FAQs for Choosing a Program

Couldn’t find the information you were looking for in another section? Check out the Frequently Asked Questions about choosing a program for more information.

You can go abroad almost any time during your undergraduate or graduate career at UNC Charlotte. It is each student’s individual responsibility to determine which is the best semester for them to go abroad academically, financially, and personally. Programs can be as short as one week, and as long as one year. They are offered during spring break, fall and spring semesters, and academic or calendar years.

When researching program options it is important to consider the host university/program academic calendar as it will likely differ greatly from the UNC Charlotte academic calendar. Each program will have different program dates, and in some cases may overlap with another term at UNC Charlotte. So it is essential that students consider which dates will work for them individually and when they need to return to UNC Charlotte.

Education abroad programs offered or supported by UNC Charlotte serve currently-enrolled, degree-seeking students. All students are required to be in good academic and good disciplinary standing at time of application and time of study. Additional eligibility requirements, including minimum GPA and course, class, or major pre-requisites, will vary by program. Review the Eligibility Requirements section of our website for more information and be sure to read the program brochure for your program of interest before requesting access to an application.

Students are welcomed (and encouraged!) to go abroad more than once. Generally, undergraduate students can go abroad a total of three semesters. This is only a general rule of thumb as it ultimately will depend on how many total UNC Charlotte credits the student earns abroad. Graduate students should communicate with their graduate program director to determine how many times they would be eligible to go abroad.

Some students may be interested in participating in two back-to-back programs in different locations. This is definitely possible; however, you will need to keep in mind that there may be some extra logistical steps you will need to take in order to do so. You would need to complete two separate EA applications (and any applicable additional applications required, depending on the program). Also, it will be your responsibility to consider immigration and pre-departure preparation requirements for each program.

All students are encouraged to consult with their Academic Advisors as necessary regarding when the best time(s) for them to study abroad may be based on their degree requirements.

Each individual student has individual goals when studying abroad. You need to do thorough research to ensure a program is a good academic fit for you, meaning that you would be able to take courses abroad that interest you and/or that would help you stay on track with graduation requirements. Additionally, it is critical that you identify a program that is a good financial fit for you. This means that you should feel confident that you can cover all program-related expenses and financially support yourself throughout your time abroad. EA also recommends that you dig a little deeper: think beyond graduation to consider what your personal and career goals are – who do you want to be and what do you want to do after you graduate? – and think about how a particular study abroad program may help you achieve these goals.

Transfer students can and do study abroad! Transfer students have to have a UNC Charlotte GPA established at the time of application in order to go abroad the subsequent semester. Transfer students will need to be sure to work with their Academic Advisors to determine when will be the best time for them to go abroad based on their degree requirements. Note that studying abroad credits are treated as resident credit, NOT transfer credit, which means the residence requirement does not apply to study abroad programs. Review the Eligibility Requirements section of the Application Process section to learn more about study abroad eligibility requirements.

Depending on which specific program you participate in, your program may allow you to choose which housing option you would prefer, or the program may only offer one type of accommodation. Remember, you’ll always want to review program brochures carefully for more information on the accommodation types offered, the estimated cost of the accommodations (if separate from the program fee), what is included in these accommodation types, to whom housing is paid, and more. What follows are some general types of housing typically associated with most programs.

  • Hotels/Hostels – Shorter-term programs (e.g. spring break) primarily utilize hotels or hostels due to the limited time spent abroad. Rooms are typically shared occupancy with other program participants.
  • Dorms/Residence Halls – Programs associated with a local university often offer dormitory style housing. Students will likely share a room with another program participant. Depending on the dorm or residence hall, students may have a small kitchen in their unit, a kitchen on their floor, or a shared kitchen in their building.
  • Homestay – Students live with a local family in the host city. The homestay option is a great way to immerse oneself in a local language, as well as experience the food, culture, and values of a local family. Many students create life-long friendships with their host family members lasting beyond their study abroad experience. Students will likely have a private room and have access to the bathroom, kitchen and common areas of the homestay.
  • Apartment – Just like off-campus apartments in Charlotte, students will likely have their own room, a shared common room, and kitchen. It is possible that anywhere from 2 to 6+ participants could live in an apartment together. Apartment style living offers students a greater sense of independence, the opportunity to live with local students, international students, and maybe other students from your program​.
  • Independent Housing – Some programs may offer the option to opt out of the provided housing, which means you can set up housing on your own. This option is not recommended. It is difficult to find housing on your own in an unfamiliar location and city. Housing provided by a program is vetted for safety and livability. However, in some cases students may have family or friends who live in the host city. It may be possible to live with them while participating in the program abroad; but only if the program itself allows students to secure their own independent housing.

This will depend on the program. On some program brochures, housing may be indicated as “guaranteed.” In other cases, if housing is not guaranteed, that means that the student can apply for accommodations through the program or host institution, but in the event that they are not placed into accommodations, they would then be responsible for identifying and securing their own housing abroad. If this is the case, the program provider or host institution typically offers some guidance to the student so that they can secure appropriate accommodations.

Yes, you can study in that location! However, you will need to verify if the program you have chosen allows you to opt out of the housing provided. For example, ISEP exchange and faculty-led programs typically require that students stay in the provided housing and do not allow students to opt out of the provided housing. Some other program types may allow students to opt out.