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Choosing a Program

The Study Abroad Office offers a wide range of programs that vary by cost, location, length, and program type. Programs approved by the UNC Study Abroad Office are academically rigorous, and all participants will earn credit and grades for courses completed on any Study Abroad Office program, though the type of credit will vary depending on the program.

Things to Consider

Location: Do you prefer a specific region/country/city?

Program type: Is a certain type of program better suited for your goals? As an in-state student, is an exchange program the best option financially for you? Do you want to be in class with Americans or local students?

Program costs: How much do you have budgeted for study abroad? Can your family afford a program which costs more than a typical term at UNC?

Length or term: How much time do you want to spend abroad? Do you want to use UNC financial aid and scholarships, only available during fall and spring?

Language: Is there a certain foreign language you want to study while abroad? At what level? What language of instruction do you prefer?

Academics: Are you looking for certain academic aspects of a program? What kind of courses do you want to take abroad? What kind of credit are you looking for? Do you want the opportunity to conduct research, do an internship, or have a service-learning opportunity?

Types of Experiences

We want to help you succeed in and out of the classroom abroad, so we encourage you to review all of the resources available here as you consider the options available. To help you navigate through the many programs listed on our website, we have outlined the key characteristics of the following types of experiences and programs.


Take classes that you need for your UNC major or minor, or explore a new topic while earning credit towards graduation. You can take a class abroad taught by a UNC faculty member or enroll in courses offered by a host university or program. Programs will be sponsored by UNC or by partner institution or organizations, and include options for in-person or remote study.

  • COIL
  • Faculty-led
  • Exchange
  • Direct Enroll/Non-exchange
  • Partner Provider


Gain valuable work experience in a field that complements your career goals, fulfill internship requirements, or explore professional opportunities while earning credit towards your degree. Programs combine coursework with internship placements in order to grant academic credit. Internships are generally unpaid. Internship placements vary with many fields being represented. Options include in-person or remote placements.


Conduct clinical, field-based or applied research in an international setting. Earn credit for research working with a UNC faculty member or through a partner university or organization.

Service learning/community engagement

Community engagement provides direct experience applying content, ideas, and issues discussed in a class through volunteering at a community organization. Students support the organization and its goals, and the organization gives students the opportunity to serve the community and develop professional skills and contacts. Structured reflection on the experience is an essential component of a community engagement program.