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The Daily Tar Heel

The hurdles of registering for classes when you're a Tar Heel abroad

DTH Photo Illustration. Students who are currently abroad are dealing with the challenges of registering for classes.

Many UNC students abroad spend their time away from campus discovering new cultures and exploring foreign communities. But while away, these students are doing more than just studying and adventuring — they are also worrying about having to plan their course schedules for the following semester. 

With the stressful period of class registration around the corner, some UNC students abroad are finding it difficult to prepare for their course registration appointments because of the lack of accessibility to academic advising while abroad. 

Maia Guterbock, a junior studying media and journalism, said she is only able to speak to advisers through email, which is not ideal when planning out her courses. She also said her work schedule at her full-time internship in Paris interferes with her registration slot. 

“I kind of planned stuff before I left, but I’m still worried,” Guterbock said. “Registration at UNC is always difficult.”

Being in a different country and a time zone, many students abroad do not consider time differences that may impact their class registration experiences. 

Jenna Smull, a junior studying biology, is in Australia — which is now 16 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time due to daylight saving time. 

“My registration time back home is 9:45 a.m., but I have to get up at 1:45 a.m. Sydney time in order to register,” Smull said. 

She said she already has her classes mapped out for next semester and is hoping that her class status as a second-semester junior will work in her favor. Smull said she is still worried about getting coveted classes, but hopes to not stress so that she can continue to enjoy her time in Australia. 

With slower internet service abroad than in the U.S., many students are also worried that their WiFi speed will impact whether they get a spot in a class or not — especially in smaller sized ones. 

Alex Hartman, a junior majoring in political science, studied abroad in Germany last semester. He said he was often outside of his room, so when it was time to register for classes he had to be attentive of his location because the internet there was inconsistent. 

“I had to be back in my room since it was one of the only places with reliable WiFi at like 6:30 p.m. to register,” Hartman said. 

Some students may find themselves traveling from one country to another as part of their abroad program. 

In the case of Tran Nguyen, a sophomore double major in music and media and journalism, registration could not have come at a worse time. She is participating in the Burch Musical Perspectives program in London and Florence and has an excursion into the Italian countryside planned the same day as her registration appointment. 

She said she has made a few different versions of schedules for next semester, but is still nervous. 

“I wish there was some sort of procedure that could help students abroad register more easily, but I’m not even sure what something like that would look like,” Nguyen said.


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