Both employees with the Global Learning Hub and students currently studying abroad advocate for the various global opportunities available to students
By KEGEN WELLS — firstname.lastname@example.org
As the end of fall quarter 2023 has approached, many different types of study abroad opportunities, such as summer and quarter abroad, UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP), global intensives and virtual internships have become available for students to start learning about and applying to.
Nina Isaka, a fourth-year biotechnology major and employee at the Global Learning Hub, discussed why she believes students should take advantage of these programs.
“I think [study abroad] really helps you get different perspectives,” Isaka said. “I feel like [when] going to college, most of the time you’re stuck in a bubble because you have the same culture, values or have grown up the same. But when you do a study abroad program, you’re going to an entirely different country, and [become] immersed in that culture.”
After traveling abroad, students have shown to be more open-minded and empathetic because of the change of scenery and cultures, according to Isaka. Study abroad can also be beneficial in that it takes students out of their comfort zones, especially when going to other countries that are different from the U.S.
“I really like when students actually engage and ask questions about [study abroad] because I’m excited that they want to do a program,” third-year international relations major and employee at the Global Learning Hub Juliet Chicas said. “I think that my favorite part is seeing how excited students are to do the programs and to be a part of that process.”
Isaka noted that study abroad trips can also enhance resumes as it shows both openness and willingness to try out new opportunities.
The Global Learning Hub and UCEAP offer many programs that students are not fully aware of, so Chicas emphasized the importance of visiting the Global Learning Hub office to figure out which type works best for each student.
“We offer a ton of other programs that I think are very missed, and that’s actually how I was able to travel abroad,” Chicas said. “There’s this program called ‘Widening Circles,’ where you’re essentially taking an online course but in conjunction with that, you can do an internship or learning experience [where] you can travel abroad.”
The Global Learning Hub also offers drop-in advising with helpful resources and knowledgeable agents, according to Isaka.
“I would suggest students who want to travel, but not necessarily study abroad, to learn about more opportunities because we offer a lot of really cool free programs that involve global learning,” Chicas said. “You don’t have to pay thousands of dollars and go to another country to retain the experience. It can look like doing a micro internship for two weeks where you’re on Zoom talking to students from around the world and that also counts as a global learning experience. Try to be open to other types of opportunities that are just as awesome.”
The Global Learning Hub also has different programs for post graduates as well, so if students are in their third or fourth year, there are still many options available to look into.
“That’s what some coworkers and I are trying to do next year,” Isaka said. “We’re trying to teach English in Japan called the CHIP program. You can do that for a year or longer if you want or you just live in Japan for a year and teach English to students as a cultural ambassador assisted learning teacher. There’s also other places like Spain, Austria, France, Korea and I’m sure a lot of other places where you can do that too. There’s always something to do even after undergrad [and] I think a lot of people don’t realize that.”
Information about post-graduate opportunities can be found on the Global Learning Hub’s website as there is a tab dedicated to those that have finished their undergraduate learning, according to Chicas.
“I know some people are scared to come in and talk about studying abroad, but everybody here is so friendly,” Isaka said. “We’ll talk to you for hours about anything that you want or may have questions about.”
Getting involved in these programs is simple and straightforward, through an easy process with flexibility to fit each student to a trip that works for them, according to Chicas.
“I was interested in doing a quarter abroad, so I just looked into all of the programs and schools on the UCEAP site and narrowed it down to [Utrecht University],” third-year English major Katherine Krinsky said, who is currently studying abroad in the Netherlands and visiting Belgium, the UK, Switzerland, France, Spain and Germany. “I applied, got accepted, and went from there.”
When traveling abroad, it is said that one of the best parts is seeing what is different from the student’s homelands compared to their new living spot.
“Public transportation is really good in the Netherlands, so I’ve been able to travel around the country a good amount, and also with nearby airports as well as bus and train stations, it’s fairly easy to travel internationally,” Krinsky said.
Another valuable resource for those considering study-abroad programs is communicating with students that have done them already.
“Your experience abroad is what you make of it,” Krinsky said. “Everyone’s [experience] is different and if it isn’t perfect or what you were completely expecting, that’s okay because it’s hard to have a correct idea of what it’’l actually be like beforehand.”
Krinsky concluded with her tips for studying abroad.
“Pack (relatively) light — bring some things you absolutely love and a few basics,” Krinsky said. “Also, make sure you research the weather for the entire time you’re abroad to be more prepared. Set some intentions for your time abroad before leaving: Do you want to travel? Learn the native language? Do more things independently? [Doing so helped me] feel more fulfilled when doing things that aligned with my set intentions. Last, [and] this is cheesy, but [you only live once]. You’ll most likely live abroad (at least as a student) once, so make the most of it! Adventure, travel and explore. There will be hard moments, but it’s all so worth it.”
Written by: Kegen Wells — email@example.com