27 Jan 2017

All You Want To Know About Exchange (Part I): Applying for Feepay

One of the rare few pictures I took of my host university

Hola Amigoes! This is the post that I promised to do over the CNY break and hopefully I'll be diligent enough to complete the entire series. As many of you would know, I just returned two weeks ago from my semester-long exchange programme to University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, United Kingdom. Before you ask me "er where is that", hold your reigns buddy, as I'll come back to that in another post!

Before I begin, I'm sorry to those who are from NUS or SMU reading this post (if there is anyone who will read this) as I am from NTU and I understand that all three school's exchange-application systems are different. If you're from NTU and you want to go on exchange, there are two options for you: To go via GEM Explorer, or Feepaying. 

And also, this post is entirely my opinion and my views on the application process. So if you disagree or what, please don't take it too personally or get batshitcraybutthurt offended kthxbai (even if you do, I don't really care either lel.)

GEM Explorer
This is a system put in place by the school which I had a major sob story with the system (and I will not repeat that sob story here). But TLDR, I applied with GEM and got a place at Leeds. Got too excited and did not check whether all my modules could be cleared there before accepting my offer. To all my juniors, please do check whether your modules could be cleared before accepting, as I had to pay $300 (or was it $500) to withdraw my acceptance. (wtf) (fml) (ya sobs) 

I am pretty sure the school will have its own sessions to get the students to know more about what GEM Ex has to offer so I shall not touch on that system much in this post.

This term was foreign af to me when I found out I had to give up my place at Leeds. In other terms, feepaying is a self-funded exchange where instead of paying the original NTU school fees of around $4k++ per semester while on exchange, you pay the school fees of the host university. In my case, my school fees came up to be about $9k++ (initially $11k++ but THANKS BREXIT!), I am thankful to have parents who support my every decision throughout this whole turmoil of getting a host university to do my exchange programme at, so yes... $9k++ it is.

Also, Feepaying means that you have to create your contact with the host university yourself. GEM has nothing to do with Feepaying, so you're all on your own if you decide to feepay. it's a lonely process~

Steps to Feepaying:
1. Once bitten twice shy... Firstly, I made sure that the host university I applied to, could 100% clear my modules, as students from my major had two compulsory core modules to clear in Y3S1 (if not you have to take an extra year to clear it... that's how bad it is)

2. Next step, contact your host university's person-in-charge of exchange. In my case for University of Hertfordshire, it was Mr Jack Pettifer. Mr Pettifer was REALLY nice and prompt in replying my 24543853 questions regarding the application process and that helped me so much! Thanks so much if you're reading this, Mr Pettifer. Basically, if the university website has not enough information on the modules offered, feel free to ask the person-in-charge for information on the course description, module list for each faculty, e.t.c. 

3. Get the application form to apply to the host university either from the website, or from the person-in-charge and fill it up. Usually the application form would require one or two recommendation letters from your professors/lecturers, so be sure to get them ready! And also, a copy of your transcript from the school is required. For transcripts, be sure to get them in advance. I'm kiasu like mad, so I ordered mine immediately once I decided to feepay. (no harm keeping a copy for future purposes) Check, double-check, triple-check that your modules can be cleared, with your faculty's exchange coordinator, before you even apply. (Especially for host universities who ask for an application fee) Hertfordshire has no application fee but still, the hassle of emailing them to cancel your application...

4. Submit your application on time, and then wait patiently. Usually they will accept your application (I heard from someone that it's because they are making more money from feepaying students than normal GEM Ex students, so the university would not miss out on any money-making opportunities) (then again, this is hearsay, not what I said ok!)

5. If you get it, YAY! If you don't, it's not the end of the world~ 

6. If you do get it, please remember to submit your LOA application, and the modules that you'll be clearing to the online system via StudentLink!

Part 2 about this series will be on my guide to life in UK (something like Xiaxue's Guide to Life but with less sass and more empty wallets). Stay tuned!

Stay Outruigeous,

DISCLAIMER: Application processes may differ from faculty to faculty, so please do check with your course coordinator for clear steps to feepay!


  1. Hello there! Thanks a bunch for sharing your experience on applying for your Overseas exchange!

    Can I quote you and link your post at my NTU Kid forum page?

    You can see the forum here: https://www.ntukid.com/exchange

    Hope to magnify your story for others to read about it!

    Admin at Ntu Kid

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