One of the first things to think about is how much time you’d like to dedicate to your global opportunity, which could depend on a ton of factors. Do you want to take the plunge and do a full year abroad, or would a semester (approx. 16 weeks) or summer program (approx. 6 weeks) better suit your needs? Would Fall or Spring semester be more ideal? Perhaps you’re looking to first find an alternate Fall or Spring Break opportunity as an introduction into international travel. Answering these questions is a great first step in this discovery.

  • Duration

You can choose from programs that are anywhere from a few days to a full year. For-credit Study Abroad programs tend to be scheduled on a Summer, Full Semester or Full Year basis. Shorter-term programs may help you decide if you’d like to also pursue a longer-term program, but you may already be ready to accept the challenge of a longer term experience.

  • Time of Year

Consider which time of year is best for you to travel. Would you prefer to be abroad from August to December, January to May, or sometime in June or July? When making your decision, think about holidays, campus responsibilities, weather, course or internship availability, and duration to which you’re willing to commit. Decide whether or not any of these things are deal-breakers for you and then work to find a program that fits your parameters. A special note here: if you are worried about missing UNC sporting events, we encourage you to look into the many possible ways of cheering on the Tar Heels or getting involved with sports and other exciting events/festivals/etc. while living in a different country. Talking with Study Abroad Peer Advisors or other students who have traveled to your country is a good place to start to find our more info.

Ask Yourself

Realistically, how long can I be away from home?

Are there specific cultural celebrations, events, or holidays that I wish to experience? When do those occur?

Have I considered the climate, weather, and seasons of the location I’m visiting? Which time of year suits my preferences?

Which time of year best fits my family obligations, academic schedule, personal interests/goals, and work schedule?