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Why study abroad?

Students who have studied abroad typically say it was the experience of a lifetime. It is both challenging and fun, as well as educationally and personally rewarding. Education abroad is an important component of your UNCW education in our increasingly interdependent world. If great education is the broadening of intellectual horizons and the challenging of stereotypes, then you should study abroad.

While abroad, you can get a more accurate picture of the U.S. and its role in the world. Moreover, the careful selection of a study abroad program will give you valuable perspectives on your field of interest, perspectives that would perhaps be more difficult to acquire in the U.S. Employers want to hire people with international experience, and graduate schools consider study abroad a "plus" when reviewing applications.

Education abroad can be good for you academically and personally no matter what your major. Don't let this opportunity pass you by!

Information Sessions 

When are information sessions offered? 

Information sessions are offered twice a week throughout the academic year and are presented to all UNI 101 classes. You can also complete a self-paced Information Session at any time!

Study Abroad Information Session (during Academic Year)


Every Tuesday 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. 

Every Friday 11-12



What’s covered in an information session?

Information sessions cover many of the general topics and questions students may have when considering study abroad. Topics covered include study abroad and exchange program offerings, qualifications, features, benefits and the application process. 

What if I can’t make it to an information session?

If you cannot attend during the times noted above, you may schedule an individual informational appointment by stopping by the Office of Education Abroad or calling us at (910) 962-3685. 

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Choosing a Program 

Where can I study?

UNCW has more than 1,000 approved education abroad programs in over 50 countries. With so many program options, we have opportunities for all majors. Access a full listing here.

Is it affordable?

Affordability is often an important factor for students when considering education abroad. Costs vary by program; however, many options have costs that are comparable to or, in some instances, even less than attending UNCW for the same period of time. Visit our Financial Aid & Scholarship page for more information. There is a non-refundable education abroad application fee, depending on the program you select. If a student chooses to attend a program through one of our affiliated program providers or consortiums, there may also be additional fees due at the time of application.  

When can I study abroad?

You must have at least Sophomore academic standing at the time of participation for most programs, but students may study abroad from summer after their Freshman year through their Senior year. 

How long can I study abroad?

Programs range from as short as 1 week to as long as 2 years.  

Can I study abroad more than once?

Yes! Many UNCW students take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad multiple times. 

What is the difference between an Exchange and Study Abroad?

With an Exchange (EX), a student pays UNCW tuition. With Study Abroad (SA), students do not pay tuition to UNCW. Instead, Study Abroad participants either pay the host institution's tuition or a program fee (which may include items as tuition, fees, housing, excursions, etc). 

Is one better than the other?

No. Certain program types are a better fit for certain students based on individual needs and requirements such as cost, program components, and level of immersion. It is best to speak with an education abroad advisor to determine which option is best for you.

How do I decide where to study?

Things to consider include academic compatibility, region/country of interest, the language of instruction, cost, and program features. 

Am I guaranteed to study at the school of my choice?

For most study abroad programs and many non-competitive exchange programs, all qualified applicants are typically accepted to their number one choice.  For competitive exchange programs, students should list three possible options to allow some flexibility of placement. 

Should I directly contact any university that interests me?

Until you are officially accepted by a program/university, please allow the Office of Education Abroad to serve as a liaison. Once you have been officially accepted by the affiliate program provider or overseas university, please feel free to contact them directly with questions. 

Are all Study Abroad & Exchange programs processed in the Office of Education Abroad?

Yes! All credit-bearing international opportunities are facilitated through the Office of Education Abroad. 

What is an Unaffiliated Program

This includes any program that does not appear on the Office of Education Abroad menu of direct partner, consortium, or affiliated provider (AIFS, CIEE, ISA, USAC, or Semester at Sea) options, such as programs through other study abroad providers and options of direct enrollment in foreign universities. 

Before petitioning for approval of any program not affiliated with UNCW: 

Once you have attended a Study Abroad Information Session, you may also make an appointment with the Office of Education Abroad staff to discuss your options. In order to study abroad through UNCW and be eligible to receive transfer credit from an unaffiliated program abroad, students must complete this petition. If approved, you will then be responsible for completing a UNCW Education Abroad Application Packet. You may submit both the petition and application simultaneously or await approval of the petition, providing you allow ample time to complete the Education Abroad Application Packet by the corresponding UNCW deadline.

Why must Unaffiliated Programs be approved? 

The Office of Education Abroad must endorse all study abroad participation by UNCW students to ensure the following: 

  • students are aware of all program options and procedures; 
  • the program host has appropriate academic offerings; 
  • the program host sufficiently addresses issues of student safety and well-being; 
  • the program host provides adequate services for visiting international students; and 
  • to verify that credits earned abroad will be eligible for transfer to UNCW. This requires that credit be sent to UNCW on a transcript from an accredited, degree-granting institution. 

How does one apply for UNCW approval on an unaffiliated education abroad program? 

In order to petition for approval of an education abroad program not affiliated with UNCW, maintain enrollment and receive credit at UNCW, one needs to complete the "Unaffiliated Education Abroad Application Process." Commence doing so by going to the education abroad application portal found here. Log in, then you can access the correct program application checklist (called Unaffiliated Education Abroad) by selecting "Multi-country" in the Country Field and "Unaffiliated Education Abroad" in the Provider field. The "Unaffiliated Education Abroad" program you need to apply for will appear. Just select the term you will be abroad and a personalized application checklist will be created. Follow all steps and complete all requirements noted there. Let the Office of Education Abroad know if you have any questions. 

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How do I make an appointment with an advisor?

After attending an information session, you are ready to meet with an advisor. You can easily schedule an appointment here, by stopping by the Office of Education Abroad, or by calling us at (910) 962-3685. Appointments cannot be scheduled via email. 

How do I prepare to meet with an advisor?

The more research you can do prior to your appointment, the more focused and in-depth your meeting can be. It is helpful if you have explored your options on our website using our Program Search feature. 

Do I need to have a school of study chosen when I meet with an advisor?

No. Advisors are happy to describe possible options to you and help you find the best fit.  Advisors have visited many sites and can share their firsthand knowledge of the location and university. 

Will my advisor assist in my selection process?

If you have done research and know where you want to study - super!  If not, an advisor can assist. While advisors are happy to suggest options that may be a good fit for you, you will ultimately be responsible for selecting the destination for which you apply. 

What is the best way to contact an advisor if I have specific questions?

Advisors can be contacted via phone or email, or through a one-on-one appointment. 

What do I need to do if I am enrolling in a UNCW course for a credit-bearing service learning, internship, independent study, practicum, or research project abroad?

Most frequently, the selection, advising, and enrollment process for such unique credit-bearing experiences abroad starts with the sponsoring academic department. For example, most departments have a list of approved internship sites for majors and will enroll participants in a corresponding course. Once you have departmental approval, you then need to complete the Education Abroad Application found on the application portal on the Education Abroad website. You will select the Program Provider "Departmental: Pre-Approved" under "Multi-Country." You must complete the Office of Education Abroad application by the published deadline in order to receive credit for your experience abroad. Please consult with the Office of Education Abroad throughout this process for assistance.

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Can I find out what classes are available in a school that interests me?

This information can usually be found on the host university's website. Availability of course information varies by program, and you will typically be able to find general course information prior to departure. An advisor can often assist you with questions regarding the availability of an academic major or a general course of study at a particular university. 

How do I find out if the classes are taught in English?

This information is typically available on the specific university or provider’s website.  However, be sure to check with an advisor if you have any questions. 

What do I do if the university’s website is not in English?

Many universities will have sections of their websites written in English. Look for a link that says “English” or shows either a British or American flag, or look for text written in English (often a link for International Programs is written in English). You may also use the Google Translator tool available for free on most website browsers. 

How do I find out if the classes I want to take are transferable back to UNCW?

You can get credit at UNCW for any course you take abroad and pass with the equivalent of a “C” or better. Find the grade conversion guide here. The guidelines at this link will tell you what grades you must achieve in your host country in order to receive the equivalent of a "C" or better.  Also, check the credit conversion guide (PDF) to see how international credits will transfer to UNCW. The type of credit you will receive is determined by meeting with the appropriate academic chair and completion of the Transient Study Form (PDF). All students who study abroad and take classes that are not taught by a UNCW faculty member must complete a Transient Study Form (TSF) prior to departure. This form denotes exactly how specific classes taken abroad will transfer back to UNCW.

You may also review UNCW's transfer articulation website for courses that have previously been approved for transfer of credit. 

What if I change courses while I'm abroad?

If you decide to change courses while abroad, notify your department chair and academic advisor and you can make any changes necessary to the type of credit you will receive upon your return.  If you do switch courses while abroad, you will have to fill out an additional TSF to verify which courses you took and receive all your credits.  

Do some schools have a higher academic profile then others?

Yes. While all of UNCW’s education abroad partners are academically sound options, many are ranked internationally either as an entire university or for specific, high-caliber departments. 

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Will there be an orientation prior to my participation in an education abroad program?

Yes. The Office of Education Abroad holds a mandatory comprehensive pre-departure orientation for all students participating in a Short-Term, Summer, Semester or Academic Year education abroad program. This orientation covers information about health, safety, culture shock, academic expectations, and much more. 

Where should I purchase my airline tickets?

If your program offers a group flight, be sure to book your ticket thorough the designated provider or travel agent.  For most programs, you can use any airline or flight booking website (Orbitz,, etc.), or you may wish to research student discount airfares available at and

Where can I find a list of recommended items to take abroad?

When you attend the pre-departure orientation, you will be given a sample list of items to pack. You may also refer to the UNCW Education Abroad Handbook

Should I bring extra copies of any documentation?

Yes! Be sure to pack a copy of your passport and visa (if applicable) in your carry-on luggage, and leave a copy at home with a family member or trusted friend. Having a copy available will make replacing your passport much easier in the case that your passport is lost or stolen. 

People have told me I need to apply for a student visa before I leave, is this true?

Whether you need to apply for a visa depends on the program location, duration, and activities in which you will participate while abroad (internships, etc.).  This information is typically provided by the Office of Education Abroad or your program provider.  Contact the Office of Education Abroad for details.  Keep in mind that you cannot apply for a visa until you have been officially accepted by the overseas institution. 

Should I register with the American Embassy prior to my departure?

Yes!  You can do this online through the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This allows the U.S. Embassy to contact you or locate you in the event of a natural disaster, political unrest, etc. Be sure to update your travel plans on the website as the semester progresses.

Refund Policy

UNCW Office of Education Abroad Refund Policy:

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