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Student International Mobility Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) Western Sydney University is committed to offering students an innovative and accessible range of student international mobility programs to support the development of students as global citizens.

(2) The purpose of this policy is to define the principles and conditions for management and approval of student participation in international mobility programs. This policy applies to all student international mobility programs. 

(3) In addition to this policy and the associated Student International Mobility Procedures, Academic Units may implement the policy through local guidelines, handbooks and/or flow charts.

(4) The policy should be read in conjunction with the Student International Mobility Procedures, Critical Incident Guidelines, Advanced Standing Policy, Placement Policy, Doctorate Policy, Student Code of Conduct, Progression and Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Policy, Travel Policy and the Student Misconduct Rule.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(5) For the purpose of this policy:

  1. Academic Units means a School, Institute or unit such as The Academy at Western Sydney University.
  2. Exchange Mobility means overseas study undertaken for one or two sessions, completed under an exchange agreement between the University and another educational institution.
  3. Host Institution means the host institution is the overseas institution where a student is accepted for a program of study.
  4. Non-exchange Mobility means overseas study or other academic activity undertaken with a third-party Global Study provider, industry partner or educational institution that is not subject to an exchange agreement with the University.
  5. Research Mobility means overseas research fieldwork undertaken for a current Higher Degree Research (HDR) research project including under arrangements with a third party.
  6. Short-term Exchange Mobility means exchange mobility undertaken in breaks between sessions or over a period of less than one session completed under an exchange agreement between the University and another educational institution.
  7. Third-party Global Study Provider means organisations that offer global study programs, including colleges, universities, not for profit organisations, for-profit businesses and consortia.
  8. University means Western Sydney University. 
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(6) Participation in international student mobility programs provides students with opportunities to advance their intercultural competency, applied knowledge, career direction, employment outcomes and personal and social development.

(7) The University actively promotes mobility opportunities that are available through international university partnerships and approved third-party providers. Third parties may make enrolment arrangements and may also arrange travel and accommodation for a fee. Travel plans must be recorded in the University or associated systems as specified in the Student International Mobility Procedures.

(8) The University considers the safety and wellbeing of students undertaking an international mobility experience to be of primary concern.

(9) This policy applies to students participating in international mobility programs and students receiving assistance from Western Sydney International to participate in other non-exchange, international mobility programs offered within the University, by an overseas institution or by a third-party Global Study provider.

(10) The parties involved in international student mobility programs must be adequately prepared to meet their responsibilities as set out in this policy.

(11) This policy does not apply to students wishing to undertake study at another Australian institution. Students seeking to undertake study at another Australian institution should refer to the Cross Institutional provisions in the Enrolment Policy.

(12) International students under 18 years of age will not in the normal course be approved for international mobility programs. Applications under special circumstances may be considered by the Pro Vice-Chancellor, International.

(13) University staff, students and third-party Global Study provider staff must manage international student mobility programs in accordance with the associated Student International Mobility Procedures.

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Section 4 - Types of International Mobility

(14) The University supports, and will grant academic credit where applicable for successful completion of the following types of outbound international student mobility:

  1. exchange mobility;
  2. short-term exchange mobility;
  3. non-exchange mobility; and
  4. research mobility.

(15) Exchange mobility is undertaken at another educational institution with which the University has a formal exchange agreement.

  1. A student undertaking exchange mobility must enrol in exchange units of study at the University and pay all necessary tuition and other fees to the University.
  2. Exchange mobility is undertaken during the University's teaching sessions, for a period of one or two sessions.
  3. Short-term exchange mobility is undertaken during breaks between sessions or over a shorter period than a session.

(16) Non-exchange mobility is undertaken at another educational institution, or through a third-party Global Study provider, in the absence of an exchange agreement.

  1. Non-exchange mobility may be taken during or between sessions.
  2. A student undertaking non-exchange mobility does not enrol in exchange units of study at the University.
  3. Types of non-exchange mobility include, but are not limited to:
    1. fee-paying study abroad;
    2. study tours;
    3. research fieldwork not associated with an HDR research project;
    4. internships;
    5. placements;
    6. academic unit-led offshore programs and competitions;
    7. university competitions.

(17) Research mobility is where a candidate undertakes fieldwork as part of their higher degree by research project. This may include research undertaken to collect data as part of their HDR project, research at another educational institution, third-party Global Study provider or industry partner, where a formal Dual Award and Joint Higher Degree agreement does not exist. Candidates in receipt of a scholarship granted by the University will continue to receive their stipend under the usual conditions of their award. Candidates should note there are no special University funds for travel of supervisors or examiners to view work completed during research mobility.

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Section 5 - Procedures

Eligibility and Selection

(18) To be eligible to undertake any type of international mobility program, a student must meet the eligibility and selection criteria provided in the Student International Mobility Procedures and meet any further requirements imposed by the host institution.

(19) Students enrolled on a part-time basis will be considered, provided they meet the standard criteria and can maintain full-time enrolment while on exchange, to offset a student enrolling full-time at Western Sydney University from the host institution.

(20) Where the number of eligible applicants for exchange at a partner institution exceeds the number of places available, students will be selected based on further selection criteria included in the Student International Mobility Procedures.

(21) A student applying to undertake non-exchange mobility without the award of credit, will need to meet the requirements of the host institution or organisation.

(22) A domestic student is eligible to undertake global mobility of any type to a country of which they are, or have been, a citizen or permanent resident, provided that this is permitted by the host institution or organisation.

(23) A student enrolled at the University as an international student is eligible to undertake global mobility of any type including to a country of which they are, or have been, a citizen or permanent resident, provided that this is permitted by the host institution or organisation, and the student’s visa conditions continue to be met. (Refer to the Student International Mobility Procedures).

(24) A HDR student must have completed their Confirmation of Candidature. In exceptional circumstances, this criterion will be waivered.

Application

(25) To participate in an international mobility program a student must comply with the application instructions provided in the Student International Mobility Procedures and any additional advertised instructions by the published due dates.

(26) Applications received by the due date and in the correct method will be assessed according to the selection criteria in the Student International Mobility Procedures and any additional advertised criteria.

(27) For non-exchange mobility where a student enrols in a Western Sydney University unit of study which involves an overseas component, a student must follow the enrolment procedures specified by the relevant academic unit.

(28) For non-exchange mobility where the student wishes to obtain credit, a student must consider the compatibility of the units offered at the designated host institution to their Western Sydney University degree program and seek approval to enrol in those units from their Academic Course Advisor or Director, Academic Program.

(29) For research mobility, a current HDR candidate must:

  1. have completed their Confirmation of Candidature, except in certain circumstances, and are meeting all other required milestones;
  2. in the case of fieldwork, have approved relevant ethics clearance, standard operating protocols and field work risk assessment;
  3. lodge a written request with their supervisor, as described in the Student International Mobility Procedures and required by any additional published procedures.
It should be noted that an approval relates to the application including specific details of the location/itinerary. Any proposed changes to the research mobility following commencement of the research mobility must be resubmitted to the Principal Supervisor for consideration and approval before the change occurs.

(30) The application will be forwarded by the HDR Principal Supervisor to the HDR Director who will assess the application based on the criteria in the Student International Mobility Procedures and any additional published criteria.

Academic Credit

(31) The University is committed to providing credit for study and activities undertaken as part of international student mobility programs wherever it is appropriate and possible to do so.

(32) A student who obtains overseas academic approval in accordance with the Student International Mobility Procedures before departure and successfully completes an international mobility program, will be awarded the credit specified, by applying for advanced standing on their return, consistent with the Advanced Standing Policy.

(33) A student who successfully completes an international mobility program without having obtained overseas academic approval before departure, may apply for advanced standing on their return but is not assured of credit being awarded.

(34) If a student proposes to make changes to their planned international mobility program after obtaining overseas academic credit approval, the student must again apply for and obtain approval, including overseas academic credit approval, for the varied program.

(35) Review of decisions on approval of advanced standing for overseas academic credit is undertaken in accordance with the Advanced Standing Policy.

(36) The grades achieved from an international mobility program are not included in the calculation of a student’s Grade Point Average (GPA) and are awarded in accordance with the Advanced Standing Policy.

Enrolment Requirements

(37) Students undertaking exchange mobility must maintain full-time enrolment:

  1. at the University, as specified by the teaching sessions for their course; and
  2. at the host institution, of an equivalent load.

(38) HDR students undertaking exchange mobility must maintain the agreed load of their program of research and advanced study and attend the University agreed consultation with their Supervisor.

(39) Unless approved by the relevant Deputy Dean, (following advice from Western Sydney International and the Student Experience Office), a student undertaking exchange mobility is not permitted to enrol in university units of study in excess of the credit points necessary to complete their award course.

Withdrawal, Deferral and Cancellation

(40) A student who has received an offer of exchange mobility for a particular session may apply to defer their offer for up to one year as per the Student International Mobility Procedures.

(41) A student who has commenced study at a host institution and wishes to withdraw from exchange or non-exchange mobility must follow the Student International Mobility Procedures.

(42) A student who withdraws from an international mobility program and also withdraws from a related Western Sydney University unit of study, should refer to the Student International Mobility Procedures for relevant procedures, deadlines and time limits, including those relating to fees and grades.

(43) When a student fails to provide information relevant to their international mobility program application, as requested by the University, or whilst they are participating in an international mobility program, their application, or participation in the program, may be cancelled.

(44) Students participating in an international mobility program, whose behaviour is alleged to be inappropriate, as described in University policy, including but not limited to the Student Code of Conduct, will be managed according to the provisions of the Student Misconduct Rule.

(45) The Pro Vice-Chancellor, International reserves the right to cancel a student’s participation in an international mobility program, where activities include travel to areas that are considered unsafe, or where students are required to be evacuated from a location.

(46) If Western Sydney International, an academic unit or third-party provider cancels a publicised international student mobility program, students will be refunded according to the relevant program refund agreement.

Risk Management

(47) All students selected and approved to participate in international mobility programs are covered by the University's travel insurance as per the Travel Policy. The conditions and details of the policy are outlined in the Office of Finance Website.

(48) University staff and student travellers must refer to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Smartraveller websites to obtain the latest information regarding countries for which there is a perceived risk, if travel is undertaken.

(49) Western Sydney International will not offer programs and/or support travel by students, and any accompanying staff members, to areas under current Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade warnings, 'Do not travel' or 'Reconsider your need to travel', or if insurance cover is not available. Special approval can be requested from the Pro Vice-Chancellor, International who will consult with the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

(50) The University will ensure students are provided with support services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with medical assistance, international health care and security services whilst overseas. This will include specific information about destinations prior to travel, including medical and security risks and advice on how to stay safe and well while travelling and staying overseas.

(51) Whilst participating in international mobility programs, students must adhere to all published requirements related to the providers of the overseas support services.

(52) Critical incidents that involve students participating in international mobility programs should be managed in accordance with Western Sydney University policies and procedures, including the Critical Incident Guidelines.

(53) In the event of a severe critical incident or emergency the Western Sydney University Crisis Management Team will assume responsibility for the response.

(54) Students participating in an international mobility program must, prior to travel, ensure their travel plans are recorded in the University TEMS system and/or any required Travel Tracker systems as specified in the Student International Mobility Procedures.

(55) Western Sydney International reserves the right to withdraw support for student participation in a mobility program offered by another element within the University, an overseas institution, or by a third-party Global Study provider, if it becomes evident that adequate arrangements have not been made to protect a student’s health, safety and wellbeing while overseas.

(56) Where there is a likelihood of adverse consequences arising from a student participating in an international mobility program, Western Sydney International must identify the concern as a risk to the  Pro Vice-Chancellor, International so that it can be managed operationally in accordance with the health and safety and risk management policies and processes of the University.

Pre-departure for Staff and Students

(57)  Students participating in international mobility programs must participate in compulsory pre-departure briefings/tutorials as provided in the Student International Mobility Procedures.

(58) Where an international mobility program is offered and managed by an academic unit, the academic unit will be responsible for organising elements of the group travel and training of the organiser, as listed in the Student International Mobility Procedures.

Roles and Responsibilities 

(59) Western Sydney International is responsible for marketing of global mobility, assessment of prospective exchange partner agreements, receiving and processing applications for exchange mobility and some applications for non-exchange mobility, nominating students for exchange mobility to host institutions, receiving and processing student applications for some mobility funding, and procedural elements as listed in the Student International Mobility Procedures.

(60) The Student Experience Office is responsible for the processes associated with the granting of academic credit as per advanced standing procedures and the management of the enrolment of students on international mobility, as per the Student International Mobility Procedures.  

(61) Academic Units are responsible for decisions on applications for overseas academic credit, and reporting academic unit-led international student mobility projects and activities, completing proposals, risk assessments and complying with processes and requirements indicated by Western Sydney International, as per the Student International Mobility Procedures.

(62) Students are responsible for submitting applications for international mobility programs and providing all necessary details, including associated information, and complying with codes, laws, acknowledgements, policies and procedures as listed in the Student International Mobility Procedures.

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Section 6 - Guidelines

(63) Western Sydney International Global Mobility webpage

(64) Finance Office Overseas Travel Insurance Webpage

(65) Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

(66) DFAT Smart Traveller

(67) Student International Mobility Procedures

(68) Critical Incident Guidelines