of Melbourne, the partner institution will have counselling services, student societies, study groups and other various support networks to assist international students. Please approach the host institution international office for assistance and contact Melbourne Global Mobility should you want advice from others who have studied at the same institution before.

It is also good to maintain contact with friends and family back home. Send an occasional email, or pick up the telephone. Your loved ones will certainly want to learn how things are progressing and to hear news of your adventures.

Information about culture shock and suggested strategies for coping with it can be found on the culture shock webpage.


Mythbusters - Was it hard to meet people?


Language difficulties

Most host institutions in non-English speaking countries will have language courses available to international students. Sometimes there will be fees attached, but often the courses will be free to exchange students. These courses are intended as an introduction only, so that you can orient yourself more easily in the country. They will not be sufficient to enable you to study in the language.

If your language difficulties are effecting your study, in the first instance please approach the relevant lecturers. If your host institution has a history of international students, as many of our partners do, such difficulties may have occurred in the past and there will probably be processes in place to deal with the problem.



To be prepared in case of illness, all exchange students are instructed to have appropriate medical insurance in place. Please be aware of how to make claims on your policy, should the need arise, and get advice from the international office at your host institution about the best doctors and hospitals in your host city. The international office will also be able to advise about special consideration processes, should the need arise.

Note: it is also important to seek advice from a doctor prior to departure, so that you are prepared to deal with all eventualities in your host country. This is particularly important for students with a pre-existing illness. If you have not already done so, please read carefully over the health matters page.


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