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Global Undergraduate Exchange Program UGRAD

Note: Global UGrad is OPEN at this time

The Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD) 2023-2024

The U.S. Department of State and World Learning are pleased to announce that the competition for the Global UGRAD Program for undergraduates for the 2023-2024 Program is now OPEN. Applications will close on December 15, 2022 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time.  

Program Description

In 2023-2024, Global UGRAD will provide one-semester, non-degree scholarships to approximately 250 undergraduate students representing all world regions to study at U.S. colleges and universities. The program includes virtual pre-academic English language training (if needed), academic coursework, service learning opportunities, professional development workshops, and cultural enrichment activities.

The goal of the program is to provide a substantive exchange experience at a U.S. college or university for a diverse group of emerging undergraduate student leaders. Ideal candidates for this program must show leadership skills through a sustained high level of academic achievement, commitment to community, and extracurricular university activities.

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 with representatives from the U.S. Embassy, a virtual arrival orientation from World Learning, and a program symposium, either in-person in Washington, DC or virtual.

Important: All academic fields of study are eligible. Per J-1 visa regulations, interested applicants in majors such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacology or other clinical fields of study, please be 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.

Campus Placement

Students cannot choose their host campus. World Learning 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.

Students may indicate a preference for a fall or spring semester placement, but final placement will be made by World Learning in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

Credit Transfers

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.

Course Availability

Please note that the Global UGRAD Program cannot guarantee the availability of specific courses students may choose before traveling to the United States.

Community Service and Required Courses

Students will be required to participate in a minimum of 20 hours of community service activities during the program.  Students will also be 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 and Culture, or Government.

Code of Conduct and Terms and Conditions

Students must adhere to the host campus code of conduct as well as the terms and conditions of the Global UGRAD program.

Academic Performance

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.

Financial Support

The Global UGRAD Program provides for students’ roundtrip airfare to the United States, travel allowance, university tuition, room and board, health insurance, required books, monthly stipend for incidental expenses, and student visa.

Orientations for Finalists

  • Global UGRAD students will attend a pre-departure orientation with U.S. Embassy representatives to learn details about their travel and program prior to departing for the United States.
  • World Learning will provide a pre-program online training on professional and academic skills before traveling to the United States.
  • World Learning’s staff will provide virtual arrival orientation in the United States.
  • Global UGRAD students will attend a re-entry leadership and career development workshop either in-person in Washington, DC or virtual prior to their trip back to Nicaragua.


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.

This program is highly competitive and merit based. Finalists will be selected based on demonstrated leadership trough academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities.

Note: We encourage all students, including those with disabilities, to apply to the Global UGRAD Program. All qualified applicants will be considered for the program.

The Global UGRAD Program is open to anyone who meets the criteria below:

  • A citizen of Nicaragua currently residing and studying in Nicaragua.
  • Between 18-24 years of age by August 1, 2023.
  • Enrolled in a full-time undergraduate degree program at an accredited public or private university.
  • Must have completed at least the first semester of university studies.
  • Have at least one semester or equivalent term remaining to graduate after May 2024*.
  • Not enrolled in their final year of studies at the time of application.
  • The Global UGRAD program cannot be the final academic term of a student’s undergraduate study.
  • Should demonstrate excellence through academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities.
  • A solid command of written and spoken English, strong enough to study in a U.S. university. A TOEFL equivalent of 500 or higher (61 TOEFL IBT).
  • Has sustained a high level of academic achievement (university cumulative percentage: 80%).
  • Priority given to economically disadvantaged students, or those who represent a minority or disadvantaged group.
  • Have had little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of their home country.

* Thesis or professional practice/internship to be completed at the end of your studies are not considered classes.

How to Apply

Note: The best browsers to use with this system are Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. 

Online application

  • Write your complete name as it appears on your ID (cedula).
  • Family name refers to your last names.
  • Grade Point Average (GPA) refers to your cumulative percentage (this is your promedio acumulado).
  • Write your home address in Spanish.
  • Enter emergency contacts living in Nicaragua.
  • Respond to essay questions as instructed, adhering to indicated word limits.

Tip:  Use the “Save Draft” button to save your progress and the “Save” button until you have completed all fields and have uploaded required documents. Then, you will have to click on the “Submit” button to send your Global UGRAD application.

If you have an issue with the Global UGRAD application system, please write an email to exchangeprograms@worldlearning.org, request assistance explaining the issue and attach images to your email to show the exact problem.

Required Documents

  • Scanned Copy of both sides of your national identification (cedula). This is mandatory, applications without cedula will not be considered.
  • Scanned copy of the passport data/photo page (only if you have one).
  • Scanned copies of academic transcripts for years of university studies with cumulative percentage up to first semester 2022 (certificado de notas con porcentaje acumulado hasta primer semestre 2022). You could also get this document from your university’s website.
  • Transcripts must be translated into English. You may translate your own transcripts at this stage.
  • Scanned letter from your current university, or a copy of your pre-registration receipt, certifying that you are an active student and additional information about your field of study and current year, and the length of your course of study/major in years. (You could add this document in the portfolio section of your application.)
  • Two scanned letters of recommendation written by one professor familiar with your work in your major field of study, OR from an employer, former exchange program coordinator or host family, coach, or any supervisor or authority familiar with your extracurricular activities. Use the recommendations forms within the online system and review “Letter of Recommendation Guidelines.”

Note: Recommendations should not be from family members or friends. The person writing your letter should indicate in what context he/she knows you, how he/she would describe your mentality and adaptability in difficult situations, and the qualities that would make you a successful exchange student, including your interaction with others. Letters should be written in English, but if you get letters written in Spanish, you must include a Spanish translation.  Check the Letter of Recommendation Guidelines at the bottom of this website. These forms are also available within the Global UGRAD application system.

Tip: Please use descriptive names for your PDF or MS Word files, so it will be easy for us to identify the owner and content of each archive when we download information. Examples: EmilyJones_Transcript, EmilyJones_Transcript_translation.pdf, EmilyJones_ID.pdf (you could also include your passport in this file), EmilyJones_letter1.pdf, EmilyJones_letter2.pdf, etc.

Program Requirements

  • Agree to the placement by the Department of State of the U.S. host university or college and be enrolled full-time.
  • Agree that the selected student cannot travel to the U.S. with an accompanying relative.
  • Make a commitment to return to Nicaragua upon completion of the program in 2023-2024 and not stay on for degree study in the U.S.


Individuals in the following circumstances are not eligible for the Global UGRAD Program:

  • U.S. Citizens and permanent residents of the United States;
  • Individuals currently studying, residing, or working outside Nicaragua;
  • 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 employees; family members are also ineligible for one year following the termination of employment;
  • Current World Learning employees and their immediate family members.

Incomplete applications or applications submitted late will not be considered. Make sure to request transcripts and letters of recommendation in advance to upload them to your application. (Check the Letter of Recommendation Guidelines on this website or within the UGRAD application system.)

Letter of Recommendation Guidelines

These guidelines will help the person writing your letters of recommendation to focus on things we want to know about you:

  • In what context he/she knows you;
  • How he/she would describe your mentality and adaptability in difficult situations;
  • The qualities that would make you a successful exchange student including your interaction with others.


These refillable forms are also available within the online application system.  

Tip: Writing strong recommendation letters usually takes time. We recommend requesting your letters as soon as possible. 

Tip: Prepare the people who will write your letters by familiarizing yourself with the recommendation forms and guidelines. 

For more information on this program please visit:

For specific questions, please contact the U.S. Embassy Managua Public Affairs Office at:
E-mail: PASManagua@state.gov
(Please write “UGRAD 202-2024” in the Subject Line of your message)