You’ve probably heard about the traditional summer, semester, or year-long Study Abroad programs, where students go and take classes at other universities around the world. But, have you heard about opportunities to intern abroad? Design your own research project? Participate in a service-learning opportunity? Any of these things could be done individually or as part of a group. They can be faculty-led or self-designed and be UNC-sponsored or hosted through another university. The type of program you choose could depend on (or help determine) the location, timing, etc. of your global opportunity.


  • Study Abroad: Excellent for learning another language, earning credit toward your major/minor, meeting a variety of GenEd requirements, and learning about other countries and cultures; Study Abroad also helps develop cross-cultural communication and other transferable skills, such as adaptability, independence, cultural awareness, and problem-solving; there are several types of programs, with different financial implications (see this link for more info on the types of programs)
  • UNC Faculty-led Study Abroad Program: Like the above, but 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, are looking for smaller course sizes, or for transfer students since the credit received is not considered transfer credit
  • Internship: Best for gaining insight into a specific field or job type; may help you to clarify what direction to take (or not take) and/or gain experience in the field you’re pursuing; can help strengthen your professional networks that will help you find a job post-graduation
  • Research: Not just for Science majors! Conducting research provides you with the chance to perform in-depth study on a particular topic while also gaining transferable skills and helping to define your academic and professional interest; research can also offer you the opportunity to form deep relationships with mentors and professors
  • Service-Learning: Typically, service-learning opportunities allow you to receive credit while participating in an academic course that integrates a service component; this allows you to work towards your major requirements while also gaining hands-on experience through service that is collaborative and that provides interdisciplinary solutions to local and global challenges

Ask Yourself

Do I know a professor or other UNC staff member who can help me make connections abroad? (spoiler alert: build a relationship with them ASAP!)

Have I considered the ethical implications of the global opportunity I’m pursuing (especially for service and research)?

What am I seeking to achieve with my global opportunity?