With the 2009-2010 academic year, the UNC EP is beginning its fourteenth year of operation. A collaborative activity among fifteen of the seventeen campuses, it has proven successful at providing opportunities for students to study at over forty countries in all regions of the world. Students enroll directly at one of our partner universities for semester or year-long programs.
Since the model is based on reciprocity, UNC campuses also receive international students who enroll directly as non-degree students in one of the fifteen participating campuses. Reciprocity works via the “exchange” of tuition/fees, thereby allowing students to pay for the semester’s study by paying tuition and fees to their home campus, a great advantage for in-state students. And UNC EP keeps a close eye on the records so a balance of incoming and outgoing students is achieved.
UNC EP programs do not include a faculty group leader or tour guide. By formal agreement, the participating universities offer student support services on-site by experienced staff members of the international affairs offices on both sides. These dedicated people provide an orientation to the campus and the environs, provide assistance with housing, and offer academic advising and personal counseling as needed. Since these offices are already in place (a requirement for participation), costs to the student are kept low. Exchange programs therefore provide a very affordable option for UNC student since the cost is similar to the cost of attendance at the student’s home campus. Additional costs are for travel, travel documents, and a low-cost medical insurance program vetted by the North Carolina agency for insurance.
For the UNC Tomorrow initiatives, UNC EP prepared a report that included an emphasis on the success of the collaboration as far as operations of UNC EP were concerned, and also on the personal success that each student achieves by spending a semester or a year abroad in a challenging but a rewarding program. The challenge is navigating, often by oneself, through a different culture, a different academic system, and often a different language from English. The rewards include skills acquired in cross-cultural understanding, personal initiative, diplomacy, tolerance, and in some programs, fluency in a foreign language. Many of these skills are relevant to the findings of the UNC Tomorrow Commission, especially “Global Readiness” and soft skills that contribute to good communication in the workplace and in the community where our students will live and work.
The UNC EP began with a state-to-state exchange with nine universities in the German state of Baden-Württemberg in 1996. Today it operates eight such programs as well as a UNC consortium for membership in the International Student Exchange Program. At the end of last year, UNC EP’s total number of participants, both outgoing and incoming was 2983. So at some point in last spring’s application cycle for 2009-2010 which resulted in 321 applicants, we passed the 3,000th student mark.
For further information, please contact:
Director, UNC Exchange Program
OR visit: UNC Exchange Program