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The Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD) brings future leaders to the United States to experience U.S. higher education, gain critical professional skills, and explore new cultures and values.
Funded by the U.S. Government and administered by World Learning, the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program is a transformative initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
For over a decade, World Learning has empowered more than 2,500 Global UGRAD scholars since 2008. Armed with newfound skills, participants return home not just as individuals but as catalysts for positive change within their professions and communities. The impact resonates as Global UGRAD alumni secure Fulbright grants, embark on esteemed international internships, and excel in roles spanning business and government in their native countries and beyond. While at their host institutions, participants explore core U.S. values and culture, share their own culture and unique perspectives in American classrooms, and strengthen their leadership and professional skills. Many participants create long lasting connections with Americans and leave the U.S. with a more nuanced understanding of their field of study, community service, and themselves.
Program Goals for Global Undergraduate Exchange Program
To promote mutual understanding between people of the United States and other countries.
Provide a fulfilling exchange experience to drive academic, cross-cultural, and leadership competencies for students from Global UGRAD countries.
Enhance students’ academic knowledge and professional skills needed to pursue long-term academic and career goals.
Cultivate students’ comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the U.S.
Facilitate opportunities for students to establish social networks with U.S. host institutions and local communities.
Empower students to engage constructively in the civic life of their local and global communities.
Global UGRAD Participants Are:
Excellent cultural ambassadors, who come from underrepresented countries and regions, and add diverse perspectives to U.S. classrooms.
High-caliber students, who are selected through a competitive application process and complete an intensive, two-month, virtual skills development course to prepare them for their time in the U.S.
Actively engaged on- and off-campus through community service, cultural enrichment, and other skill-building activities.
World Learning manages and monitors all aspects of the students’ academic progress, cultural integration and J-1 visas, including issuing DS-2019s. Additionally, World Learning provides participants with
Global UGRAD is open to all academic fields of study and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, or disability. Competition for the program is highly competitive and merit based. Finalists will be selected on the basis of academic excellence, leadership potential, and their preparedness for study in the U.S.
The Global UGRAD Program is open to anyone who is/has:
over 18 years of age;
a citizen of a Global UGRAD participating country*, currently residing in that country;
enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student in good standing at any accredited university, public or private, and has at least one year remaining at their home university at the conclusion of the Global UGRAD program;
completed secondary education in their home country;
a solid command of written and spoken English (English Language training for some finalists is possible);
able to begin studies in the U.S. in August 2023 or January 2024 (selected applicants may not choose their semester of participation;
eligible to receive and maintain the U.S. student exchange visa (J-1) required for the program;
cleared by a physician to participate in the program;
committed to returning to their home country after the completion of the program.
Individuals in the following circumstances are not eligible for the Global UGRAD Program:
U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the U.S.;
Individuals currently studying, residing, or working outside of their home country;
Local employees of the U.S. missions abroad who work for the U.S. Department of State and/or the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); employees are also ineligible for one year following the termination of employment;
Immediate family members (i.e. spouses and children) of U.S. Department of State and USAID employees; family members are also ineligible for one year following the termination of employment;
Current World Learning employees and their immediate family members
Participating countries/locales include (subject to change): Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malawi, Malaysia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, North Macedonia, Pacific Islands (Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu), Palestinian Territories (Gaza and West Bank), Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zimbabwe.
The Global UGRAD Program is accepting applications from students for the 2024-2025 academic year. The deadline to apply is December 15, 2023, 11:59 Eastern Standard Time (UTC-05:00).