Depending on your personality and your past travel experience, you may like to have a program that is highly structured and planned by UNC or some other organization. On the other end of the spectrum, you may wish to plan all the details yourself, down to the color of your socks on the day of departure. Either way, you’re in luck! You may choose to participate in a UNC-designed and planned program, a faculty-led program, an independent research project or an individual service journey. The world of opportunities is yours–you could take classes for a semester at a university in Ecuador or conduct community-based research over a summer in Bangladesh.


  • Faculty-led Study Abroad Program: one or more faculty members from UNC accompany students on a for-credit program that will impact your GPA; on most faculty-led programs, you will be with the same group of students all of the time and much of the planning of events will be decided by the professor; these are a good fit for students who are apprehensive about going abroad and for transfer students because the credit received is not considered transfer credit
  • Study Abroad Programs: allow you to take specific classes that are either set by UNC or another university; this allows you to have some structure but still a good amount of independence; a variety of housing options are offered by UNC’s partners abroad
  • Independent programs: there are several options for self-designing and self-guiding your Study Abroad, service-learning, research, or internship opportunity; this is ideal for someone who has a very specific idea in mind, does not prefer to have a structure or schedule set by someone else, would like to partner with a community-based organization or take part in an internship, and who is willing to travel alone

Ask Yourself

Which structure is more suitable to my degree needs, major requirements, and/or student status?

What are the financial implications of the different program structures?

Do I prefer to work independently or in groups?

Based on my preferences, what kind of program structure am I seeking?