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Why Should You Study Abroad?


Choosing a Program

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.

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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.

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.

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

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

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.).

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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, TEAN 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 an Office of Education Abroad Information Session, you may also make an appointment with 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.

OIP 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.
  • 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.

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.

  • 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.


After attending an information session, you are ready to meet with an advisor.

You can easily schedule an appointment by stopping by the Office of Education Abroad or by calling us at 910.962-3685. Appointments cannot be scheduled via email.

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.

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.

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.

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

If you are enrolling in a UNCW course for a credit-bearing service learning, internship, independent study, practicum, or research project abroad, the selection, advising, and enrollment process 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 Office of Education Abroad throughout this process for assistance.


Information about classes that are available at your school of interest 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.

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.

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 Education Abroad is written in English).

You may also use the Google Translator tool available for free on most website browsers.

You can get credit at UNCW for any course you take abroad and pass with the equivalent of a “C” or better. 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.grade conversion guideAlso, check the credit conversion guide 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.

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.

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.

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.

Explorations Beyond the Classroom and Study Abroad

All undergraduate students must complete an Explorations Beyond the Classroom experience as part of the University Studies core curriculum requirement. If you wish to use your education abroad experience to satisfy the Explorations Beyond the Classroom requirement, learn more at Study Abroad and University Studies.


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.

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

When you attend the pre-departure orientation, you will be given a sample list of items to pack.

Make extra copies of documentation. 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.

Whether you need to apply for a visa depends on program location, duration and activities in which you will participate while abroad (internships, etc.). This information is typically provided by 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.

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.

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