FAQs

Are there scholarships available?

YES! Check out our scholarship page for more information regarding scholarship opportunities.

Can I graduate the same semester I study abroad?

NO! Students are ineligible to graduate the same semester they study abroad simply because our office does not receive your transcript from your host university in time to process your grades for graduation that same semester. However, there are some exceptions to this rule: If you participate in a faculty-led program the same semester you intend to graduate, then yes, you can graduate that same semester! (This is because, with faculty-led programs only, we receive student grades immediately upon completion of the program).

Can I use my financial aid to pay for study abroad expenses?

YES! Any student who is eligible to fill out the FAFSA may qualify for aid in the form of grants and/or loans. Students are permitted to use any funds awarded toward the educational costs of a study abroad program. If you are awarded financial aid for the semester/year you will be abroad, your funds will be disbursed to you at the start of the semseter(s) you are abroad. Keep in mind, however, that you cannot receive your funds early for any reason; this means that you may have to pay for some expenses out of pocket (e.g. plane ticket, housing deposit, program deposit, application fees, passport, etc.) and then receive your aid later when it is disbursed according to UNC Charlotte's academic calendar.

Do I have to speak a foreign language?

NO! In fact, a majority of the students we send abroad to non-English speaking countries do NOT know the language of that country! A majority of study abroad programs offer courses in English that you can take while you're abroad. However, there are some programs that do require you to have certain amount of prerequisite language courses in order to be considered.

Does Financial Aid pay the study abroad institution directly?

NO! Financial aid will be disbursed to the student via direct deposit or a refund check. It is then the student's responsibility to submit payment with those funds to whomever money is owed to at that time.

How do I choose a program?

Based on academics, budget, career goals and personal interests, choose a program that is right for you in all these areas. A Study Abroad advisor along with your academic advisor can help you find programs and assist you in the application process. Unsure of where to start? Review our Steps to Studying Abroad, which help all students to get started with the process. 

How do I get around?

Most countries offer a variety of public transportation. You can find more information about transportation in specific countries at www.travel.state.gov .

How do I get my course approved?

After you have picked a program, completed an Office of Education Abroad (OEA) application, and been approved to study abroad by OEA, you will receive access to a document called an "Advising Agreement." This is where you will list the courses you want to take at the host university based on their course catalog, which can be found on the host university's website.

You will then print out the course descriptions and/or the syllabus of each course you're interested in taking. The form and your course description will then be submitted to the corresponding academic department at UNC Charlotte. The Department Chair for that course will evaluate the course description and assign a UNC Charlotte equivalent course, if applicable. 

For example, if you plan to take a History course abroad, the Chair of the Department of History will need to approve the course. If you also take a language course, the Chair of the Department of Languages & Culture Studies will need to approve the course, and so on until all courses have been approved. Keep in mind a department chair can ONLY approve courses that fall within that academic department and the Office of Education Abroad cannot determine course equivalencies. 

Keep in mind the process outlined above is only applicable to students participating in an exchange or affiliate provider program. Faculty-led programs already have UNC Charlotte equivalent courses listed on the program brochure under the "Academics" tab!

Is there a meal plan?

A meal plan, while very common in the United States, is typically not an option abroad. Students buy groceries and cook, or eat at the on campus cafeterias and local cafés.

What are the steps to studying abroad?

Good question! Click here to get started. 

What happens if I need to go to the doctor?

All students who study abroad are required to have international health insurance supplied by the UNC System. You will be fully insured while abroad in the case you need to go to the doctor.

What if I leave the study abroad program early?

This will depend on at what point you are departing from your program. In some cases, students can return to the U.S. and finish exams if the host university allows this. In other cases, students may have to forfeit the entire semester (which would mean paying back any financial aid used that semester). OEA will evaluate each student on a case by case basis to discuss the early withdrawal process with them, to include potential consequences. 

What is housing like?

This depends on your program but generally you have a choice between homestay, apartment, or student housing on campus for exchanges or affiliate programs. Faculty-led programs will have pre-arranged housing and this can vary from hotels, dorms and hostels. The accommodations for a faculty-led program will be listed on the "housing" tab of the brochure. 

When can I go abroad?

The first time a student is eligible to go abroad is the summer after their freshman year (they must complete two full-time semesters first). Students can then go abroad any spring break, summer, fall, spring, academic year or calendar year after that, all the way up through their senior year. Keep in mind that students cannot graduate the same semester they study abroad (unless they are participating in a faculty-led program). 

For transfer students, you will need to have established a UNC Charlotte GPA in order to study abroad. If your academic plan is not flexible and you need to study abroad after your first semester at UNC Charlotte, speak with your study abroad advisor about a conditional approval. BONUS: Studying abroad credits are treated as resident credit, which means the residence requirement does not apply to study abroad as your are earning UNC Charlotte credit, not transfer credit. 

When will I receive my Financial Aid money?

Financial aid is disbursed at the start of the fall, spring or summer term you will be abroad according to UNC Charlotte's academic calendar (i.e. regardless of your departure date or cost of your program). Unfortunately, financial aid cannot be disbursed early for any reasons.

When will my study abroad grades be processed?

This will depend on several factors:

Program Type

  • Exchange or Affiliate Provider Students: It can take anywhere from 1- 6 months to receive your official transcript from the host university. In order to process your grades, the Office of Education Abroad must receive the official transcript in a sealed envelope directly from the host university or provider. Upon receipt of your transcript, it can take approximately 4 - 6 weeks to translate your grades into A-F letter grades and gather all necessary documentation to be sent to the Office of the Registrar. Once the Registrar receives the documentation, it takes approximately 3-5 business days before your study abroad grades will post on your UNC Charlotte transcript.
  • Faculty-Led Spring Break students: Because students participating in a faculty-led spring break program are enrolled in and are taking a spring course, grades will post according to the same timeline as any other spring course.
  • Faculty-Led Summer students: After the completion of your program, OEA awaits to receive final grades from your Faculty Director. Once grades are received, it takes approximately 4 weeks before documentation can be gathered to sent to the Office of the Registrar. Once the Registrar receives the documentation, it takes approximately 3-5 business days before your study abroad grades will post on your UNC Charlotte transcript.

Outstanding balance

Students who have an outstanding balance with the Office of Education Abroad will have a hold placed on their Student Account, which will restrict them from registering for courses at UNC Charlotte for the subsequent semester, from modifying an existing course schedule, and from requesting a transcript from the Registrar. The hold will be lifted immediately upon receipt of any outstanding balance.


Outstanding volunteer hours

Students who have received an OEA scholarship must complete several volunteer hours with our office. Students who have not yet completed these hours will not have their study abroad grades processed until they have done so.

Where can I study abroad?

Nearly anywhere! Almost every country in the world has institutions of higher learning and you are not limited to only those countries with which we have an agreement. See the Office of Education Abroad for details! (Note: We are not allowed to send students to countries that are currently issued Travel Warning. These are also found at www.travel.state.gov.

Which classes do I take abroad?

The classes you will be eligible to take are based upon which classes are offered at the host institution. Classes can be used to fill graduation, major, minor and general education requirements. For this, you should work closely with your academic advisor and schedule a meeting with him or hern to discuss your degree requirements. This will help you as you search for programs which best fit your major, minor or degree requirements. 

Will I receive extra Financial Aid while attending study abroad?

 

Students receiving financial aid should expect to receive the same amount of aid as they did the previous semester. Speak with your financial counselor to see if you have any loan eligibility available and discuss any alternatives in securing additional funding.
 

Will my classes count?

YES! All courses completed abroad will count as UNC Charlotte credit. Your grades will transfer as whole letter grades A-F, be listed on your transcript AND calculated into your GPA!

Will someone pick me up from the airport?

In most cases, programs provide transportation from the airport to your destination unless you waive this service. This service is program specific so you'll need to inquire!