The Language of Go Abroad

Understanding "Go Abroad" involves becoming familiar with the language of student mobility. We hope that this small guide will help in our journey.

We have prepared a short list of words commonly used in international student travel below. Our definitions are more common interpretations of the phrases rather than strict (dictionary-like) definitions. 


  • Learning Abroad - a broad umbrella term that includes opportunities to study, research, work, and volunteer in an international context.

  • Mobility - broadly relating to the movement of students across international borders. It often relates to the personnel that help support you in your journey (mobility coordinators), or the broad discipline of learning abroad (student mobility).

  • Higher Education Institution (HEI) - an institute of "higher learning," often referred to in the North American context as a college or university. Broadly speaking it is a destination at which you will participate in a learning abroad experience that is beyond the high school level (i.e. post-secondary institution).

  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - an agreement formed between two or more higher education institutions (in this context) where there is an agreement to explore common interests, research goals, or engage in study or faculty mobility.

  • Consortium Agreement - a broad agreement amongst several higher education institutions through which they are linked by a common goal. In the case of Memorial University, examples of consortia include the University of the Arctic (UArctic, and University Mobility of the Asia Pacific (UMAP). These associations are often linked with broad research interests and the encouragement of student mobility between member institutions.

  • Articulation Agreement or Student Exchange Agreement (SEA) - usually linked with an MOU, the Student Exchange Agreement will usually be more detailed in spelling out exactly how students can participate in a learning abroad experience. It usually includes things like quotas (how many students can be sent / recieved in a give year or term), definitions of what fees are waived, and instructions on research obligations for students. Memorial University has many MOU's, but students can only travel to a partner institution if there is also an exchange agreement established. 

  • Exchange - the experience of travelling to another higher education institution where - typically - a student remains enrolled at their home (sending) institution and has tuition fees waived at the host (receiving) institution. Usually the aim of exchange is to engage in reciprocal activity - sending a similar number of students over a given period of time as the institution recieves. 

  • Faculty-lead Study Abroad - Sometimes just referred to as "study abroad," it usually involves a professor at Memorial University leading a group of students on a learning abroad experience internationally. Examples include professors taking a group of students to Harlow Campus, or French students going to St. Pierre et Miquelon for a semester. 

  • Free-Mover - a student participating in a learning abroad experience who is paying their own fees at the host (recieving) institution. This may be because the student wishes to travel to a destination where there is no formal agreement. Or the student is participating from a partner school that is over quota or has not formally nominated the student. Also known as a visiting fees-paying student (or simply visiting student). 

  • Letter of Permission - a form that a student at Memorial must complete if they wish to attain credits for the courses completed at a host (receiving) institution. The form is sent to the Registrar's Office and reviewed prior to departure on a learning abroad experience for evaluation and approval. 

  • Transfer Credit - these are credits earned at a host (recieving) institution that will be recognized at Memorial University when you resume your studies after a learning abroad experience. Transfer credit is usually only recognized if a Letter of Permission is approved. 

  • Visa - necessary documentation to travel across borders or to enter a country. Each country or economic union has its own regulations which should be thoroughly reviewed well in advance of your planned travel to that region. 

  • Student Permit - a document that is sometimes required in addition to a travel or transit visa to reside in a country for a specific amount of time and for a specific purpose. Securing the study permit or visa may involve travel outside of the province to the various consulates and embassies within Canada of the host countries (e.g. Montreal, Ottawa).