1.    What does the OBW Exchange offer me?

The OBW exchange offers Baden-Württemberg students the following benefits:

  • You do not pay tuition in Ontario; this means that, in effect, you are being offered a scholarship worth between $10,000 and $16,000.
  • A Province-wide exchange gives you the opportunity to identify universities with particular academic strengths in your areas of interest.
  • The OBW exchange will provide excellent advising and support, including a comprehensive student handbook, information seminars in Baden-Württemberg and Ontario, and the ongoing support of the Ontario Program Office while you are in Canada.
  • Through liaison with the Canadian Embassy in Vienna we ensure that you are identified as an OBW student when you apply for your Study Permit.

2. How many places are there?

There are 50 places in the OBW program for students from Baden-Württemberg. These are shared among the sending universities in Baden-Württemberg according to an agreed and equitable formula.

Gray Tree Frog, Algonquin Park
Photo: Mark Webber

3. How can I be sure the program will place me at my first-choice university?

The short answer is: you can’t be sure. We will do our best to accommodate your wishes, and we will not place you at a university at which you cannot carry out your proposed program of study. While most students are placed at one of the three host universities they name on the application, we do reserve the right to place you at a university that you have not requested, in order to ensure equitable distribution of Baden-Württemberg students throughout Ontario.

You can increase your chances of being placed at your first-choice university by (1) informing yourself thoroughly about each of the Ontario universities and making sure you and your program will “fit” the profile of a prospective university; (2) making clear, in the study plan you enclose with your application, why a particular university is important to you. The absolute worst way of getting to a particular university is to list only that university on your application form. Applications that do not indicate three possible universities will not be considered, except where fewer than three universities offer your program of study..

4. Can I earn a degree while in Ontario?

One of the firm principles of the OBW exchange is that students register with non-degree status at their host university. In other words, you cannot earn credits toward a degree in Ontario while on the exchange. If you wish to change from non-degree to degree status, you will have to go through the regular admission process and pay full tuition fees. You will also cease to be a member of the OBW exchange.

5. How long should I stay in Ontario?

Baden-Württemberg students normally come to Ontario for an academic year, which in almost all cases means two terms. The fall term starts at the beginning of September and lasts into December (with an examination period in December). The winter term starts in January right after New Year’s and lasts until late April (again including an examination period).

Whitefish Whiteout
Photo: Mark Webber

6. Is it hard to find a place to live in Ontario?

It depends on the city. In Toronto, Ottawa, and Kitchener-Waterloo it is sometimes difficult to find an off-campus room, and therefore relatively expensive. In smaller cities the situation is less difficult. Ontario universities do their best to offer residence rooms to OBW students. You should check with the International Office of the university where you are placed.

7.  How much will studying in Ontario cost?

Your university’s international office can give you good advice. Some of the things to consider are: 

  • you do not have to pay tuition in Ontario, but
  • you do need to pay the ancillary and student fees assessed by your host university;
  • you do need to purchase health insurance in Ontario (in 2014–2014: $54 per month, or $432 two terms);
  • you need also to figure in your flight, rent, meals, and books (Canadian students generally must buy quite a lot of books) , as well as telephone, local transit, and entertainment costs.

It will probably cost you at least $1000 per month, excluding airfare.

8. Can I work or participate in an internship while in Canada?

Your Study Permit does allow you to take a job, but only on the campus of your host university. Should you be interested in participating in an internship or practicum of any kind, you will need to arrange both the permission and the position yourself. This is not part of the OBW exchange, and we cannot assist students in such matters.

9. Where can I get more information?

This website has detailed information, including the current Handbook for Participants, application forms, and links to the Ontario universities and other sites in Canada. If you have further questions, you should contact the International Office of your home university or the OBW Program Office.

Loon with Chick, Algonquin Park
Photo: Mark Webber