Go Global

Go Global

Being a UBC student doesn’t mean that you need to stay in British Columbia. Through Go Global, UBC offers a variety of ways for you to explore the world while earning credits towards your degree.

Whether you want to live in Scotland for a year, spend a summer semester in Costa Rica or complete a global health practicum in Ghana and Zambia, there are plenty of international study options through Go Global.

The Go Global exchange program gives you an opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture, experience international issues and ideas in the real world, and connect meaningfully with people in a host country as a student — not just as a tourist. It also allows you to gain confidence, take courses not offered at UBC, and pay UBC fees in an international setting.

The following are the programs that Go Global offers.




With Go Global’s Exchange program, you can travel and study in another country for a term or more while earning credits towards your degree. For example, you can explore pre-med or pre-law at Scotland’s University of Aberdeen or choose to go to Monash University at one of its campuses in Melbourne or Kuala Lumpur.

Find an Exchange experience (Okanagan)

Find an Exchange experience (Vancouver)


Summer Abroad 


In the Summer Abroad program, you can spend the summer studying in another country—like France, India or Costa Rica—have fun, and experience a new culture without interrupting your winter semester course load. You can also add a summer term before you begin your winter Exchange program.

Find a Summer Abroad experience (Okanagan)

Find a Summer Abroad experience (Vancouver)


Research Abroad


As a UBC student, you are eligible to conduct research at many of UBC’s 150 partner universities. You can get hands-on research experience at a university abroad and build non-credit work experience over the summer.

You can visit Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and conduct research in a laboratory on the shores of Lake Geneva and at the foot of the Alps. Or you can build research experience at the University of Tokyo while taking part in Japanese cultural activities.

Find a Research Abroad program (Okanagan)

Find a Research Abroad program (Vancouver)


Global Seminars


Global Seminars offer you the chance to take UBC credit courses taught by UBC faculty members with a group of other students in an international location. Global Seminars are unique UBC courses involving engagement with partners in another part of the world. They run in the summer and are each unique in terms of location, course content, length and cost. For example, you can study geographical migration patterns in Spain and Morocco or learn about sustainable food systems in Italy.

Find key dates and previous global seminars (Vancouver)

Find key dates and previous global seminars (Okanagan)


International Conferences and Special Programs


Through partnerships and memberships with international learning organizations, Go Global occasionally offers a range of international programs beyond Exchange, Summer Abroad, Research Abroad, and Global Seminars.

Find an International Conference or Special Program


Find more information and talk to a Go Global Advisor:


Go Global UBC Vancouver



Go Global UBC Okanagan



What to do if your study permit hasn’t arrived yet

What to do if your study permit hasn’t arrived yet

This blog post will be updated as new information becomes available. Check back regularly. 

Last updated: August 25, 2022 

We know that waiting for your study permit can be very stressful. We understand that you’re excited to start classes in September. However, it’s important to wait until you have all of your documents ready before coming to Canada. 

Here are some steps you can take if your study permit does not arrive on time.


Study permit processing times right now

For a number of reasons (post-COVID challenges, recent world events), the Canadian government is taking longer than usual to process study permits. 

UBC is aware of the situation and has reached out to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to encourage faster study-permit processing times. 

Unfortunately, there is no way to get your study permit process rushed. And UBC is not able to influence processing times or contact IRCC on your behalf. We know how frustrating this must be for you.


Wait for your “Letter of Introduction”

It’s important to wait until you have all your documents before coming to UBC. Do not travel to Canada before you receive your “Letter of Introduction” (study permit approval letter) from IRCC. The “Letter of Introduction” is what you’ll present to the officer at the airport or border in Canada to get your study permit.


If your study permit isn’t processed before classes start on September 6 

Most courses at UBC are designed for in-person attendance, and you need to attend from the first day of classes if possible. However, UBC is determined to support you if your study permit isn’t processed in time. The options available to you will depend on your specific program. Options might include your professors finding ways to help you keep up with the course materials if you’ll be arriving late, like class recordings and other support. In some programs, deferrals may be an option to consider. Your program’s advising office is the best place to support you in what options may be available to you.

Check with your academic advisor directly to find out what your options are:


Online courses

If you are unable to attend in person due to a delay in the processing of your study permit, you may be able to start some courses online. This option depends on the courses you are enrolled in and the specific policies developed by your faculty. If you are not sure if online courses are an option for you, check with your academic advisor:

Please note: If you start your courses online, this does not guarantee that you will be able to continue your studies if your study permit is then not approved.


Online courses and your PGWP eligibility

The temporary distance learning measures for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) have been extended to August 31, 2023. This means that 50% of your studies can be completed online outside Canada and you’ll still remain eligible for PGWP.

Deferring your start date

If you aren’t able to make it here for your September 2022 classes because of study permit processing delays, you may request to defer your start and begin your studies at the start of a future term.  

You’ll need to complete the request form and submit it to UBC as soon as possible, and when you’re able to defer until will depend on your faculty. 

If your deferral request is approved, any payments already made to UBC can also be deferred toward your future tuition fees.


Arriving late for student housing

If you had secured UBC student housing for September 2022 and you need to defer your start date, email UBC Student Housing at information@housing.ubc.ca (Vancouver campus) or information@housing.okanagan.ubc.ca (Okanagan campus) to let them know.  

Your housing deposit may be transferred to a later start date or refunded in full if you choose to cancel your spot in student housing. 

  • By September 2 – full refund, with no cancellation fee 
  • Between September 3-19 – pro-rated refund based on date you cancel, no cancellation fee 
  • After September 20 – you will pay a cancellation fee of 25% of the contract 

More information about student housing cancellations and refunds can be found at: 


Arriving late for Jump Start 

You can arrive any time during the week of Jump Start (Okanagan campus, Vancouver campus). Group leaders are prepared to support you if you arrive partway through the orientation program. 

If you are not able to participate in Jump Start at all due to study permit processing delays, Jump Start can issue a refund or credit for both the orientation fees and the housing fees for that week. To request a refund: 

If you have questions about arriving late for Jump Start, you can email: 


Course drop/withdrawal dates

If you decide you have to drop or withdraw from your courses, you’ll want to keep these deadlines in mind:

To find out how you can get a refund of your tuition fees, visit: 


More information 

Find out more about what you can do if your study permit isn’t processed in time: 

Imagine UBC orientation on the Vancouver campus

Imagine UBC orientation on the Vancouver campus

On September 6, join thousands of new-to-UBC students and hundreds of volunteers for Imagine UBC, your orientation event that celebrates the start of the academic year. For most students, Imagine UBC replaces the first day of classes.

By early September, you’ll receive an email with your personalized Imagine UBC schedule, where students will be invited to attend a variety of events throughout the day.

What to expect: new students

If you’re a first year or transfer student Imagine UBC is an incredible opportunity to:

  • Make new friends
  • Meet student leaders, professors, and the Dean of your faculty
  • Find out about services and resources
  • Learn all the ways to get involved at UBC

Over the course of the day you’ll connect with a small group of other new students from your Faculty, check out hundreds of booths hosted by current students for UBC’s clubs and organizations, and start to find your place at UBC. New students will receive an email by early September with their personalized Imagine BC schedule.

What to expect: returning students

Learn more about your department or program, stop by the Main Event to explore hundreds of UBC clubs and resources, and feel the energy that comes with the start of a new academic year! Returning students will receive an email by early September with their personalized UBC schedule.


No matter who you are and what you are interested in, there is something for you at Imagine UBC.

– Indra Hayre, Arts student



If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to orientations.info@ubc.ca.


Heading to UBC’s Okanagan campus? Check out the details for your Create orientation!




Create orientation on the Okanagan campus

Create orientation on the Okanagan campus

Before you hit the books on your first day at UBC Okanagan, join other new-to-UBC students on campus for Create on September 5! Create is a day-long orientation event designed to welcome new students like you to the close-knit UBC community.


What to expect

You’ll get to know your learning community, a small group of other UBC students from your degree or faculty. Together, you’ll:

  • Meet your fellow students: Join with your Orientation Leader and a small group of fellow first-year students from your faculty, and take part in social events to have fun and make new friends.
  • Enjoy an official welcome: Hear from UBCO leadership in a welcome ceremony, and have a chance to show your UBC Okanagan school spirit!
  • Join workshops and information sessions: Hear from campus experts about their services and personal experiences to help shape your UBCO journey.
  • Tour the campus: Take a guided tour of campus and locate all the essentials.


Who can attend

All new first-year UBC Okanagan students are encouraged to attend Create.


How to register

Register for Create – the first day of class will be here before you know it.


Are you a student at UBC Vancouver? Check out the details for your orientation, Imagine UBC.



UBC Collegia on the Vancouver campus: A home away from home for commuters

UBC Collegia on the Vancouver campus: A home away from home for commuters

If you’ll be commuting to campus, you’re part of the majority: more than 75% of students on UBC’s Vancouver campus bike, drive, or take transit to campus. As you begin to think about your first year at UBC, you may be wondering where you’ll be able to warm up your lunch, relax between classes, or meet people.

UBC Collegia on the Vancouver campus provide all of this and more. Each space has a kitchen, comfy couches, and friendly advisors who are happy to chat and help you settle into life at UBC. There are also lots of activities designed to connect you with new friends, on-campus services, and peer support.



What you’ll find in your Collegia

In your first-year Collegia, you can expect:

  • Bright, open space with floor-to-ceiling windows
  • Kitchen facilities with an oven, microwaves, refrigerators, small appliances, dishes, and cutlery
  • Study spaces with desks, lamps, and shelves
  • Comfortable lounge chairs, sofas, and fireplace
  • End-of-trip facilities including showers and lockers
  • Secure Wifi and plenty of outlets to charge your devices
  • A social area with board games, cards, and activities


Vancouver Indigenous Students’ Collegia

The Vancouver Indigenous Students’ Collegia is a community for self-identifying Indigenous students of all years, both undergraduate and graduate, to meet one another, connect over their experiences at UBC, and learn from upper-year peer leaders and faculty members.

First-year Indigenous students will have access to both a first-year Collegia community as well as the Vancouver Indigenous Students’ Collegia community.


What students are saying

“I always feel welcome when I visit Collegia, which is almost every day. It is an amazing place just to take a break from a hectic school day or to just visit and socialize.”

– Collegia member, first-year Arts, Vancouver campus

“UBC Collegia was a space where I could catch up with friends during the day and study in the evenings. I got a good head start on getting involved, learning about the resources on campus, and getting myself to delve out of my comfort zone. Overall, I definitely feel more equipped to venture off to second year with the start UBC Collegia provided.”

– Collegia member, first-year Science, Vancouver campus


How to get involved

If you’re a first-year commuter student on UBC’s Vancouver campus and you’re interested in Collegia, register now to secure your spot. Registration closes on August 31, 2022.

If you are an Indigenous student who has self-identified on the SSC, then you will be automatically granted access to the Vancouver Indigenous Students’ Collegium in the fall!

Health insurance at UBC

Health insurance at UBC

Medical insurance and health coverage are important topics for all new students – whether you’re coming from another province or territory, or from across the globe. As a UBC student, you must have both basic and extended health insurance coverage. Here’s a quick look at what steps you need to take.


How do I get basic health insurance?

BC students

If you’re a resident of BC and currently covered by MSP, no action is required on your part.

Out-of-province students

If you’re a Canadian student with a health plan in another province or territory, you do not need to switch to BC MSP. You’ll be covered by the health plan in your home province or territory as long as you remain a student. If you choose to switch to MSP, you’ll need to apply.

Canadian students coming from abroad

If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada coming to Canada after living abroad, you may already have health coverage in BC or another Canadian province or territory. If you don’t, you’ll need to apply for MSP and make arrangements to join the Global Campus Health Plan or another private temporary insurance plan for the first three-month period before your MSP coverage takes effect.

International students

Canada has a public healthcare system. Everyone living in BC for longer than six months is required to join MSP, a basic health insurance policy for the province’s residents. If you’re an international student, you’ll need to apply for MSP as soon as you arrive in BC. During the first three-month period before your MSP coverage takes effect, you’ll automatically be enrolled in a temporary health insurance plan called iMED after you register for courses if you are a new UBC student. Your iMED coverage will begin on August 1 and will be valid until October 31, or the full duration of your program of studies if you are a one-term exchange student or Visiting International Research Student.

A couple of tips:

  • If you arrive in BC before August 1, purchase advanced iMED coverage.
  • If you arrive after August 31, submit a date change form so that your iMED dates match your MSP waiting period.
  • If you already have MSP, or you will be covered by another provincial health plan for the waiting period, or you already have required health insurance through a third party organization who is funding your studies, be sure to opt-out of iMED by the deadline.

Visit the health insurance for international students page to learn more about the differences between iMED, MSP and the AMS/GSS Health and Dental plan (Vancouver campus) or Studentcare (Okanagan Campus). If you have questions about healthcare or coverage in Canada, please contact an International Student Advisor on the Okanagan or Vancouver campus.

If you are an international student who previously studied at UBC, you will not be covered under iMED. In this case, you should make arrangements to join the Global Campus Health Plan or another private temporary insurance plan for the three-month period before your MSP coverage takes effect.


How do I get extended health insurance?

Extended health and dental plans are designed to take care of expenses not covered by basic health insurance plans. As a UBC student, you will be automatically enrolled in the extended health and dental plan offered by the UBC Students’ Union Okanagan (UBCSUO) on the Okanagan campus or the Alma Mater Society/Graduate Student Society (AMS/GSS) on the Vancouver campus when you register for courses. Certain exceptions may apply, so make sure you check your Student Service Centre (SSC) account to confirm that you’ve been enrolled and charged the appropriate fee.

For details on your coverage, or how to opt out if you already have equivalent coverage, please visit the Studentcare website.


What if I have a pre-existing medical condition?

If you’re being treated for a medical condition, consult your healthcare professional to make sure you’re well enough to take on the challenge of university. If you’re well enough to attend UBC, you’ll need to plan for treatment during your studies.

Find out if the treatment you need is available at UBC or nearby, how much it costs, and whether it will be covered under your basic and/or extended health insurance. The Health and Wellness Centre on the Okanagan campus and Student Health Service on the Vancouver campus offer on-campus medical clinics. You can also meet with an International Student Advisor on the Okanagan or Vancouver campus to get help.


What if I have a documented disability?

If you have a documented disability and require disability-related accommodation or academic support, please make an appointment to discuss your eligibility with the Disability Resource Centre on the Okanagan campus or Centre for Accessibility on the Vancouver campus.



First-year writing, communication, or English requirements

First-year writing, communication, or English requirements

As a UBC student, you’ll need to have reading, writing, and speaking skills in English, regardless of your first language or citizenship. To ensure you develop those skills, all UBC undergraduate students are required to earn between three and six credits of writing, communication, or English.


Is this the same thing as the English Language Admission Standard?

No, they’re two different things. The English Language Admission Standard (ELAS) is an admissions requirement that you had to meet before being admitted to UBC. Your Faculty’s first-year writing, communication, or English requirements are something you need to meet now that you’re a UBC student.


What are my first-year writing, communication, or English requirements?

To check how many credits you must complete and which courses will fulfill your degree requirements, please refer to the undergraduate degree requirements for your Faculty at UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver.


What is the first-year English course entry requirement?

UBC Okanagan

To stay enrolled in your first-year English courses, you must meet the first-year English course prerequisites for UBC Okanagan.

UBC Vancouver

First-year English courses for UBC Vancouver do not have any prerequisites.



IB, AP, and A-Levels: Course registration and first-year credit

IB, AP, and A-Levels: Course registration and first-year credit

UBC offers International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP) credit and A-Level (British-patterned education) credit to new first-year students who are eligible. If you think you’re eligible for first-year credit based on your IB, AP, or A-Level courses and grades, you’ll need to follow these steps.

Step 1: Send us your scores

Arrange for your scores to be sent from the International Baccalaureate, College Board, or your Advanced Level Examination Board to UBC so we can evaluate your eligibility for first-year credit. For more information about which IB, AP, and A-Level courses are eligible for credit, and the minimum scores required, check out our online guide for first-year credit.

If you are waiting for credits to appear on your record, please be patient. You will likely see your credits start to appear on your Student Service Centre account from the final week of July until late August. To view your credits, log in to the Student Service Centre and click “Grades & Records,” followed by “Transfer Credit.”

Please don’t contact us if you don’t see all of your first-year credits applied all at once. We evaluate credits subject by subject, so you might see credit posted on different dates.

Step 2: Register for your new courses

Make sure that you’ve already registered for all your classes. If you have any questions or concerns about what courses you need to register for – for example, whether you should be registering in first- or second-year courses – please contact your faculty or academic advisor at UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver for assistance.


If you have questions about degree planning and course selection, an academic advisor from your faculty at UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver will be happy to help.