Funding Your International Experience

How You, Too, Can Travel Abroad Next Year—On the Cheap

  • Erin Sparks

You sustain yourself on a diet of ramen noodles and walk around your house decked out in full-on winter gear to keep your heating bill low—how the hell are you supposed to fund a flight to a different continent and sustain yourself there, while still going to school?

Impossible, right? Maybe not.

Preemptively, apologies go out to non-Quebec residents. The wave of optimism and opportunity I’m about to present—in the form of the Ministère de l’éducation, du loisir et du sport bursary—is not applicable to you.

If you do, however, fall into one of the 14 requirements outlined by MELS that qualify you as a “Quebec resident”—funding your exchange is actually a lot more feasible than you might have thought. (If you’re not sure if you qualify, check online)

The MELS bursary is essentially a province-wide gift from the ministry; a lump sum divided amongst all universities—with the amounts given determined based on the number of Quebec residents enrolled in each institution. Once the money has been divvied up between schools, it is up to each university’s discretion as to how they choose to disburse and dole out the money to students who want to study abroad.

Here’s how they handle it:

CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY

It costs $1,000 per month to go anywhere in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the United States or Western Europe (for a maximum of eight months). It costs $750 per month if you go to any other country, or to a different province in Canada.

There is no contest for this bursary at ConU—if you meet the requirements set out by MELS and have been approved by the school to go on exchange, this bursary is all yours.

More info

MCGILL UNIVERSITY

For students going abroad for the Winter 2013 semester, the maximum amount they can receive is $3,000 per semester—the exact amount is determined by destination and length of stay.

Students going to Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the United States or Western Europe are eligible for up to $1,000 per month, and students going to any other country are eligible for up to $750 per month.

McGill offers two formats of the award—the basic mobility award and the financial aid supplement. The basic version is available to anyone eligible to go on exchange, and the supplement is extra given to students selected who demonstrate financial need.

More info

BISHOP’S UNIVERSITY

Students receive about $2,000 per semester regardless of where they go on exchange, provided the exchange is international and not within Canada.

There is no competition for this award at Bishop’s—students who meet the criteria to go on exchange are automatically eligible to receive this award.

For more info: ubishops.ca/academic-programs/international-exchange/exchange-outgoing/scholarships-and-travel-bursaries.html

UNIVERSITÉ DE
MONTRÉAL

It costs $1,000 per month if you go anywhere in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the United States or Western Europe (for a maximum of 8 months). It costs $750 per month if you go to any other country or to a different province in Canada.

If you meet the criteria to go on exchange, there is only one factor that will determine whether or not you will be receiving this bursary—your grades. Your Z-score, calculated at the end of the Winter 2012 semester, compares you to other students and will determine whether or not you will receive an offer for a bursary.

More info

UNIVERSITÉ DU QUÉBEC À MONTRÉAL

Depending on where you choose to go on exchange, you are eligible for either $750 or $1,000 a month, and are capped at $4,000 per semester—and cut off after $8,000 for a longer period of study.

In addition to having to meet the basic criteria outlined by MELS, students at UQAM are required to have achieved a certain GPA (determined by faculty) in order to be eligible to receive this bursary. Certain faculties also ask for a letter of recommendation.

More info

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