Spartans go global this summer

Posted on June 13, 2019

Group photo on raft
Dept. of Geography, Environment, and Sustainability Summer Field Experience in Iceland: Students and faculty explore the glacial lagoon formed by the meltwater of the rapidly retreating Fjallsárlón Glacier. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Jeff Patton)

A field experience in Iceland. Conservation of coral reefs in Little Cayman. Practicing mindfulness in Tokyo.

This summer, over 250 UNC Greensboro students are having the experience of a lifetime exploring new cultures, conducting research, and taking classes in 22 countries.

There are a variety of ways for Spartans to get global experience during the summer: faculty-led programs, a program with a partner university, international academic conferences, or field work for research.

Why go abroad during the summer months?

“More students are taking advantage of these short-term opportunities because they may fit better with their schedules than semester-long programs,” explains Heidi Bretz, assistant director of Study Abroad and Exchange Programs in UNCG’s International Programs Center (IPC). “Additionally, most of the students abroad this summer are earning credit toward their degrees, either via transfer credit for summer partner programs or UNCG credits for faculty-led programs.”

For students interested in study abroad, whether it be for a summer, a semester, or a year, Bretz’s advice is this: Start planning early.

“Start planning the minute you get on campus,” she says. “It’s best to visit the IPC office as early as possible, because it can get trickier – though by no means impossible – to work in these programs later in your academic career. You want to make sure you can sequence your UNCG experience.”

Going abroad doesn’t have to break the bank. For semester and yearlong exchange programs, students pay UNCG tuition, just like they would if they were on campus. Additionally, scholarship opportunities are available for all types of programs. This summer, more than 25% of students going abroad have received scholarships or travel grants.

Ultimately, Bretz tells students it’s the perfect time to experience new countries and cultures.

“It can take a lot more planning and effort to go abroad once you graduate from UNCG,” she says. “The structure is already in place to help students. Go now, because it’s the best time to go.”

For more information about global opportunities, visit

Want to help Spartans go abroad? Consider making a gift to the IPC Enrichment Fund.

Check out the photos below from some of this summer’s faculty-led programs.

Spartans who are teaching or studying abroad this summer are encouraged to tag their pictures #UNCGabroad and #UNCGWay on social media. Tag @uncg in your day-in-the-life stories on Instagram, and we’ll re-post our favorites to our channel. 

Photo of divers exploring coral reef
Coral Reef Conservation Program: Students explore the famous Bloody Bay Wall, one of the last best remaining coral reefs in the Caribbean. (Photo by Katie Correia, Central Caribbean Marine Institute)
Photo of students picking up trash on beach
Coral Reef Conservation Program: Students’ beach clean-up at Little Cayman yielded bottle caps, a few vials of blood, and single-use plastics. Later that night, students decided to make social media posts that included the hashtag #breakfreefromplastics. (Photo by Kylie Pond)
Group photo of student sin front of waterfall
Field Experience in Iceland: Students hike to Hengifoss waterfall, which flows over layers of lava from a 1783 eruption that is estimated to have killed millions of people worldwide. (Photo by Dr. Jeff Patton)
Photo of group on raft
Field Experience in Iceland: The group enjoys a tour of the Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon in a small Zodiac craft. (Photo by Dr. Jeff Patton)
Group photo of students at temple
Mindfulness for Artists in Japan Program: Students study mindfulness and meditation at a Zen Buddhist temple. (Photo courtesy of De’Ron Robertson)
Photo of group of people meditating
Students sit in meditation with Professor Denise Gabriel at the temple. (Photo courtesy of Ally Whitman)


Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications


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