Preparing to Depart
Before you depart it is important to prepare for your experience. Follow the steps below.
Once you receive your Acceptance email, you will be instructed to complete and turn in additional materials. It is very important to complete all the material submissions, required readings, as well as signature documents required for your program in a timely manner. You will be frequently reminded if items are not complete.
Below is a list of typical items that will need to be completed after being accepted in a program:
- Confirmation of your acceptance to the program
- Submit a copy of your passport
- Submit course approvals for LAC credit, equivalencies, and/or substitutions*
- Complete your Study Abroad Budget Estimate form
- Any other items specific to your education abroad program
*See below for more information on how to complete this process.
Attend UNC Mandatory Education Abroad Orientation(s)
All students participating in an education abroad program will attend two MANDATORY pre-departure orientations in which important administrative, safety, health, and cultural adjustment information will be covered. Students will also have the opportunity to meet with other UNC students who studied at their host school as well as with visiting exchange students from their international host institutions. These sessions occur in October (spring semester abroad) and March (summer, fall, and academic year abroad). Failure to attend will result in automatic withdrawal from your program abroad by the CIE-Study Abroad Office. Details about the date and time of the orientation will be included in your Acceptance email.
Read through the Education Abroad Student Handbook for all the answers to your questions regarding living and studying in another country. Find information on financial aid, passports, visas, banking abroad, health & insurance, safety, communication from abroad, packing tips, legal requirements, and international travel.
All students going abroad need to complete the credit pre-approval forms. Students will complete these in conjunction with their Academic Advisor, CIE, and individual UNC departments. For each course you transfer back, you MUST get the appropriate department's signature and form completed. Please follow directions on each form respectively.
Return all forms to CIE BEFORE your departure. Failure to complete appropriate forms will result in a delay in transferring your credits upon your return, and will not guarantee that courses taken abroad will come back as intended.
- Click here for a list of contacts for each department at UNC for such approvals.
- Course Approval Forms
- Things to Consider:
- French, German, and Chinese course equivalencies will be determined upon return and an language proficiency exam is completed to determine appropriate course level.
- LAC approvals are granted through the academic department in which the LAC is housed and the LAC form must be used.
- All UNC transfer of credit policies apply to study abroad.
- Credit Equivalencies: Remember that not all international credit systems are equivalent to the US system used at UNC. For a list of common international school-UNC credit equivalencies, click here. When in doubt, UNC uses the following formula for international transfer credit hours: 15 contact hours = 1 UNC credit.
- Grade Equivalencies: All coursework taken abroad is will come back as transfer credit, which means you must earn the international equivalent of a C- or better in order to receive credit for the course. For a list of international grade equivalencies, click here.
Though CIE doesn't provide visa advice, we can help guide you through the process and review application materials if you are unsure of required documentation and we will provide students participating in a UNC exchange a visa information sheet upon acceptance into their program. However, we do not have the capacity to stay up-to-date of country-to-country visa regulations. We strongly encourage you to review the Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
- Registration with the U.S. Embassy: UNC's Center for International Education strongly recommends that you register your travel plans with the U.S. Department of State before you leave. This may seem unnecessary, but in cases of emergency is critical to your health and safety.
- Country Specific Information:: Learning about your host country before you arrive will help your foster meaningful relationships through more informed dialogue. Research the history and current events of your host country to better understand your new cultural environment.
- Safety and Security Reports: The U.S. State Department occasionally issues travel advisories for travel to certain countries. We will inform you if there is an advisory which is specific to your site. We advise against traveling to any locations which the State Department has issued specific warnings, so stay aware!
- Health and Vaccinations: We recommend that you consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn about health issues for international travel. Be sure to look for information specific to your region(s) where you will travel.
- Other Resources: