Advising Outgoing Exchange Students

Are there general questions I should know how to field about UNCG study abroad programs?

Yes, and most of them are the same questions that our students ask, so just click here to see the most commonly posed questions.

What does IPC do to get students ready for their exchange programs?

Our mission is to select qualified students for our various programs. UNCG presently has over 60 bilateral exchange agreements and is a member of ISEP and UNC-EP. Students can study in over 35 countries.

We advise students as early as possible in their academic career, and this advising is generally done in four meetings: “Options” meeting (30 minutes), “checklist” session (45 minutes), “application” meeting (15 minutes) and “interview prep” (20 minutes). The options meeting serves to provide students with study abroad options that are likely to meet their needs.

The checklist session covers the general application process and gives students general strategies on how to proceed. We discuss the educational systems of the various countries and strategies for being successful in those systems.

In the application meeting, the student receives the appropriate application and is given specific information for completing the application. This application meeting is always in the semester before the student plans to go abroad, and students do not receive an application without going over the details. The fourth meeting is a preparatory meeting approximately one week before the interview in which we discuss culture shock and let students know what to expect at the interview.

The interview and selection process takes about two weeks after which students are notified of their nomination.

Once students have been selected, we conduct a series of orientation sessions to provide students with enough information to get started with preparation for departure: pre-departure orientation (all day), academic workshop (2 hours), and financial workshop (2 hours). The pre-departure orientation covers the nuts and bolts of exchanges and technical aspects of traveling (passports, visas, packing, safety, insurance, etc.), culture shock simulation, international student panel and country-specific sessions. The academic workshop covers transfer credit issues and the financial workshop features Financial Aid staff and covers money matters including power-of-attorney, insurance, etc. All orientation sessions are mandatory.

Please encourage your advisees to come by our office. If you are interested in attending any of these advising, interview or orientation sessions, please let us know. It is an easy way to get information about our exchanges.

When should students come to me as an advisor to discuss study abroad?

Since students need to plan early, we recommend that they come as soon as they express an interest in study abroad. They are encouraged to share ideas with you so that you can help them plan the semesters before, during and after the exchange period. Pre-planning is particularly important when students are in the School of Education; School of Music, and School of Nursing. Since these students may have less flexibility in their curriculum, they are encouraged to discuss study abroad during pre-registration of their Freshman year.

What issues of study abroad will involve me as an advisor?

Departmental curricular requirements and issues of transfer credit are of utmost importance to you as an advisor. Your department generally knows which UNCG courses you expect students to take in your department (that is, courses that shouldn't be taken abroad) and which pivotal courses students should have before going abroad to do major work. Be sure to discuss these with the students. Students are encouraged to discuss their plans with their departmental advisor, but are told to be sure and also discuss their plans with the advisor in the department who is responsible for course substitutions if their advisor is not this individual.

Are there standard rules of thumb when advising for study abroad?

Yes, ask students where they are in the process: Have they met with IPC staff to discuss their options? Have they done the IPC checklist? If not, then encourage them to do so. (See above.) Find out where the students plan to study and what they will be doing. If they have discussed options and done the checklist with us, the students should have rudimentary knowledge about the educational systems of the countries they are considering. They should also be able to tell you whether general education courses are available or whether they will be doing only major coursework. Students will know to bring photocopies of potential coursework they intend to complete with them so that you can help them select as many courses as possible.

Why does there seem to be so much flexibility needed when pre-approving and evaluating coursework?

Expectations and goals of study abroad are as varied as the students who wish to study abroad. The educational systems are often unique to the countries where your students will be. We want students to get as many courses approved before they go so that they can have flexibility when they arrive. This pre-planned flexibility alleviates some of the stress of adjustment. US institutions are unique in providing information about courses that will be offered in future semesters. For many of our partner institutions, materials are general and are not actually the courses the students will get once they arrive. Therefore, it is important that you provide them with general guidelines about choosing courses. Students are encouraged to write you upon arrival if their pre-approved coursework is not available and to carbon the message to the IPC study abroad advisor for their file. They all know to bring work back with them in case there are any questions about course content.

What if my department or I want to learn more about options for our majors? How can we proceed?

Feel free to invite IPC staff to a departmental to receive more information. We can help you understand our general philosophy about setting up and administering exchanges and what possibilities exist for faculty involvement. We can also arrange classroom presentations upon request. Just contact IPC.

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