What are My Responsibilities?
The UNCP Office of International Programs will help you plan your study abroad experience, but there are several things that you, the potential study abroad student, need to do. You must:
- Decide whether you desire a short or a long-term study abroad experience;
- Complete an application and pay the compulsory $50 fee;
- Make an appointment with the IP office. We will discuss your options on the premises of finance, cultural preference, and academic standing;
- Arrange a meeting with the UNCP Office of Financial Aid should you require financial assistance;
- Research applicable scholarships to alleviate a portion of your fees; and
- Acquire a U.S. passport. Longer-term exchanges may require a visa from the country to which they plan to travel.
Notes and Queries for Faculty-led Programs
Q: Are there academic major restrictions? For example, do I have to be a biology major to take the "Rainforest Ecology of Costa Rica" class?
A: Some classes, like the "Marine Biology" class that involves a one-week stay in Bermuda, do have departmental restrictions. Others do not. Please check with the IP Office to verify that you are eligible to participate in a faculty-led experience.
Q: I think I'm going to have trouble financing my trip. What should I do?
A: As mentioned previously, please contact the UNCP Office of Financial Aid to inquire about available financial assistance. As an alternative, you should research study abroad scholarships. Do not, however, assume that scholarships will be able to completely finance your trip. There is no guarantee that you will get one.
Q: Any packing advice for inexperienced travelers?
A. Do not over-pack. Infrequent flyers tend to pack far too many clothes, and this can be a hindrance when you land.
Exchanges: Responsibilities and Deadlines
The most outstanding administrative difference between faculty-led and semester-length programs is that, for semester exchanges, you must receive academic approval from your department for each course taken abroad. This approval process will involve your academic adviser, the chair of your department, and the Office of International Programs, and you must complete course authorization before you leave. Otherwise, the IP Office cannot guarantee that you will receive credit for the courses you take abroad, and not receiving 12 credit hours of course credit can have serious implications for your financial aid. Again, ensure that you meet with:
- The chair of your department
- The International Programs Office
- Your adviser
The completion of forms and administrative documents will be a continuous and ongoing process. Of critical importance are these forms:
- Course authorization form that you must complete and turn in before you leave
- A form you will turn in, once abroad, that confirms your course choices
- Forms and waivers specific to your foreign institution that are compulsory
Again, it is imperative that you complete all forms in an accurate and timely manner. Failure to do so could result in delays or, in extreme cases, removal from your exchange program.
You may encounter issues registering for courses at your host institution, so it is imperative that you get at least twice as many courses authorized as you plan to take.
Scheduling an exchange is complicated, and you should be aware of several important deadlines associated with the different exchange opportunities:
- January 20: Applications for ISEP fall or academic year due (It is recommended that you work on your ISEP application, the fall semester a full year before you intend to study abroad)
- February 15: Applications for fall or academic year study abroad due.
- August 20: Applications for ISEP spring due (It is recommended that you work on your ISEP application the summer before the academic year in which you intend to study abroad in spring)
- October 15 Applications for spring study abroad due.
Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 to participate in an exchange program, and some programs stipulate a higher GPA. Bangor University, for example, requires a GPA of 3.0. You must have completed 30 hours of coursework at UNCP, or have completed one semester of study as a transfer student to ensure that you have a recordable GPA. Though courses taken abroad will not influence your GPA directly, they will be included in the calculation for Latin honors received at graduation (cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude).
Please be aware that, in order to receive financial aid, you must take 12 U.S. credit hours of coursework abroad, and it must be applicable to your graduation requirements. Under special circumstances you may take three courses or 9 credit hours, and we will offer you the option of taking a fourth course, WLS 2990.
Finally, though you may meet all of the above requirements, there is no guarantee of acceptance from a foreign institution. There is also no guarantee that you will be granted the appropriate Visa, but in almost every case, visas, foreign acceptance, and UNCP program acceptance is granted contemporaneously.