DURATION: 11/18/2015 - 03/30/2025
FUNDER: U.S. Department of State
CONTACT[email protected]

The Global UGRAD Program is accepting applications for host universities in the U.S. for the 2024-2025 academic year. The deadline for universities to apply is January 31, 2024, 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. To begin an application, please click here.

The Global UGRAD program is an opportunity to host emerging student leaders from more than 60 countries around the world. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by World Learning, Global UGRAD is a semester-long, non-degree exchange program for young leaders from around the globe to learn about college life in the United States.

Since 2008, World Learning has placed and monitored more than 2,500 Global UGRAD participants at more than 80 diverse colleges and universities around the U.S.

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.

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 tuition and fees, campus-housing, a meal plan, and a modest monthly stipend.

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.

What We Look for in Host Institutions

  • Two and four-year institutions that provide high-quality academic programs that match participants’ needs, including English language support, superior international student support, and personalized attention for Global UGRAD students;
  • Ability to provide significant cost-share and good educational value for overall cost;
  • Availability of on-campus housing with U.S. student roommates, and options for single-gender living and substance-free living spaces;
  • Access to comprehensive meal plans with provisions for special diets; and
  • Campus connection to the larger community.

2023-24 Map of Hosts


“Global UGRADs are often our most known and outgoing international students. They are opinionated, ambitious, curious, and open to learning and sharing. Typically, we could say that Global UGRADs represent the ideal international student.”

–Libby (Grand Valley State University)


“My [Global UGRAD roommate from Zimbabwe] was one of the most extraordinary women I was fortunate enough to meet and…Not only did she open my eyes to her own unique culture, she also introduced me to many of the other international students who I now see as family…this experience has inspired me to…engage in a study abroad program myself.”

–Elizabeth (Carroll College) 2017-18

For highlights from the Global UGRAD Program, visit the Global Gazette.