Getting Started

We are so excited that you are considering studying abroad through East Carolina University! We offer programs for all lengths of time and in over 65 different countries all around the world. Whether you are an athlete, work full-time, apart of a STEM major or just aren’t sure if study abroad is for you, we are here to let you know that all students at ECU can make study abroad a reality! We advise students to start planning well in advance of the term they hope to go abroad, so that they can meet deadlines and apply for scholarships. Review this page to learn more about next steps:

Types of Programs


Upcoming Events & Deadlines

FAQs for Students

Resources for Diverse Students Abroad

ECU Passport Facility

Types of Programs:

Bilateral Exchange
These universities have a direct partnership with ECU. If you meet the minimum study abroad requirements, your spot at these universities is almost always guaranteed. During your semester or year abroad at one of these schools, you will be charged your normal ECU tuition and fees and you will be responsible for paying your housing costs while in the host country.

International Student Exchange Program (ISEP)
ECU is a member of the International Student Exchange Program or ISEP. With this membership, ECU students can request to study at a variety of institutions. Placement at one of these universities on exchange can be competitive, depending on location.  With these programs, you will be billed normal ECU tuition and fees for the semester(s) for which you’ll be abroad. You will also pay for your housing and meals at the regular ECU rate and on the ECU payment schedule.

ISEP also offers a Direct path option. This can sometimes be the same cost or possibly cheaper than out of state tuition. There is a high likelihood of being selected for your top choice for ISEP Direct.  The program cost will be a set amount that will be billed to you directly from ISEP. You can still use your ECU financial aid to help finance ISEP Direct even though no charges will be billed through ECU.

University of North Carolina- Baden Wurttemberg Program (BW/NC)
The state of North Carolina has an exchange agreement with the state of Baden Wurttemberg in Germany. This allows any students within the UNC system to exchange at one of 10 universities in the State of Baden Wurttemberg. You will pay an application fee but then will only be charged your normal ECU tuition. You will be responsible for your housing costs while in the host country. Certain locations and semesters can be competitive. Please note that classes in English are limited based on location and academic calendars may differ from ECU. This program is organized by UNC Greensboro.

NC in Shanghai: Fudan University Exchange Program
UNC students can exchange for a semester or year in Shanghai, China at Fudan University. Students pay an application fee, will be charged normal ECU tuition and will be responsible for housing costs in the host country. This program is organized by UNC Wilmington.

Consortium Programs
The following are approved and supported programs by ECU. Each has its own application fee and participants will be billed directly by the program for tuition and fees.

  • UNC Charlotte Semester in Spain
  • UNCW Semester in Paris
  • Educatrip-Granada
  • Semester at Sea
  • Cesar Ritz College in Switzerland

ECU-Led Programs
Each year, more than 50 programs are created by ECU faculty to teach students while abroad. Most of these programs take place over the summer and program offerings and locations change year to year. Typically, students earn 3-6 credit hours in the discipline of the faculty director. Programs range in length from a week to 2 months.  Browse ECU-Led programs here.

ECU Tuscany
Located in Certaldo Alto and available during the fall, spring and summer sessions, the ECU Tuscany program allows students from all disciplines to take care of general education requirements that are necessary of all ECU students. This is one of the only programs that allows freshman to participate. Students are housed in apartments and ECU faculty live on site as well as teach your classes. Italian language knowledge is not required but is one of the class options.  Please visit the ECU Tuscany website for further information.

Third Party Program Providers (Non-ECU Programs)
You may find a program not affiliated with ECU that fits your academic or personal needs better. Our office can advise you through the application process for both the provider and to ECU to ensure the transfer of your credit and the use of your ECU financial aid. Contact the Education Abroad Advisor at ECU to discuss any non-ECU program options you find. E-mail

Eligibility Requirements

ECU exchange programs are open to any full-time undergraduate or graduate student enrolled at ECU who is in good academic standing. Remaining in good academic standing will also be a requirement for placement and participation in ECU exchange programs. If the language of instruction at your proposed host institution is something other than English, applicants must have a sufficient knowledge of and ability to communicate in the language of the host country. For most students, this means having completed the equivalent of two years of college study of the foreign language. Advanced placement counts towards this requirement.

The following is an outline of general minimum eligibility requirements to participate in an ECU exchange program:

  • Full-time student
  • 2.5 GPA (some programs require a 2.75 GPA) for semester study abroad
  • 2.0 GPA for faculty-led study abroad (some programs may implement higher minimum requirements – refer to program-specific brochure page)
  • 24 completed semester hours by the time of your semester study abroad participation
  • If studying in a language other than English – Four semesters of college level instruction in that language. For more information on languages offered at ECU please visit the Department of Foreign Languages.

If you don’t already have a passport, apply for one as soon as possible. Passport application forms can be found at the State Department Travel.State.Gov website, or hard-copy forms can be picked up from the Post Office at 1st Street or at the International House.

You can set up an appointment to submit and certify your first-time passport application at the International House by going to our Passport Facility website.

Upcoming Events & Deadlines

Recurring Events:
Study Abroad Information Sessions: Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 4:00 PM in International House

  • Offered during the fall and spring semester while classes are in session. Not offered during the summer.
  • We now offer our Study Abroad Information Sessions through Canvas! This is a great option if you would like information when sessions are not being held, or if you have a scheduling conflict with our regularly scheduled sessions. You can enroll on Canvas and choose the self enroll AY 2020 section.

Application Deadlines:
Faculty Led Summer Programs: January 31 or when the program fills, whichever happens first

Fall and Academic Year Programs: February 15

Non-faculty Led Summer Programs: February 15-March 1

Spring: September 15

Upcoming Events:
Check out all of our upcoming events through the Pirate Experience!

FAQs for Students

Can I use my financial aid?
Yes! Different programs have different payment arrangements, but as long as you are fulfilling the Office of Financial Aid’s minimum requirements to receive aid during your time abroad you can apply your aid to your program.  In some cases you may be required to pay for some items up front and your aid will be disbursed as normal during the term you go abroad. You will need to maintain full-time enrollment to qualify for financial aid.

When should I start the process of looking for a program?
About a year in advance of the semester that you want to study abroad.

Do I have to know the native language?
No! Many universities teach in English. Under the advanced search option you can search by language of instruction.

What are the living arrangements like?
It varies from program to program. Some have home stays while others will have housing in a dorm style living situation.

How much will it cost?
Bilateral, ISEP Exchange and UNCEP programs bear the same as tuition and fees at ECU. With ISEP-Direct programs the student will pay the costs of the host university to ISEP. Students also need to account for flights and any personal spending.

How long can I study abroad?
Up to an academic year.

Is it more expensive abroad?
It depends on the country’s cost of living and the currency exchange rate.

Where can I study abroad?
Anywhere! We have programs in over 50 countries. If none of our affiliated programs work for you, we can work with you to arrange a study abroad experience in another country.

What classes can I take?
Most of the universities have all of their classes open to study abroad students. Students should look at the host university’s webpage for course listings.

Will studying abroad set back my graduation date?
If done correctly then it should not! Be sure to meet with your academic advisor and sign up for classes that will transfer back to ECU and will count towards your degree.

What if I want to study abroad in a specific country but can’t find a program to fit my needs?
Email us at and we’ll see what we can figure out!