Studying abroad broadens horizons, offers unique opportunities

Studying abroad broadens horizons, offers unique opportunities

Photo Credits: QUINN SPOONER / AGGIE

Financial aid, diversity counseling and advising helps make studying abroad more accessible

Studying abroad gives students the opportunity to explore different cultures, see the world in different ways and broaden their horizons. Traveling to a different country and navigating life as a foreign student presents amazing opportunities, unforgettable experiences and incredible challenges, each of which are reasons to consider studying abroad. 

UC Davis students have access to quarter-long and summer programs, seminars, internships, independent exchange opportunities and UC-wide programs. The UC Davis Study Abroad office and major advisors can help students plan for their study abroad experience as early as freshman year.

Kelly Lucas, a third-year animal science major, studied abroad at the University of Edinburgh during Fall Quarter 2018. Lucas’ program is offered through the University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP). She studied alongside both Scottish and other international students.

“I went to the study abroad office super early and planned exactly what classes I was going to have to take [so that] the classes at Edinburgh [would] properly transfer,” Lucas said.

Lucas recommended reaching out to major advisors or the study abroad office as early as a year before students plan to study abroad. 

Lucas also participated in a veterinary internship while abroad, which gave her valuable international experience that she hopes will make her a more competitive candidate when she applies to veterinary graduate programs.

UC Davis quarter abroad programs are offered during the fall, winter and spring. Students have the opportunity to study alongside other UC Davis students led by a UC Davis faculty member in an international setting. Ranging from 10 to 16 weeks long, students are able to earn anywhere between 13 and 20 units. Courses vary by quarter and offer a wide range of subject material: current programs offered in Fall Quarter 2019 include language acquisition in Argentina, writing internships in Australia, culture in Italy, healthcare in Mexico and organic chemistry in the United Kingdom, among others. 

For students who feel too overwhelmed to study abroad during the school year, UC Davis also offers summer abroad courses that are an appealing option for many STEM majors. Programs take place in Asia, Europe and Latin America and topics include life sciences, microbiology, fashion, viticulture, writing, thermodynamics and many more. More than 30 programs allow students to take advantage of small class sizes of 18 to 30 students that are built around UC Davis course standards. Shorter than quarter-long programs, summer abroad programs are also a more affordable option for students. 

Katie Lewis, a third-year civil engineering major, participated in the Sustainable Cities of Northern Europe program during Summer 2018. During the program, Lewis had the opportunity to explore Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland while learning about the plans, systems and designs for urban sustainability.

“With my major, it would have been really difficult to incorporate study abroad with my course load,” Lewis said. “To me, it made the most sense to do a summer program. This allowed me to complete units while actually getting ahead of my normal schedule.”

In addition to UC Davis faculty-led programs, another popular option for students is UCEAP. These are more independent study abroad opportunities where UC Davis students study and travel with students from different UC campuses, and even other U.S. universities. Some programs offer students the opportunity to study at foreign universities with local students, stay with local families or apartments and explore different national settings more freely. Others are organized around UC centers abroad. UCEAP offers more country and course options for students and can be a quarter, semester or year long. 

Students can also opt to study abroad through programs that are not affiliated with UC. Laurel Hinshelwood, a third-year Spanish and international relations double major, took advantage of a program offered through the University Studies Abroad Consortium, an external study abroad program. Hinshelwood studied in San Sebastian, Spain alongside local Spanish students.

“Not only will you learn about the culture and people, but you learn a lot about yourself and being in situations outside of your comfort zone,” Hinshelwood said. “I was there for only a semester, but I experienced so much personal growth. You have to adapt and live in such an unfamiliar situation.”

Organized around the ambitious goal of achieving a global education for all students, the UC Davis Study Abroad office offers many resources to make studying abroad a feasible option for students of all backgrounds. The office has resources to increase the accessibility and diversity of students participating in study abroad experiences, with specific resources for students of color, LGBTQIA+ students, DACA students and students with disabilities. 

Moreover, the office hosts numerous scholarship workshops that are designed to help students take advantage of financial assistance. In addition to major and program specific scholarships available for UC Davis students, there are also scholarships awarded by the Study Abroad Office and independent grants that can help students fund their trips.

Written by: Ally Russell — campus@theaggie.org