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Every year, the School of Nursing welcomes dozens of visitors from around the globe through our Visiting International Scholars (VIS) program.

Whether a graduate student working toward a degree or an experienced professional looking to enhance a particular skill-set, the VIS program offers nursing professionals in all stages of their careers a chance to be mentored by one of UNC’s world-renowned faculty. UNC’s faculty will mentor VIS through an individualized study-plan suited to their professional goals. The relationships developed during this experience benefit both the faculty mentor and visiting scholar as they work towards a new understanding of patient care, research, and education.

Every visiting scholar’s experience and time spent at UNC is unique. Visits vary in length from as short as two weeks to over a year. In addition to working closely with their faculty mentor, VIS can audit up to two courses per semester to enhance their studies. Scholars will have the opportunity to participate in any relevant seminars and workshops held around campus.

Established in 1789, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), is home to a vibrant international community, and scholars always have the support of on-campus organizations and staff to help them adjust to life away from home.

Chapel Hill is located 272 mi (437 km) from Washington DC, and approximately midway between the Atlantic Ocean (169 mi (272km)) and the Appalachian Mountains (168 miles (270km)), thus opportunities for travel are many. Still, there are lots to do in Chapel Hill and the surrounding area with its festivals and unique culture.

Please read on to find out more about our VIS program and begin by filling out our application. Also, make sure to check out our list of faculty members, searchable by specialty, to help you in your search for a suitable mentor.  If you are a university official interested in setting up a visit for a larger group, please contact us at songlobalhealth@unc.edu.

If you have questions please check out Frequently Asked Questions and contact us if you can’t find your answer there:

Email: songlobalhealth@unc.edu

Phone: (919) 843-8590

The Office of Global Initiatives
UNC School of Nursing
120 North Medical Drive
Carrington Hall, Campus Box 7460
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

APPLY

We understand that navigating the rules and requirements for studying abroad can be very difficult. Therefore, we strive to make the application process as easy as possible for anyone interested in attending UNC in the Visiting International Scholars (VIS) program.

Below you will find a list of documents needed to apply to our VIS program beginning with our application. Please send all correspondence to songlobalhealth@unc.edu.

  • Application is available here. 
  • Current CV
  • There are two options where an English test is not needed.
  • 1) If you completed a bachelor’s or graduate degree within the past 10 years at a recognized institution of higher learning in the U.S. a copy of the diploma or transcript indicating degree conferred will suffice.
  • 2) If you graduated from a country outside the U.S. within the past 10 years where the language of instruction is English, an English transcript showing degree conferred and when is sufficient. If the transcript does not state the language of instructions were in English, you need to submit an official letter from the institution’s registrar confirming you attended the institution and the language of instruction was English.
  • If an English test is needed, you can use one of the English Tests approved by the US State Department listed below:
    • TOEFLl, IELTS, CEFR, ACTFL OPI or ACTFL OPIc or TOEIC
  • Letter(s) of reference on official letter head of the corresponding organization
    • One from the Dean or a faculty member at your university if you attend or work at a university
    • One from your immediate supervisor at your work place if you work.
  • Include in the application your goals and expectations for your visit, as well as, any scholarly projects that you would like to complete during your stay at UNC.

Once we have received all your documents and a faculty member has agreed to be your mentor, you will receive the following from us:

  • A formal invitation letter to the VIS Program and a request to send back the following included documents:
    • Release of Liability Form
    • Personal Information Form
    • Compliance Information
    • Social Media and Confidentially form

Once we have received these documents, we will begin to process your DS-2019 paperwork which you will use to obtain your J-1 visa from the U.S. consulate in your country.  Click here for more information about the J-1 requirements.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at songlobalhealth@unc.edu.

The Visiting International Scholars program costs $1,000 (USD) per month.  This fee includes faculty-mentor instruction, library usage, program set-up cost, course auditing fees, access to office space and working supplies. Scholars who stay for one year (12 months) receive a discounted price of $11,000.

The fee does not cover travel (airfare or ground), food, lodging, or mandatory insurance coverage of which the scholar is responsible. Because we are a self-funded program, we are unable to offer Visiting International Scholars any scholarships or price reductions during their stay at UNC. However, most of our applicants receive financial assistance from their native governments or universities and we will gladly send you the applicable supporting documentation you request to help meet your funding needs.

 

HOW MUCH DOES THE VISITING INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS (VIS) PROGRAM COST?

The program is $1,000.00 per month or discounted rate of $11,000.00 per year for a 12-month visit. Visits shorter than two weeks are free.

 

ARE SCHOLARSHIPS OR FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR THE VIS PROGRAM?

Unfortunately, no. Our VIS program is self-funded and much of the cost of running the program is paid by the VIS program fee.

 

HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY WHILE I’M AT UNC AS A VISITING INTERNATIONAL SCHOLAR?

As per the U.S. State Department, the minimum amount of money each VIS has to show us in their bank accounts or other funding sources is $2000.00 per month for living expenses plus the $1000.00 per month for the program fee. Scholars whose spouses or children accompany them need to show an additional $800.00 per month for their spouse and $400.00 per child per month.  Additionally, the VIS needs to obtain health insurance that meets the U.S. State Department’s requirement for the VIS and family members.

DO YOU PROVIDE HOUSING?

No, the scholars are expected to find their own housing and it is not included in our fee. Airfare and other travel are not included in the fee either.

 

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO OBTAIN MY OFFICIAL ACCEPTANCE AND DOCUMENTATION TO ENTER THE UNITED STATES?

Usually, we can accept potential VIS into the program within several weeks of receiving their application. However, due to shipping and processing time, obtaining the official DS-2019 can take several months. We recommend that potential scholars start the process at least four to six months before they would like to arrive on campus.

 

CAN MY FAMILY MEMBERS COME WITH ME?

Yes, family members can join under a J-2 visa.

 

DO I NEED TO BE A NURSE OR A NURSING STUDENT?

No, you don’t have to be a nurse or nursing student. However, you need to be at least a master’s student (or foreign equivalent) in a field related to your desired area of study.  Scholars with a bachelor’s degree and extensive experience in their field are also given consideration and are eligible to apply.

 

WHAT AM I EXPECTED TO DO AS A VIS?

Each VIS works with their mentor to develop an overall study plan and focus area for their visit. They should have formulated these ideas before they get to UNC.  Once here, scholars can audit up to two course per semester, participate in relevant research, seminars, and other enrichment activities.  Scholars are not allowed to engage in practice or treatment of patients.

 

IS AN ENGLISH TEST SCORE MANDATORY?

There are two options where an English test is not needed.

1) If you completed a bachelor’s or graduate degree within the past 10 years at a recognized institution of higher learning in the U.S. a copy of the diploma or transcript indicating degree conferred will suffice.

2) If you graduated from a country outside the U.S. within the past 10 years where the language of instruction is English, an English transcript showing degree conferred and when is sufficient. If the transcript does not state the language of instructions were in English, you need to submit an official letter from the institution’s registrar confirming you attended the institution and the language of instruction was English.

If an English test is needed, you can use one of the approved English Tests listed below:

English Test Minimum Score Website
TOEFL 65 https://www.ets.org/toefl/testtakers/ibt/take/register
IELTS 6 https://www.ielts.org/en-us/book-a-test/how-do-i-register
CEFR B2 http://cambridgemichigan.org/test-takers/tests/

ECCE, ECPE, MELALB, or MET

ACTFL OPI or

ACTFL OPIc

Intermediate Mid https://www.languagetesting.com/language-selection

(Due to their swift turnaround time and ease of access Language Testing International is recommended when a scholar does not have another means to document English Language.  Average cost is $105-159)

TOEIC 650 https://www.ets.org/epn_directory

PLEASE NOTE These scores are the minimum required to meet the U.S. Department of State’s regulations for J-1 Exchange Visitors.

 

WHO CAN I CHOOSE AS MY FACULTY MENTOR?

Any of the faculty members at UNC can potentially be your mentor. Determinations are made based on the desire of the scholar, area of study, and the faculty availability. Please suggest more than one mentor when you contact us.

 

CAN I BE INVOLVED IN CLINICAL PRACTICE WHILE AT UNC?

No. The U.S. State Department’s regulations forbid nurses with a J-1 visa status from participating in clinical activities.

 

CAN I AUDIT COURSES WHILE AT UNC?

Yes. All scholars can audit two courses per semester and we highly encouraged them to do so.  Audited courses do not count towards a degree; however, a certificate of completion is available upon request.