The best time to start thinking about pursuing a global opportunity is RIGHT NOW! The earlier, the better. But, if you are a senior hoping to squeeze in a global opportunity before you graduate or a transfer student who’s not sure how a global opportunity fits into such a tight schedule, options like short-term trips, internships with locally based international organizations, or even post-graduation jobs and internships could be perfect for you!

Some students come to UNC already knowing they want to engage in a global experience while others have never given it any thought. Either way, talk to someone! And let those conversations inspire you! There are so many reasons why you should include a global experience in your time at UNC. Here’s where you can start:

  1. Attend a Global Project Showcase or a Study Abroad 101 Information Session.
  2. Schedule a meeting with someone from the Center for Global Initiatives or the Study Abroad Office.
  3. Visit the Study Abroad website, browse through the list of programs and Study Abroad Peer Ambassadors.

If you haven’t have many opportunities to travel while at UNC, but want to travel after graduation, you may be eligible for the Frances L. Phillips Travel Scholarship. This award funds self-designed and directed international travel experiences for juniors and seniors in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC who attended high school in North Carolina. This award prioritizes students with financial need and limited travel experience. Approximately 20 Phillips Scholarships  are awarded up to $9,000 every year, and experiences can range from two to six months.

Want to work or live abroad after graduation? Consider post-graduation options, like Peace Corps or the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

To help you decide what time of year is a good fit for you to travel, you’ll probably want to consider your on-campus and family obligations, the weather of your destination, and course or internship availability (maybe that ECON course you have to take at UNC is only offered in the spring semester). Keep in mind that southern hemisphere opportunities will not only have the reserve climate of that at home (June to August experiences will actually be in the winter), but the destination can also affect the timing of the program since universities  and sometimes other businesses have different hours during their summer months (December to January).

Another thing that might affect the timing of your experience is the financial consequences. If you receive financial aid and plan to take coursework through a Study Abroad program, you can put your financial aid toward an approved semester or year-long program. To find out whether or not you will be able to put any financial aid toward a summer program, you will want to contact the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid.

For-credit global opportunities tend to be scheduled based on an academic calendar as semester or year-long programs, but the Study Abroad office also has some shorter Maymester program options.

If you’re looking for a short experience, you can also seek out alternative break options through UNC or independent organizations and travel during spring break, winter break or another short period that fits your schedule.