Tar Heels experience the world this summer

Carolina’s Global Guarantee supported students in study abroad programs, internships and other international learning opportunities.

A global map, with a large blue star placed over Chapel Hill, N.C., and various lines pointing to smaller blue stars spread across the world to indicate where students traveled over the summer.

During summer 2023, Carolina’s study abroad programs helped students travel, conduct research and take classes around the world. The students documented organic food production in Denmark. They lived in Japan to learn the language and the culture. They worked together on an archaeological excavation in Israel. They studied neuropharmacology in Australia.

Through various programs, the students fulfilled Carolina’s Global Guarantee, the University’s promise that a global education is available to every student.

Continue reading to learn about their summer of academically enriching experiences.

Five students holding up a red banner with Chinese text.

Phillips Ambassadors

Phillips Ambassadors came from different academic disciplines – history, computer science, business, public policy, economics, to mention a few. The seven selected students each received a $6,000 scholarship for study abroad programs throughout Asia, including India, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.

Their experiences ranged from helping a multibillion-dollar business with market research to traveling and learning about the people and their history, language and culture.

The 11 students in Taiwan took a history course there, while the others completed a course after returning to campus to focus on their experience in a global context. They will do outreach and volunteer work in the school year.

We rode in gondolas to Maokong, where a majority of tea in Taiwan was once produced, and we learned to make tea by hand, from picking it from the vine to rolling the tea leaves. These experiences were a needed reprieve from the classroom and a chance to supplement what we learned in our textbooks with tangible, joyful memories.

Kyra Koons ’25, Phillips Ambassador, Taiwan

Burch Fellowships

Through the Burch Fellows Program, five full-time undergraduate students combined travel with learning, research and public service over several weeks. Cate Schultz studied children’s play and health in England and traveled to Denmark to learn about effective play techniques that help children in hospitals. Madi Marks lived in Florence, Italy, to research Italian music education.

Through my Burch Fellowship, I learned to find opportunities on my own in a completely new culture. The work on a daily basis to acclimate, push myself and grow created a sense of family and belonging from the people and places surrounding me.

Madi Marks ’24, Burch Fellow, Italy

A woman named Madi Marks playing a wind instrument.

Summer Study Abroad Fellowships

Each year, about 100 Carolina students receive a Summer Study Abroad Fellowship, a one-time award of $5,000 to fund study abroad experiences. This summer, 76 students used their fellowship to live and study in 20 different countries, sometimes with other Tar Heels. They chose from more than 80 programs offered by the UNC Study Abroad Office and other Carolina departments.

Students like Isha Patel and Jaqueline Nikas studied sustainability in Sweden. In England, Ryan Dee focused on economics, while others learned about sport management, criminal justice and other subjects. In France, Tashi Hacskaylo took a biology course, and Trinity Smith (pictured at the Palace of Versailles) interned at a French tourism company. In Ecuador, Connor Phillips furthered his knowledge of environmental studies.

A woman named Trinity Smith posing for a photo at the Palace of Versailles in France.

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships

Supported by FLAS fellowships, 20 undergraduate and graduate students lived in other countries, learned the local language and deepened their understanding of the area’s culture, politics, history and society. Carolina’s area studies centers administer FLAS fellowships, which the U.S. Department of Education funds.

Fellows received a $2,500 stipend and up to $5,000 for tuition and fees. Among the fellows, master’s student Dani Dalton researched gender and studied Hindi-Urdu in India, and undergraduate Matthew Garfi studied Japanese in Chiba, Japan, to prepare for international research in physics.

Independent travel

Dozens of other undergraduate students traveled on their own for research, conferences, internships and service learning after registering with the Study Abroad Office. Graduate and professional school students also made international trips with the University’s guidance.

The University supported the travel through a carefully developed approval process. Faculty, particularly in the College of Arts and Sciences, helped students design independent experiences that align with learning objectives.


Tar Heels

At Carolina, we prepare our students by giving them the knowledge needed to excel all around the world.

Through global experiences, they are given the opportunity to learn new cultures, pursue their own interests and develop new ones, and take fresh perspectives and apply them to their own studies and work back at home.

“Summer is a great time for students to experience the world, to study a subject that strikes their intellectual passion and to build their leadership skills," Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz said. "These extensions of our study abroad programs prepare tomorrow’s leaders and give them a new perspective on the challenges of our world.”

  • Five people working on a small farm in dirt.

    Anna Baechtold volunteered on a small-scale organic farm in Copenhagen, Denmark, to study sustainable food production and compare methods between Copenhagen and North Carolina.

  • Four students posing for a photo while standing on a bridge in front of a large building.

    Ryan Reichman, Jack Snyder, Paul Cabin and Olivia Wang visited sites in Thailand during a summer that allowed them to gain job experience, learn about other countries and cultures, study and travel.

  • A man named Ethan Delves posing for a photo in front of a statue.

    Ethan Delves studied Korean American history and macroeconomics at Yonsei University Sinchon Campus in Seoul, South Korea.