Business Exchange Student Guide

Last Updated: November 2023

Please note that the Business Exchange Student Guide is primarily intended for undergraduate business exchange students. Much of the information also applies to graduate business exchange students, but for further questions, especially about academics, please contact the Master of International Business Office (see “Contact Information” section below).

The Northeast Gateway for the University of Florida with Heavener Hall in the background

The University of Florida id="uf"

The University of Florida (UF) is a public, land-grant research university. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive universities in the United States encompassing virtually all academic and professional disciplines. It is considered Florida’s flagship institution and is one of the largest universities in the state. Currently, UF has around 60,000 students, 150 undergraduate degree programs, a multitude of graduate and professional programs, and 150 research centers and institutes.

You can learn more about UF and the city of Gainesville by visiting our Incoming Undergraduate Business Exchange webpage. The site includes links to a virtual tour of campus, course information, and a host of other resources.

With UF being such a large institution, there is quite a bit of terminology to learn and remember. Visit the UF Academic Terminology webpage for a glossary of pertinent terminology.

Warrington College of Business id="warrington"

The Warrington College of Business hosts departments of Finance, Information Systems, Management, and Marketing. Accounting studies are housed in the Fisher School of Accounting, and economics studies are housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Warrington and its programs are fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Through the academic programs, the college is committed to developing interpersonal and total management skills through team and small group work; providing opportunities for development of leadership skills; promoting academic mastery of classroom skills, and fostering the habits and attitudes that constitute a research ethic. Departments and programs in the college consistently receive national recognition from various business publications such as Business Week, The Economist, Forbes, and U.S. News & World Report.

Contact Information id="contact"

Warrington College of Business - Undergraduate

Heavener School of Business
International Programs Office
Warrington College of Business, University of Florida
301 Heavener Hall, PO Box 117160
Gainesville, FL 32611-7160 U.S.A.

Email Heavener International Programs
Phone: 001-352-273-0151
Fax: 001-352-846-0186
Incoming Undergraduate Business Exchange Webpage

Warrington College of Business - Graduate

Hough Graduate School of Business
Master of International Business Office
Warrington College of Business, University of Florida
220 Hough Hall, PO Box 117164
Gainesville, FL 32611-7164 U.S.A.

Email MIB
Fax: 001-352-392-7347
Incoming Graduate Business Exchange Webpage

Ms. Ana Portocarrero, Director
Email Ana
Phone: 001-352-273-0341

Ms. Andrea Kim, Associate Director
Email Andrea
Phone: 001-352-273-0343

UF International Center

University of Florida International Center
170 Hub, PO Box 113225
Gainesville, FL 32611-3225 U.S.A.
Phone: 001-352-392-5323
Fax: 001-352-392-5575
UFIC Partner School Exchange Students Webpage

Ms. Amila Tica, Coordinator, Exchange Student Services
Email Amila
Phone: 001-352-294-3333

Email UFIC Insurance

UF Health Compliance Office

UF Health Compliance Office Webpage
Email UF Health Compliance Office
Phone: 001-352-294-2925

Application Steps id="application"

Step 1

Students must be nominated by their home institution in the UF International Center online system prior to submitting an application. A nomination guide is available online to assist partner institutions with this process.

Nomination Deadlines:

  • Fall or Academic Year: April 1
  • Spring: September 1
  • Summer: Not Recommended

Step 2

Once the nomination is complete, the nomination will automatically launch the incoming student application. Students should complete the UF International Center Online Application by the respective deadline.

Application Deadlines:

  • Fall or Academic Year: May 1
  • Spring: October 1
  • Summer Study: Not Recommended

Deadlines are important due to the time it takes to process visa paperwork.

Step 3

Once the nomination and application have been completed and verified, the student will receive a packet of information from the UF International Center (UFIC), including the Exchange Program Acceptance Letter and DS-2019 Form (form of eligibility for J-1 status sponsorship).

Step 4

Undergraduate students should investigate course options on the Course Offerings section of the Incoming Undergraduate Business Exchange webpage and complete the Undergraduate Exchange Course Request Form. The Heavener International Programs Office will register undergraduate students for classes and send a tentative schedule prior to the start of the UF term.

Academic Information id="academic"

Academic Advising

The Heavener International Programs Office welcomes requests for pre-departure virtual advising appointments with undergraduate students via Zoom to help with academic and registration questions. Please email Heavener International Programs with questions and appointment requests. Upon arrival, students may meet with the Heavener International Program Office in person or virtually.

Course Codes

Course codes at UF are alphanumeric. The three letter prefix denotes the subject area, while the four number suffix roughly denotes the course level (1000-level being lower, 4000-level being higher, 5000-level and above being graduate level courses – see below). The 1000-4000 numerical suffixes are not meant to interpreted too strictly by incoming undergraduate business exchange students. Please read through the course description and prerequisites on the UF Schedule of Courses, as well as the course syllabus for undergraduate business courses to determine what might suit your academic and knowledge level. Heavener International Programs welcomes any academic questions from incoming undergraduate business students.

Business Course Prefixes

  • ACG = Accounting
  • BUL = Business Law
  • ECO = Economics
  • ECP = Economics Problems & Policy
  • ECS = Economics Systems & Development
  • ENT = Entrepreneurship
  • FIN = Finance
  • GEB = General Business
  • ISM = Information Systems & Operations Management
  • MAN = Management
  • MAR = Marketing
  • QMB = Quantitative Methods in Business
  • REE = Real Estate
  • RMI = Risk Management & Insurance
  • TAX = Taxation Accounting

Business Core Courses (Electronic Platform - EP)

Core business courses in the Heavener School of Business are taught via Electronic Platform (EP). These courses are taught in a large lecture hall equipped with video recording technology. After the “live section,” the lectures are broadcast on the internet via web streaming. All students who are enrolled in an “Electronic Platform” course can attend the live lectures and/or watch them on their computer.

EP is a convenient method for learning. Students can attend the “live section” and then review the class via the internet throughout the semester. In addition, students in the class can meet with the professor and/or upper-division students during specified office hours. EP class times and locations are not listed in the schedule. Class times can be found on the Heavener Video Lectures webpage.

All incoming undergraduate business exchange students should take at least one business core course from the list below:

  • ACG 2021: Introduction to Financial Accounting
  • ACG 2071: Introduction to Managerial Accounting
  • BUL 4310: Legal Environment of Business
  • ECO 2013: Principles of Macroeconomics
  • ECO 2023: Principles of Microeconomics
  • ENT 3003: Principles of Entrepreneurship
  • FIN 3403: Business Finance
  • GEB 3373: International Business
  • MAN 3025: Principles of Management
  • MAN 4504: Operations and Supply Chain Management
  • MAR 3023: Principles of Marketing
  • MAR 3231: Introduction to Retail Sales and Management
  • MAR 3400: Professional Selling
  • QMB 3250: Statistics for Business Decisions
  • QMB 3302: Foundations of Business Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (web course)

Please refer to the Course Offerings section of the Incoming Undergraduate Business Exchange webpage for more information.

Other Business Courses

Discipline-specific courses are almost always taught in small classrooms and require attendance. These courses are populated by students in their final two years of study. Due to the small classroom size, these classes often fill to capacity and have limited enrollment. Incoming undergraduate business exchange students are suggested to take up to two courses from the “Other Business Courses” list. Other business courses are limited and subject to availability.

There are a few fully online undergraduate business courses (web courses). These courses are taught exclusively online and do not offer a live section. Incoming undergraduate business exchange students are limited to only one web course for a 12-credit courseload; two web courses are permitted for a courseload of 13-18 credits.

Please refer to the Course Offerings section of the Incoming Undergraduate Business Exchange webpage for more information.

Non-Business Courses

Incoming undergraduate business exchange students may take one non-business course offered by another UF department. Taking two non-business may be considered on a case-by-case basis. If the course has available openings and does not have any prerequisites, you may register yourself for the class using the ONE.UF online registration system. Registration for non-business courses that have a prerequisite must be completed through the department offering the course. This often requires students to visit the host department upon their arrival to UF. There is no guarantee that incoming undergraduate business exchange students will be allowed to register for non-business courses, even if they meet the prerequisites. Registration decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis by the department offering the course. Students are rarely able to register for non-business courses with prerequisites prior to their arrival.

Please refer to the Course Offerings section of the Incoming Undergraduate Business Exchange webpage for a list of common non-business courses without prerequisites.

Graduate Courses

Graduate courses are not available for incoming undergraduate business exchange students. Incoming business exchange students with a “mixed” classification, may be allowed to register for graduate courses once they are on campus. Graduate-level courses have a numerical suffix of 5000 and above.

Minimum/Maximum Credit Load

UF requires incoming undergraduate exchange students to register for a minimum of 12 credits per semester. Students can register for a maximum of 18 credits per semester. Incoming undergraduate exchange students are generally recommended to take between 12 and 16 credit hours. The average credit load for UF undergraduate business students is 14 credits per semester. Courses at UF typically range from 1-5 credits. Most business courses are 4 credits each. Courses taught outside of business vary in credit amounts but are mostly 3 credits each. 1 UF credit represents 15 hours of instruction and 30 hours of total time commitment in the semester.

Recommended Student Schedule

  • x1 Business Core Course (4 credits)
  • x2 Other Business Courses (4 credits/course; 8 credits)
  • x1 Non-Business Course – Optional (1-5 credits; 3 credits average)
  • Total (Average): 15 credits

Course Trial Period (Drop/Add Period)

The first 4-5 days of each semester is the “Drop/ Add” period. Schedules can be adjusted within this time period without penalty. Exact dates for the semester’s Drop/Add period can be found on the UF Dates and Deadlines webpage.

Course Meeting Times

At UF, the academic day is divided into periods. Please refer to the following chart to determine course meeting times.

Fall and spring classes meet in 50-minute periods with a 15-minute break between periods.

M = Monday
T = Tuesday
W = Wednesday
R = Thursday
F = Friday
TBA = Web or EP Course

PeriodClass BeginsClass Ends
17:25 am8:15 am
28:30 am9:20 am
39:35 am10:25 am
410:40 am11:30 am
511:45 am12:35 pm
612:50 pm1:40 pm
71:55 pm2:45 pm
83:00 pm3:50 pm
94:05 pm4:55 pm
105:10 pm6:00 pm

Course Structure

The classroom format is normally lecture and discussion for undergraduate business courses and many non-business courses. Students are required to prepare for the lectures by reviewing the notes on the class website and reading the text or assigned materials. In many courses, discussion and class participation/attendance count for a small portion of the student’s final grade.

Most courses have a course website on the Canvas (eLearning) platform. This is where syllabi will be posted, assignments will be submitted, and much more. You will only have access to courses for which you are registered, and you will need your GatorLink username and password to log in.

Course Materials

Most courses require the purchase of a textbook and a course packet. Books and materials can be expensive! Incoming exchange students should prepare to spend about $400-500 USD for all the required books and course materials for each semester. Professors are required to use the Canvas (eLearning) web platform to relay course information. Students will get the syllabus, textbook information, and any required course materials (and where to purchase it) on the first day of classes. If you do not need the book urgently you can also purchase it on an internet site such as Amazon or Chegg.

Exams & Course Assessment

Please note that undergraduate business courses do not have a “re-sit” policy. Most undergraduate business courses have three or four exams throughout the semester. The final exam may or may not be cumulative. Please remember that the grade you receive in the course is the grade that will be on your transcript or official school record. You will not be allowed to retake any exam for a better grade. If you are struggling in a course, you should meet with the professor as soon as possible.

Overall grades are typically based off of a combination of scores from exams, assignments, and attendance/participation (if applicable). Grades for exams and assignments are typically calculated based off of a rubric (i.e., extent of completion and general quality/accuracy of work). Grades are not typically assigned based off of relative performance. In other words, the top grade(s) in the class is not reserved for a certain number or percentage of students.

Grading/Rating System

Grade PointsLetter Grade
0.00E, I, NG, S- U, WF

Final grades that appear on the official UF transcript are letter grades:

B=Good/Above Average

Course Registration id="course-registration"

Course Registration Basics

At the Heavener School of Business, it is our aim to register every incoming undergraduate business exchange student for a full schedule of courses prior to their arrival at UF. Incoming undergraduate business exchange students cannot register themselves for most business courses at UF because our course registration system (ONE.UF) will not recognize their prerequisites. Heavener International Programs facilitates this process for business courses, but students must submit their course preferences and clear several holds before course registration can take place. For most non-business courses with prerequisites, students will generally need to add coursework through the department which offers the course. There is no guarantee that incoming undergraduate business exchange students will be allowed to register for non-business courses, even if they meet the prerequisites. Registration decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis by the department offering the course.

Courses at UF fill up quickly, so students are encouraged to complete course registration requirements as early as possible. Students will be registered for courses in the order that they complete all requirements. We are unable to register students for classes until all university holds have been removed. Pay close attention to course registration requirements, as one hold will prevent registration.

It is also very important that students have provided alternate course options and remain flexible with their academic schedule, as particular courses are not guaranteed. Business core courses are almost always open, while other business courses and non-business courses are subject to availability.

Course Registration Instructions

1. Submit the required immunization and insurance documents

We will not be able to register any students who have immunization or insurance holds. Please submit these forms as soon as possible and ensure your documentation conforms to the guidelines.

Questions about immunizations or insurance ? Contact the UF Health Compliance Office (001-352-294-2925) or UFIC Insurance

Important – UF does not contact students regarding their immunization form, even if the form is rejected. You must check your ONE.UF hold to determine if your form was accepted.

2. Create a GatorLink account

Every student at UF is required to set up a GatorLink account. Your GatorLink username and password will also serve as your login for most UF platforms, including ONE.UF (course registration system), Canvas/e-Learning (course website platform), etc. Setting up a GatorLink account will also generate your official UF email address. University communications, including important registrar correspondence, are sent to students at this email address.

  1. Create your GatorLink account online through the UF Computing Help Desk
  2. You must enter your UFID, your last name (family name/surname), and your date of birth. In the U.S., always list month (mm) before day (dd)
  3. You must agree to the UF policies regarding GatorLink accounts and create a password meeting the designated specifications.
    1. Please be advised that you will not be able to change your GatorLink name in the future, so choose wisely.
    2. If you have problems setting up your GatorLink account or need an invitation code, please contact the UF Computing Help Desk at 001-352-392-4357 or by the Help Desk email.
  4. Record your username and password for your records

3. Submit emergency contact information

  1. Go to ONE.UF
  2. Navigate to “Student Self Service”
  3. On the left menu under “My Record,” click “Update Emergency Contact Info”
  4. Use your GatorLink and password to login
  5. Fill out the emergency contact information form
  6. Click the “Submit” button

4. Submit local address information

  1. Go to ONE.UF
  2. Navigate to “Student Self Service”
  3. On the left menu under “My Record,” click “Holds”
  4. Select the “Local Address” hold
  5. Use your GatorLink and password to login
  6. Fill in the local home data using only Address Line 3, Country, City, State & ZIP
    1. If you do not yet have a local address, use: 301 Heavener Hall, Gainesville, Florida, 32611-7160
  7. Click the “Submit” button

5. Complete registration acknowledgement

  1. Go to ONE.UF
  2. Navigate to “Student Self Service”
  3. On the left menu under “Registration,” click “Registration Preparation”
  4. Use your GatorLink and password to login
  5. Follow the instructions to complete the form
    1. Be sure to accept all terms
  6. Click the “Submit” button

6. Complete administrative mandatory health insurance acknowledgement

  1. Go to ONE.UF
  2. Navigate to “Student Self Service”
  3. On the left menu under “My Record,” click “Holds”
  4. Select the “Health Insurance Acknowledgement” hold
  5. Use your GatorLink and password to login
  6. Carefully read the policies and confirm your understanding

7. Check your holds

  1. Go to ONE.UF
  2. Navigate to “Student Self Service”
  3. On the left menu under “My Record,” click “Holds”
  4. Ensure you do not have any outstanding holds, as you cannot register if you do
    1. If you have any outstanding holds, follow the instructions to clear them

8. Register for courses

  1. For business courses, Heavener International Programs will register you (see “Academic Information” section above). Please email Heavener International Programs with any questions.
    1. Review the Course Offerings section of the Incoming Undergraduate Business Exchange webpage, the Heavener Course Syllabi webpage, and the UF Schedule of Courses.
    2. Submit an Undergraduate Exchange Course Request Form if you have not yet done so
  2. For non-business courses without prerequisites, register for courses yourself through the “Register” section of ONE.UF
  3. For non-business courses with prerequisites, visit the host department upon your arrival to UF (see “Non-Business Courses” subsection above)

Important Dates id="dates"

University of Florida Term Dates

Fall 2023: August 23 – December 15

Spring 2024: January 8 – May 3

UF typically makes term dates available approximately 3-4 years in advance. To see future terms, visit the UF Approved Academic Calendars webpage.

Important Dates 2023-2024

EventFall 2023 DateSpring 2024 Date
Application DeadlineMay 1October 1
UFIC Orientation*TBCJanuary 5
Heavener Orientation*TBCJanuary 6
Classes BeginAugust 23January 8
Drop/Add DeadlineAugust 29January 12
HolidaysSeptember 4 - Labor Day
October 6- Homecoming
November 10 - Veterans Day (Observed)
November 22-24 - Thanksgiving
January 15 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
March 11-15 - Spring Break
Global Gathering (Exchange Fair)TBCTBC
Final ExamsDecember 9-15April 27-May 3

*UFIC Orientation is mandatory. Heavener Orientation is mandatory for incoming undergraduate business exchange students. Students who do not attend mandatory orientations will be dropped from all courses at UF.

Arriving to Gainesville id="arriving-GNV"

Arrival Date

Incoming exchange students should arrive a few days before the term begins to finalize housing, take care of technology and administrative needs, become familiar with the UF campus, and attend mandatory orientations. UFIC and Heavener International Programs aim to provide orientation dates a couple months before the start of the term. Incoming exchange students are required to check in with the UF International Center as soon as they arrive in Gainesville so visa requirements can be verified. Incoming exchange students should verify housing check-in dates with their housing provider and plan on arranging temporary housing if arrival date precedes housing check-in date.

Requesting a Late Arrival

Students may be permitted to arrive up to a few days late under certain circumstances, provided that UFIC and Heavener International Programs have approved the late arrival in advance. Students will not be allowed to arrive after the first week of classes under any circumstances.

Arrival Transportation

The Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV) does not have direct international flights, so you will have to get a connecting flight from a major city (Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, or Miami) to Gainesville or otherwise fly into a larger airport (e.g., Orlando) and obtain ground transportation from there. For GNV information, visit the webpage above or call 001-352-373-0249.

Please note that GNV is approximately 6 miles/9.6 Kilometers from the UF campus. The following transportation options may be considered:

  • Taxis are sometimes available at the airport but there is no taxi queue. In some cases, taxis may be hard to find. Allow at least $25-30 for fare and tips (about 10-20% of base fare). Do not split taxi with anyone you do not know.
  • Uber and Lyft are available most of the time. Do not split an Uber or Lyft with anyone you do not know. Double-check the driver and license plate number.
  • Gainesville RTS Bus Route 25 runs between the airport and UF campus. Route 26 runs between the airport and downtown Gainesville. Students can take another bus to get to campus. These routes run approximately once every 60-70 minutes.

For more general information about transportation, see the “Transportation” section below.

Housing id="housing"

Housing in Gainesville

Incoming exchange students can live in on-campus or off-campus housing during their time at UF. On-campus housing provides students the maximum opportunity for cultural integration at the university, but off-campus housing provides students with more options and amenities. Although on-campus housing is limited, Gainesville has many off-campus housing options at all levels of comfort and price. Incoming exchange students can indicate interest in on-campus housing within the UF International Center Online Application. Further information is sent to students by UFIC and/or UF Housing and Residence Education in the months before the start of the term.

On-Campus Housing

UF Housing and Residence Education

The UF Housing and Residence Education website can provide you with a wealth of information pertaining to on-campus housing options and procedures. If you need additional information, you may call the Housing Office at 001-352-392-2171 and dial “0” for personal assistance. Information about Housing Rules and Regulations can also be found at the UF Department of Housing and Residence Education website. You may also ask about and confirm move-in dates with the UF Department of Housing and Residence Education; be sure to specify you are an incoming exchange student.

Weaver International House

The UF International Center and the UF Division of Housing are pleased to offer incoming exchange students and UF students the opportunity to live together in this International Living Learning Community. The International House at Weaver Hall is a multicultural learning community in a residential setting. Weaver houses up to 70 international students from UF exchange programs around the world. Incoming exchange students are paired with UF degree-seeking roommates to share cultural experiences and practice language skills. The UF degree-seeking students that incoming exchange students are placed with are undergraduate students typically freshmen (18-19 years of age). Each floor in Weaver Hall is designated as male or female, and each floor has common bathroom facilities, a floor lounge, and a kitchen. Space in this residence hall is in high demand, so make your plans early and have a back-up plan in case there is no availability.

Off-Campus Housing

Incoming exchange students not applying for or that do not get a space in on-campus housing (Weaver International House) are responsible for securing their own housing in Gainesville. Students are strongly encouraged to secure housing early due to the limited number of apartments offering short-term leases. Incoming exchange students are also encouraged to live as close to campus as possible, secure a short-term lease, and rent an apartment that is fully-furnished. Consult a map of Gainesville to assess walkability to UF. Most classes and events are held in the northeast part of the UF’s main campus. Students may also visit the Gainesville Regional Transit System (RTS) webpage for bus routes around the city and campus. UF students have free access to buses with their Gator 1 (student ID) card, which will be issued upon arrival, usually during orientation.


Incoming exchange students can acquire housing for their semester in Gainesville through a sublease. A sublease is when an individual leases or rents a room from another person who is leasing or renting that property. There is a large sublease market in Gainesville, especially in spring, because many students are not in Gainesville for the entire year.

Important – The UF Off Campus Life office has a search engine where you can search for available sublets. There are also a few informal Facebook/social media groups where UF students discuss housing availability; however, please be cautious when using social media.

Off-Campus Housing Search Resources

Temporary Housing

The following is a list of hotels located on or close to the university campus:

In addition to this list, you can also use online hotel guides like Expedia or Priceline, among others. There may also be options near campus via sites like Airbnb. Be sure to research and read reviews.

Housing Considerations

  • Location, location, location. Exchange students should live near campus and/or a bus route.
  • Use the RTS website to find bus route maps.
  • Read housing contracts carefully before you sign.
  • Always walk through accommodation and document damage prior to signing lease.
  • Keep a copy of the lease and any other documents about your apartment.
  • Expect to lose most, if not all, of your housing deposit.
  • Consult with UF’s Student Legal Services regarding questions about your lease. UF offers free legal advice and confidential counseling. They can provide you with information if you have Landlord/Tenant issues such as repairs, security deposits, eviction, and termination of leases.

Transportation id="transportation"

The UF campus, Gainesville, and Florida are relatively large, so you will need to think about how you will get from one place to another. Many students use multiple modes of transportation, but you will need to find out what works best for you. Remember you must be aware of all traffic laws regarding bicycles, mopeds, scooters, etc.


Riding a bicycle is an inexpensive and easy way to get around campus and the city. The UF Gator Gears program allows students to rent a bicycle for one or two semesters for an affordable cost.

If you plan to buy and use a bicycle in the City of Gainesville, there are several safety issues and traffic laws that you need to know:

  • Always stop at stop signs and stop lights.
  • Always ride with traffic; do not ride the wrong way down a one-way street unless it is specifically marked with a bicycle lane in that direction.
  • Always yield to pedestrians when riding on a sidewalk.
  • Always ride with both hands on the handlebars. It is illegal to ride a bike with “no hands”.
  • Between the hours of sunset and sunrise, you must use a white headlight, visible to 500 feet on the front of the bicycle; and a red reflector and red lamp, visible from 600 feet, on the rear of the bicycle.

UF and Gainesville Police regulate bicycle traffic. Anyone violating traffic regulations can be pulled over, ticketed, and fined. more information, please visit the UF Police Department webpage.


Riding an E-Scooter is a relatively inexpensive and easy way to travel short distances around campus and the city. The UF Micromobility (E-Scooters) program allows students faculty, and staff to rent E-Scooters per minute. UF works with three vendors for E-Scooters, and there is a variety of designated parking areas. Be sure to read through the UF Micromobility (E-Scooters) program webpage for full details before using an E-Scooter.


Regional Transit System, or RTS, is the City of Gainesville’s public transportation system. With a Gator 1 card, students can ride the RTS buses for free. Routes go through both the campus and city. Full route and schedule information is available online and through the RTS app.


Although some buses run in the evening, Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol (SNAP) vans are an excellent, safe way to get around campus at night. SNAP operates their 15-passenger vans every day from 6:30pm-3am during the fall and spring semesters. Students can request a SNAP van via the UF SNAP by Spare app.


It is not recommended for incoming exchange students to purchase a car, as there are a number of financial and legal considerations. Although having a car can be convenient for getting around Gainesville, running errands, and making trips, cars are not particularly useful in getting to and around campus due to parking restrictions. Most exchange students decide to use alternate forms of transportation around Gainesville.

Ride Share

Ride sharing apps are common. While Uber is a good option, UF also partners with Lyft to offer UF Safe Rides by Lyft at a discount (Wednesday-Sunday, 9am-3pm except break weeks). More information, including how to sign up, can be found on the UF Safe Rides by Lyft webpage.

Additionally, there are a few informal Facebook/social media groups where UF students discuss ride sharing, carpool, etc.; however, please be cautious when using social media.

Car Rental

There are several major car rental companies in Gainesville, other cities, and airports. Typically, the driver must be at least 21-25 years old, have their own credit card, and a possess valid international driver’s license.

Driving in the U.S.

Incoming exchange students with a valid driver’s license from their home country should be legally allowed to drive in the U.S. Before driving, incoming exchange students should validate that no other conditions exist. Incoming exchange students interested in obtaining a Florida Driver’s license should visit the website for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to get information on where to take a driving test in Gainesville.

Parking at UF

Parking permits are required to park on campus and must be purchased from the UF Office of Parking and Transportation.

Shuttle Service

For travel outside of Gainesville, incoming exchange students may consider using a shuttle service:

Life in Gainesville id="gainesville"

Gainesville is home to Florida’s flagship university, and is one of the state’s centers of education, medicine, cultural events, and athletics. The University of Florida and Shands Hospital at UF are the leading employers in Gainesville and provide jobs for many residents of surrounding counties. Known for its preservation of historic buildings and the beauty of its natural surroundings, Gainesville’s numerous parks, museums and lakes provide entertainment to thousands of visitors. Because of its beautiful landscape and urban “forest,” Gainesville is one of the most attractive cities in Florida. Some of the awards and recognitions Gainesville and its community has received in recent years include:

  • Gainesville is a “Tree Cities of the World Recognized Community for United States”
  • Gainesville is designated as a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community by The League of American Bicyclists
  • Gainesville ranked #1 in Cities Ranked and Rated, which studied more than 400 metropolitan areas in the U.S. and Canada (2007)
  • Gainesville ranked #10 and #11 on Livability’s Top 10 Best College Towns and Best College Review’s 50 Best College Towns in America, respectively (2019)
  • Gainesville ranked #14 on The Atlantic Cities’ America’s Brainiest Cities list (2012)
  • Gainesville ranked #1 in Florida on Zippia’s Best City in Each State to Start Your Career (2018)
  • Gainesville ranked #7 on the Top 25 Greenest Cities in the U.S. by The Daily Beast (2011)


Gainesville has a humid subtropical climate that is relatively mild year-round. Per Weather Spark, the following temperatures can be expected:

  • Fall Semester
    • In August, the average high temperature is 89°F/32°C, and the average low temperature is 72°F/22°C.
    • Although days are very hot, temperatures reaching 100°F/38°C would be rare during the fall semester.
    • Temperatures steadily decrease through the months of the fall semester.
    • By December, the average high temperate is 67°F/19.5°C, and the average low temperature is 46°F/8°C.
  • Spring Semester
    • In January, the average high temperature is 66°F/19°C, and the average low temperature is 44°F/6.5°C.
    • There may be an occasional freeze in the winter, but snow, even light snow, would be extremely rare.
    • Temperatures steadily increase through the months of the spring semester.
    • By May, the average high temperate is 85°F/29.5°C, and the average low temperature is 62°F/16.5°C.

While Gainesville is often quite sunny, thunderstorms, which are usually short and sometimes intense, are also common, especially in late spring, summer, and early fall. During storms, lightning is usual. Many members of the UF and Gainesville community casually and fondly refer to Gainesville as “Rainesville”.


Gainesville and the surrounding areas are home to several scenic locations, parks, preserves, trails, and more. On-campus favorites are Lake Alice and the UF Bat Houses. Downtown Gainesville features Depot Park, connecting with the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail. Other prominent locations nearby are UF’s Lake Wauburg, La Chua Trail, Paynes Prairie, Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park, and Sweetwater Wetlands Park. You can check out the resources at Alachua Conservation Trust and Florida State Parks for more. You may also check out TrailLink to find out more about the plentiful hiking and cycling trails near Gainesville. Across Florida, there are lots of natural springs; Ichetucknee Springs and Rainbow Springs are two of the most popular that are relatively close to Gainesville.

Art & Culture

The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History, both located next to the Performing Arts Center at 34th Street and Hull road (on campus), have permanent and rotating exhibits of interest. The Museum of Natural History also houses the Butterfly Rainforest, which is a four-story, outdoor screened enclosure with waterfalls, a walking trail, lush subtropical and tropical plants and hundreds of live butterflies. Both the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History are free, although you the latter requires a Gator 1 card. The Fine Arts B building on campus also houses the University Gallery. There is plenty of art to be seen across Gainesville, as well. Art may be featured at various galleries, mostly in downtown Gainesville; locally-owned restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, and shops; the Historic Thomas Center in Gainesville’s Duckpond neighborhood; and the Artisans’ Guild Gallery, among others. Gainesville’s art and artists can be enjoyed during Artwalk Gainesville, which is held on the last Friday of each month. Art is also on public display via murals, most of which are catalogued through the 352walls project. There are also two large art festivals per year: Spring Arts Festival, hosted by Sante Fe College (March or April), and Downtown Festival & Arts Show (November or December). Finally, the Matheson Museum features permanent and temporary exhibits on Alachua County and Florida history. Entry is free.

Gainesville also has a number of indie shops, farmers’ markets, vintage pop-ups, and more. Gainesville’s “Best of the Best” awards, sponsored by the local newspaper, The Gainesville Sun, is a great way to check out what the city has to offer. The OnlyInGainesville Instagram account (especially their stories and highlights) is also an excellent, popular resource to stay-up-to-date on happenings and resources around the community. They often tag other pertinent community accounts that may be of interest for you to follow.

If you are in the mood for a show, there are numerous venues for your consideration. On campus, the Phillips Center for Performing Arts and the Constans Theatre host concerts, plays, ballets, musicals, and more. Theatre and movie goers alike also frequent the historic Hippodrome Theatre, which is located downtown in the old post office, in addition to several other theaters in town. Prices are often discounted for students with a Gator 1 card. Lastly, UF’s ACCENT Speakers Bureau, a student-run organization, brings many prominent speakers to campus.

Student Life

UF offers an impressive array of student life opportunities to appreciate the arts, participate in a student organization, get involved in recreational sports, and make an impact.

Warrington Event Calendar & Heavener News Blog

Many college events will be posted to the Warrington Event Calendar. Check the calendar often to identify information on upcoming events, opportunities, speakers, and more. Undergraduate business student organizations will generally utilize their social media accounts to advertise their events.

Many Heavener announcements will be posted in the Undergraduate News blog. Check the blog often to identify information on upcoming events, opportunities, speakers, and more.

Student Organizations

Interested in break dancing, water skiing, or rock climbing? How about Buddhism, Hinduism, or foreign languages? UF has around 1000 student organizations, and any student can join as long as it is not a restricted academic honor society. This is a great way to meet UF degree-seeking students, as most student organizations have regular meetings and events. To search for student organizations, use the GatorConnect platform.

There are a few student organizations dedicated particularly to undergraduate business exchange students and undergraduate exchange students in general:

  • Global Business Society (GBS) & Global Gator Guide Program
    • The mission of GBS is, “To promote awareness among the student body in international affairs, the global economy, and academic as well as professional opportunities in international business; to build a global networking community; to facilitate the integration of international students into the Gainesville community.” The organization hosts a speaker series and other events that are of interest especially for international students.
    • The Global Gator Guides, overseen by GBS, are a group of UF business students who seek to connect, guide, and befriend incoming business exchange students. They facilitate student matches and lead several fun activities on campus and in the local Gainesville community.
  • NaviGators International
    • The NaviGators International program was created to help acclimate incoming exchange students to Gainesville and UF, while encouraging an exchange of different cultures and ideas between the American and international students. At this site you can find many resources and/or sign up to have a NaviGator Mentor.

If you would like to get involved in the community and help others, sign up to be a volunteer. The David and Wanda Brown Center for Leadership and Service offers a variety of options to make an impact.

J. Wayne Reitz Student Union

Referred to as “the Reitz”, UF’s student union has much to offer. Leisure courses allow for the opportunity to take classes in such subjects as language, stained glass, ballet and modern dance, tennis, massage and guitar; the exact selection rotates each semester. There is a small fee for students, and the course is not for credit (i.e., will not be reflected on your official University of Florida transcript).

Gator Nights is held at the student union every Friday night. There is a different theme each week. The program offers free movies, bands, comedians, improv shows, arts and crafts, novelties, interactive games, food, cultural events, DJs, video games, and more.


UF is recognized for its recreation and wellness activities. As a student, you can use the abundant indoor and outdoor fitness facilities, as well as participate in group fitness classes and intramural sports. Intramurals are an organized sport and tournament program with multiple sports, including tennis, soccer, softball, and volleyball. There are also around 50 different sport clubs on campus (swimming, wrestling, soccer, flag football, cycling, equestrian sports, underwater hockey, archery, fencing, judo, Quidditch, sailing, Ultimate Frisbee, water polo, and much more!). Any interested student can participate in intramurals and some sport clubs; other sport clubs may have try-outs.

Through UF RecSports, students may also participate in the TRiP program, which offers inexpensive outdoor activities such as rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing, swimming with dolphins and backpacking. The trips are in various parts of Florida, the southeastern United States, and beyond. Costs of the trips include meals, transportation, and equipment. This is also a great way to meet other UF students.

Additionally, the Outdoor Adventure Recreation (OAR) student organization offers student-run recreation trips around Gainesville, various parts of Florida, the southeastern United States, and beyond.

Gator Athletics

Gator athletic competitions are the most popular events in Gainesville. Students and fans turn up in the thousands to watch sports such as football, basketball, baseball, softball, gymnastics, and soccer. Don’t miss your opportunity to support the Florida Gators. Note that sports all have different seasons, so you can check the Florida Gators Athletics Calendar to see which sports will be on during your exchange semester. Most UF home sporting events, except football, are free for UF students. Check the Florida Gators Student Tickets webpage for more information.

Emergency Numbers for UF and Alachua County id="emergency"

For emergencies only, dial 911

UF Dean of Students Office
P202 Peabody Hall (UF Campus)

UF Care
Various Locations (UF Campus)

UFPD Office of Victim Services
1515 Museum Road (UF Campus)

Gainesville Police Department
545 NW 8th Ave
001-352-393-7500 (911 for emergency only)

HCA Florida North Florida Hospital
6500 Newberry Road

Counseling and Wellness Center
Various Locations (UF campus)

Peaceful Paths (Domestic Abuse Network)
2100 NW 53rd Avenue

Alachua County Crisis Center
218 SE 24th Street

UF Police Department
1515 Museum Road (UF Campus)
001-352-392-1111 (911 for emergencies only)

Shands Hospital
1600 SW Archer Road