Before You Leave FAQs

Who do I get in touch with about the possibility of studying abroad?

In order to study abroad as part of your IARc program, you will need to set up an appointment with the departmental study abroad coordinator. While you are welcome to meet with staff in the study abroad office in the Foust building at any time, you will not officially be on track for studying abroad until the departmental paperwork has been completed.

Will studying abroad delay my graduation?

No.  You will need to take a studio course and a support course while abroad, but the study abroad coordinator will approve your course selection before you ever leave the country. The only possible complications would arise if you did not successfully complete the course, in which case it obviously does not transfer back to satisfy our department requirements.

Do I have to take a studio in a program of interior design, interior architecture, or architecture?

No. You should work with the study abroad coordinator to identify a studio experience that meets your own interests and goals. You are not discouraged from taking studios in interiors or architecture, but you are welcome to explore mural painting, photography, graphic design, surface design, and many other areas.

Do I have to do an exchange program and what is the difference?

Exchange programs are those that have been worked out between UNCG and the host institution through which you attend the international university but pay tuition and fees as if you are going to another semester at UNCG. There are a number of private programs through which you can study abroad; generally they are more expensive. However, aside from the cost, a private program is no different from the exchanges that are offered.

When do I have to decide if I want to study abroad?

The most important deadline to decide is the one that is set by the International Programs Center. You need to have your application submitted for Spring study abroad by September 15th. For Fall, year long, or summer study abroad, the deadline is February 15th. As with all things, though, the earlier you decide, the better because you have more time to carefully consider all of your options and to assemble the necessary documents and materials.

What do I do once I have decided I want to study abroad?

Come and talk to the study abroad coordinator! They are here to help answer questions and begin you on your process. If you have already met with someone from IPC, that’s great, just make sure you come and see the study abroad coordinator before you get close to the deadlines because you have to have their signature on an approval form before you can officially begin the process.

Is there any financial aid or departmental support for students to study abroad?

There are a few scholarships available in small amounts for students who are studying abroad. It is important that you keep in touch with the departmental study abroad coordinator because when a determination is made regarding the recipients of those scholarships, you can’t get one if nobody knows you are going! You should also inquire at the office of International Programs to see if there are any scholarships available for which you can apply.

Can I study abroad in the summer?

Yes, you can study abroad in the summer. If you study abroad in the summer, you do not have to take a studio course since you would not have to miss and therefore replace any of the studio experiences as part of the IARc program. If you are not looking to take a studio, this will significantly broaden the number of choices of programs for which you are eligible. However, many universities do not offer their full complement of courses during the summer and so you should check with the IPC to determine if summer classes are offered in the location you are interested in. If you do find a program that offers a studio during the summer, you may certainly take it in place of the next studio in your sequence. However, since our studios are sequential, this will not allow you to jump ahead, it will simply give you a semester without a studio course upon your return. If you are considering studying abroad during the summer, make sure that you discuss all of these ramifications with me in order to ensure that you find a program of study tailored to your individual circumstances.

I heard that another student went to a particular location and had a bad experience, should I be nervous?

That depends on what aspect of the experience was negative. As you know, everyone has different tastes. If a student tells you that an experience was not pleasant, ask them why and then think about your own feelings about those particular types of situations. Sometimes students expect more or less personal interaction with faculty, have foods they strongly dislike, have personal space needs that vary from their host culture, etc. Please discuss any of the concerns that you may have heard about where you are planning to study with me. That way, you can get the latest information and I can follow up with appropriate resources to address any concerns you may have. The university will not send you to any program in an area that is known to be dangerous or where there have been violations of academic integrity – but it never hurts to ask!

Can I transfer in credits for GEC courses?

This is something that has to be negotiated on an individual basis and is not under the control of anyone in the IARc department. If you have a GEC requirement that you would like to fulfill while you are abroad, the first thing that you should do is look through the course offering at your host institution and determine if they have any courses that appear to be equivalent to those offered at UNCG or that seem like they might satisfy the intentions of the GEC requirement. You should find out as much information as possible about that course and then contact the department at UNCG that houses the GEC course to which it is equivalent (ie if it is a course in Irish Literature, talk to the English Department – for a course in Algebra, talk to Mathematics, etc.). They will evaluate the suitability of the course as a substitute. If they approve it as a viable substitute, they will be the ones to transfer the course with the registrar’s office once you return (see the FAQs for those studying abroad for more detail about this process).

It is not always a sure thing that you can find an equivalent course, but it can’t hurt to investigate. Talk to the study abroad coordinator if you need more guidance.

I only speak English, how does this mean I can only study in England?

You are not alone – many students in the US either only speak English or have only a rudimentary command of another language. There are several things to consider in relation to language.

First: If English is the only language in which you can study, then you must choose a site that offers English language courses. There are many places that do, even if the official language of the country is not English. For example, we have exchange programs in S. Korea, but all of the courses are taught in English. At Hong Kong University in China, some courses are offered in Chinese during the Fall semester and English during the Spring and vice versa. Check with IPC if you are unsure.

Second: In addition to having courses offered in English, many countries have populations that have high levels of English fluency. For example, although the official language of Finland is Finnish, you will find a large number of people who speak English flawlessly. Even in countries where the level of fluency is not as high, it is often not very difficult to find someone who speaks enough English to assist you – remember millions and millions of people travel each year to countries where different languages are spoken and find some way to communicate, you can too!

Third: The best way to learn a language is to find yourself immersed in it. Seeing signs and hearing greetings every day will help you to learn them, even if you do not or are not interested in becoming fluent.

Fourth: Just because English is spoken doesn’t mean that the cultural transition will be as smooth as silk. There are great differences among the types of English spoken in England, India, Ghana, and the US for example that can be comparable to speaking in a foreign language – even within the US this happens! If you are patient, polite, and engaging, you will find ways to communicate.

Finally – there are many other students studying abroad and the chances are great that you will meet them; you will not be alone. These students can help you learn the language you need or offer help with communication. Don’t deny yourself an amazing experience because you wouldn’t be able to discuss the intricacies of local politics in the native language.

Where have IARc students studied?

Over the last five years, we have had students study abroad with:

Verona, Italy

Barcelona, Spain

Strathclyde University, Glasgow Scotland

Ulster University, Belfast Ireland
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne Australia
Yeditepe University, Istanbul Turkey
Lorenzo de’ Medici Italian Institute, Florence Italy
Massey University, Wellington New Zealand
Yonsei University, Seoul S. Korea
Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester England
Ecoloe Speciale d’Architectura, Florence Italy
University of Canberra, Canberra Australia
Saci Studio Arts Center, Florence Italy
Marbella Design Academy, Malaga Spain
Marist College Program, Florence Italy
Prague Institute NCSU, Prague Czech Republic
Florence Design Academy, Florence Italy
Tech de Monterrey, Monterrey Mexico
Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow
Syracuse University Summer Program, Florence Italy
University of Oulu, Oulu Finland
Technikon Natal, Durban South Africa

In addition, there have been several faculty led international trips to India, Ghana, Greece.