UC Davis study abroad secures $22,000 in grants from French government

CAT TAYLOR / AGGIE FILE
CAT TAYLOR / AGGIE FILE

Awards geared toward students of color, students from underserved communities

At the end of last year, the French Embassy in Washington D.C. gave the UC Davis Office of Global Affairs a grant of $19,386, while the UC Davis Study Abroad Club won a $2,000 grant from French Mission for Culture and Higher Education, located in New York City.

The Transatlantic Friendship and Mobility Initiative, in collaboration with the French Embassy, aims to strengthen the ties between the U.S. and France by diversifying and doubling the number of students from France and the U.S. studying abroad in their respective countries by 2025.

Under the leadership of Joanna Regulska, vice provost and associate chancellor at UC Davis, UC Davis Global Affairs showed a willingness and ability to leverage the goals of the proposal. UC Davis will match the grant, making the total budget nearly $40,000.

“We were honored to be selected and awarded $20,000 by the French Embassy[,] a sum that will be matched by Vice Provost and Associate Chancellor Joanna Regulska of Global Affairs,” said Aliki Dragona, a faculty director for UC Davis Study Abroad, via email. “The award will promote student mobility to France and enhance partnerships with French partner institutions in 2017 and beyond.”

The budget will allocate $30,000 for 20 students studying abroad in 2017. Each award recipient must develop a project such as a video blog or photo album for outreach purposes.

Half of the travel funds will be aimed toward students of color and underserved communities.

“UC Davis Study Abroad offers a robust portfolio of faculty-led programs (several in France) as well as programs through UCEAP; consequently, these student travel awards will be critical in supporting UC Davis students (and in particular, students of color and from underserved communities) studying in France in 2017,” Dragona said via email.

The application for the grant outlined a number of new initiatives with France, including the Performing Arts Live! Summer Abroad program launching in 2017 with the Institute for American Universities (IAU) College in Aix-en-Provence, and further collaboration between Summer Abroad’s art studio program at Paris-Sorbonne University.

Global Affairs is also working on partnerships with other French institutions for students in the arts and viticulture and enology fields.

Alexandria Hartwell, a fourth-year managerial economics major, considers the grant a great opportunity for individuals to experience traveling abroad.

“I think that is is so great that the French embassy is giving UC Davis a $20,000 grant,” Hartwell said via email. “So many people on campus […] would love to study abroad but simply do not have the money. […] This past summer, I studied abroad with the UC Davis Fashion Marketing in Paris, France program. I enjoyed myself greatly and appreciated the chance to travel that the program afforded me.”

Hartwell is not surprised by the French government’s decision to aid the program.

“Once I actually placed my feet on a Paris sidewalk and had a chance to look around, I was truly amazed and surprised,” Hartwell said via email. “Having been in France, I’m not surprised in the least that wonderful people are generously facilitating the study abroad experiences for our Davis students.”

Dragona believes the grant is both a testament to UC Davis’ efforts and strengthens the school’s relationship with France.

“This is an important award for UC Davis Study Abroad because it affirms the work we do and it further builds on UC Davis’ existing relationships with France and French partner institutions,” Dragona said via email.

The UC Davis Abroad Club was also awarded $2,000 for winning the 2016 France on Campus Award. Under the guidance of film director Wes Anderson, the award aims to discover, support and celebrate initiatives to innovatively and creatively explore France.

Student organizations are expected to display French culture on their campuses and beyond by launching a France-related project with a “unique package of funding, mentoring and networking,” according to the website for the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

Julianna Roy, president of the Study Abroad Club and a fourth-year psychology major, said the club plans to have a series of 360-degree videos of UC Davis students’ experiences in France by providing participants with 360-degree cameras, creating a website for the videos and developing mobile apps that are compatible with virtual reality devices.

“As president of the Study Abroad Club and as a peer advisor at UC Davis Study Abroad, I helped design a proposal for a project that will give students an interactive experience and encourage them to study abroad in France,” Roy said via email.

Although there will be study abroad staff members helping this initiative, it will be mainly student run.

“Staff members at the Study Abroad Office will be assisting us through the process, but this project will be entirely student run,” Roy said via email. “We also hope to involve other students on campus who are interested in app development, or who have an interest in French culture.”

Students who are interested can learn more by watching the Study Abroad video on Roy’s YouTube channel.
Written by: Yvonne Leong — campus@theaggie.org