Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (UGRAD) – for undergrads

2021-22 Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD)


The United States Embassy in Georgia is pleased to announce the competition for the 2021-22 Global Undergraduate Exchange (Global UGRAD) Program.  Global UGRAD is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and administered by World Learning on behalf of ECA.

This international educational and cultural exchange program brings future leaders to the United States to experience the U.S. educational system, enhance their knowledge, and explore U.S. culture and values.  It also affords students the opportunity to share their cultures and traditions with people in the United States.

In 2021-22, Global UGRAD will provide one-semester scholarships to approximately 250 undergraduate students representing all world regions to study at U.S. colleges and universities.  The program includes pre-academic English language training, academic coursework, service-learning opportunities, professional development workshops, and cultural enrichment activities.

The scholarship will cover international travel, tuition, room and board, accident/sickness insurance, a small monthly stipend, and funding for books.  Global UGRAD is a substantive exchange program designed to expose students to the U.S. educational system, society, and culture.  Finalists represent diverse disciplines, from architecture to engineering, biochemistry to literature and education.  A small number of students will also receive additional English language training in the U.S. prior to the start of their academic program.

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 United States.

The submission deadline for the online application is 08:59 AM Tbilisi Time on March 16, 2021.   

Program Design:
Global UGRAD participants will be enrolled in undergraduate coursework at a U.S. college or university to allow ample opportunity for substantive interaction with U.S. faculty and student peers, and for exposure to U.S. academic and classroom culture.  Global UGRAD participants will live on-campus with U.S. peers.  The program will include a pre-departure orientation at U.S. Embassy Tbilisi, a virtual arrival orientation, and an in-person end-of-program workshop in Washington, DC.

Students may indicate a preference for a fall or spring semester placement, but final placement will be made by the implementing organization in conjunction with ECA.  (Please note: All students who are enrolled in pre-academic English will begin their program in the fall semester.)

The Global UGRAD Program is a non-degree program.  The Global UGRAD Program does not assist with credit transfers between participants’ host and home institutions.  Any credit transfers are the sole responsibility of the participants.  Please note that the implementing organization cannot guarantee the availability of specific courses to students.

Students are required to participate in a minimum of twenty hours of community service activities during the program.  Students are required to enroll in at least two courses in their major and at least one course in a U.S. Studies field, such as U.S. history, literature, art, or government.

Students must adhere to the host campus code of conduct as well as the terms and conditions of the Global UGRAD program.  Participants must remain in good academic standing with a minimum 2.0 GPA.  Failure to meet these requirements may result in dismissal from the Global UGRAD program.

Eligible Fields:
All academic fields of study are eligible.  Per J-1 visa regulations, interested applicants in medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacology or other clinical fields of study should be made aware that direct patient care, including animal care, is not permitted, and therefore academic coursework and/or program activities at participating U.S. institutions may be limited.

Host Institutions:
Students cannot choose their host campus.  The implementing organization will place students at the most appropriate host campus based on students’ academic interests. The Global UGRAD Program includes a diverse roster of host campuses throughout the United States, including colleges and universities in rural and urban areas, and Minority Serving Institutions.

Pre-Academic English:
Global UGRAD provides one semester of pre-academic English language training to students who need it.  Students needing pre-academic English will receive English language training during the fall semester of 2021-22.  They will continue with coursework in their fields of study during the spring semester.

Eligibility Requirements:
Participants must:
–  be at least 18 years of age by the start date of their Global UGRAD Program in the United States;
– be currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program in their home country;
– have completed their first year of undergraduate study prior to starting their Global UGRAD Program;
–  must have at least one semester or an equivalent term remaining that they will complete at their home institutions upon return after the Global UGRAD Program.

The Global UGRAD program cannot be the final academic term of a student’s undergraduate study.

Application process:
The student application for the 2021-22 Global UGRAD Program will open on January 4, 2021, and close globally at 08:59 am Tbilisi Time on March 16, 2021, via a central application system managed by World Learning. Students will not be able to edit their applications after 08:59 am Tbilisi Time on March 16, 2021. Students may access the application online, by computer, or mobile phone. 

Application Package:
A full and complete Global UGRAD student application package includes the following documents:
– completed application form;
– copy of passport bio page;
– academic transcripts for years of university study (with English translations);
– two letters of reference (with English translations);
– grade equivalence between local grading system and U.S. grading system.

TOEFL Testing:
U.S. host colleges and universities cannot consider student placements without official TOEFL scores.  While non-official test scores (e.g. Institutional TOEFL, IELTS, etc.) may be submitted for the application deadline, all nominated students must take an official TOEFL exam.  U.S. Embassy Tbilisi will arrange registration for the official TOEFL for the semi-finalists.

The preferred TOEFL PBT score is 500 or higher (61 TOEFL IBT).

In most cases, if a Global UGRAD finalist scores iBT 45- 61, the finalist will be considered for the fall semester English Language pre-academic program.  The Global UGRAD Program allows for 25 percent of all participants to enroll in pre-academic English.

World Learning will manage international travel.  To facilitate participant travel, each participant should have a passport valid for at least six months after the program’s end-date.  Passport information not submitted by a participant with the application package must be submitted by the participant no later than two months prior to the participant’s expected arrival.

The Global UGRAD Program application is available online at

Please read all instructions and information carefully before completing the application and review all fields before making any submission online.  The application can be saved and submitted at a later time.  All forms in this application are to be completed in English.

Successful candidates will be notified of their award status by April 2021 and World Learning will begin to provide placement and tentative arrival information in June 2021.

For detailed information please visit the Global UGRAD website and Global UGRAD Facebook page.  The house program description, program eligibility, a link to the online application, and a great video of current UGRAD students encouraging others to apply.  Global UGRAD YouTube Channel features videos that past participants have made about their experience in the U.S.