Student Exchange Travels
Students who participate in part 1 and part 2 are eligible for student exchange placements in any of the partner countries. Exchanges are for basic sciences research internships only. The program is a preclinical program to foster the basic sciences experience and immersion into academic life in the host country. The above is best achieved via a laboratory experience. Rarely, students get the opportunity to shadow clinicians if the host institution allows. This will be in addition to a laboratory position and cannot replace a laboratory rotation. As a preclinical program we cannot accommodate sole clinical rotations in any of our partner countries. Columbia University does not accept students for any clinical activities.
Only apply to this portion of the program if you are interested in the science experience.
Lab assignments are for a 7-8 weeks period at a minimum (with the exception of Tokyo Women's Medical University with stays of 4 weeks), as a courtesy to the host laboratories. 3 months is the maximum for a short-term visitor at Columbia University. For German and Austrian students limited slots are available for work on their dissertations – these will be for a minimum of 12 months (notify the program if you are interested in this option).
The number of laboratory slots are limited and we will assign them on a “first come first serve basis”. Please note, once you selected a slot you are obligated to go. If your travel is depending on funding or a grant you need to indicate so in your application. You will not be placed unit you confirm funding. The program does not help with funding.
You can indicate your first three choices of the destination and lab research area (i.e. ophthalmology, immunology, neurosciences, etc…). Also indicate whether you are new to research or have prior experience. This will help us finding the right laboratory for you.
Lab selections are subject to change every year. You can also contact laboratories on your own but you should let the program know once you found a slot so we know you are traveling.
Updates on lab placements will be posted on a shared drive. Please ask your National Student Leaders - do not contact the program directly to obtain updates. Placements can take a longer time. By mid spring students should be notified if they are placed or not. Columbia travelers may hear before that time.
There are several travel groups, depending on your school, your school vacation, and summer exams. Traveling groups are determined by your home school:
Travel group 1 – June/July (8 weeks) – University of Helsinki
Travel group 2 – July/August (8 weeks) – Columbia University, National Taiwan University, King's College London, University of Cambridge, University of Copenhagen, Tokyo Women’s Medical University. If you are traveling to New York please note that Columbia students are away during this travel group.
Travel group 3 – August to October (8 weeks) - Ludwig Maximilians University, Martin Luther University, Medical University of Vienna, Kyoto University. If you are traveling later in August, please note there are no social summer activities after September.
Travel group 4 – November/December - University of Sydney, selected students from other schools
You should adhere to these travel groups. We do make exceptions (i.e. for students with family or students who serve on military service duty) , but please note that there will be no scheduled social activities outside of the travel group times. We try to connect you with students from all schools during the travel group times and plan social activities around them (e.g., museums, concerts, picnics, walking tours). Thus, traveling outside the group times will potentially isolate you.
Your social leader and National Student Leaders are your contacts during your travels. Please do not forget to visit the host faculty member when you are visiting. Host faculty members are listed here.
All participating countries are part of the US ESTA visa waiver country list.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP), administered by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in consultation with the State Department, permits citizens of 38 countries to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa. In return, those 38 countries must permit U.S. citizens and nationals to travel to their countries for a similar length of time without a visa for business or tourism purposes.
For more information and a full list of countries see:
Students who are citizens from non-ESTA visa waiver countries must obtain a B1/B2 visa for the US. Please inquire within the international office of the partner school or consulate of the other country for requirements if you plan to travel there.
Your primary sources are your international peers. Please contact your NSL(s). For Columbia housing see general information below. In the spring, prior to summer travel, students can use the facebook site to post searches and offer sublets. Students in travel group 4 traveling to Columbia University qualify for Columbia short-term housing.
For more info on Columbia housing see here.
For funding opportunities for Columbia students please contact Dr. Wu. All other schools are responsible for their own travel funds.
Paperwork for visitors
For paperwork and other useful information for incoming students to Columbia University see here.
Visitors for Columbia laboratories
Visitors for the Columbia Center for Translational Immunology
Different Columbia departments require additional paperwork. Please check with your laboratories.
Instructions for incoming Columbia University student visitor paperwork:
1. Please ask your laboratory head or the program for additional information (i.e. your exposure to blood borne pathogens or viruses) because this may require additional medical clearance forms.
2. If your laboratory works with bloodborne pathogens please have your doctor or student health service fill out the medical attestation form.
- The form as to be signed by the doctor and dated (month/day/year).
- If you are vaccinated for Tuberculosis (BCG) please do NOT take an XRay but get the IGRA blood test.
- All titers have to be drawn within 60 days of your start date
3. If you are not a citizen from a visa waiver country you must apply for a B1 visa.
- For the B1 visa you should send the sample letter to your laboratory head to have it printed and signed.
4. Fill out the forms on the computer first, then print and sign before sending it to your supervisor for signature.
5. Send ALL paperwork in ONE single PDF. Do not send multiple attachments as they tend to get overlooked or lost.
6. Allow 4-6 weeks for processing
For paperwork of other schools contact your National Student Leaders and faculty members of the partner schools.
We take great pride to be regarded as a student networking program. Therefore, the visits are designed for students to socialize and mingle. Whether you intern at Columbia or at one of the partner universities we encourage you to meet other ICE program students so you can build and maintain your network for the future.
National Social Leaders will plan social activities around your stay. Please ask to be connected to a local International Collaboration and Exchange Social Leader. You need to them know when you will be arriving and leaving so you can meet the other students from your travel pod.
Columbia University, New York, USA
Columbia students only
Columbia students are expected to attend a pre departure send off meeting in person in spring.
All Columbia students are expected to enroll with global travels, show proof of health insurance and submit the following forms prior to departure:
King's College London, UK
Students traveling to King's College London, UK:
• There is no Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with King's College and participating universities, and so all placements are informal
• There is no formal accreditation
• Accommodation cannot be arranged through King's and there is no scholarship scheme to provide support for living expenses
If you are interested in finding an internship at King’s will need to send a CV, a range of research interests (in addition to their main research passion) and a letter stating that you have financial support. We will endeavour to match you with a research team. Please take the opportunity to look at the research interests of members of the Faculty of Life Science and Medicine and of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience to identify potential hosts.