Major: Ethnic Studies / Visual Arts (Media)
Grad Year: 2014
Program Location: Paris, France
One of my favorite parts when I studied abroad in France was when we took a class excursion to Versailles to look at how everything was put on display. The grounds were so amazing and I couldn't get enough of the gardens, the windows, the chandeliers and the golden gates. What made this day most exhilarating was spending time with my classmates riding bikes. It was a great way to get to know everyone, make friends and is one of the best highlights of my experience in France.
Grad Year: 2015
Program Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
This summer, I attended a global seminar with a group of my wonderful peers from UCSD in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I chose this location due to my interest in economics and society in Latin America. For 5 weeks, my peers and I indulged in Argentine culture and found ourselves learning about economics and politics not only in the class setting but right before our eyes in day to day life activities. I can now say that I have successfully taken part in what people say is a life-changing experience. It was indeed a life changing experience.
In the spring quarter of 2013 I changed my major to International Studies Economics, thinking that I would join a non-profit organization, be involved in international development and change the world! To my dismay, my first international studies class taught us to think about development in a different way; in a not so heroic and big brother way, but an honest and true way, one that reminds you that there are millions of different cultures, religions, and ways of life out there and as much as you think it’s not right and as much as you want to “fix” it, there may not be anything to fix, not in your reach anyway. So I successfully completed that class and thought that I understood the concept completely. It turns out that my understanding wasn’t exactly complete until the end of my trip in Argentina.
In the two courses that we attended while in Argentina, we learned about economics, society, and politics of Argentina. I noticed that everything that we were learning explained what I saw and experienced every day.
For example, there was very high inflation due to the convertibility law that was implemented in 2001, which depleted the value of the Argentine peso; we experienced this every day because when we bought something, the prices were extremely high. Another example is the fact that in Argentina there is a "blue rate" for pesos, which is actually like a black market for pesos when you are exchanging American dollars. The Argentine government doesn't want the circulation of American money in Argentina, and before the class started I had no idea why not. But as we later learned in class, there is great distrust in banks and in the government therefore citizens try to save their money in USD instead of pesos because the value of the peso is not secure; but since no one saves and invests in pesos, the economy isn't being stimulated and so the Argentine government tries to confiscate American USD in circulation to encourage people to keep using pesos.
As you see I learned about argentine society, politics, and economics on a first hand basis. This is priceless compared to reading it out of a book. My trip abroad has definitely changed my entire view of development and international policies. I had this naïve thought, when I got into International Economics, that it would be so easy to help other countries become developed and more like we are here in the states; but what I found was that it is so much more complicated than that. It might not be bad policy; it’s the rule of law; it is the willingness of the people being governed to decide whether they want to follow the rules, it is the amount of trust the people have in their government, it is the ability of the leaders and representatives to follow their own policies. So development isn’t just some “cookie-cutter” formula, it’s a observation, dissection and analysis of all aspects of a country and its culture before any movement can be done towards change, but only if change is welcome. I feel like what I learned in Argentina has helped me so much.
I am so much more experienced and I can say that I have some understanding of the complications of Argentine politics and economics not through reading a book but through experiencing the life style and the people in the country. I feel like this has moved me one step closer to being a global citizen. Being a North American 21stcentury citizen, I used to think of the 21st century as innovation, creation, new technology, new cars, new everything. But from what I experienced in Argentina, our 21st century is certainly not a collective global 21st century, it is only a reality to some; and the most important thing I learned is that that’s okay.
As a last note in my reflection I would like to thank Sixth College for aiding me financially to make this life changing experience possible.
Grad Year: 2015
Program Location: Yonsei University, South Korea
See Tracy's photos of Gangnam (PDF)
During the past six weeks, I studied at Yonsei University, International Summer School, located in Sinchon, Seoul. These six weeks were not merely a study abroad experience, it was most importantly a process of growing up while adapting in a new country. At Yonsei University, I took a total of three courses including, Introduction to Psychology, Principles of Microeconomics and Beginning Korean. Economic and psychology courses were taught in English by international professors. The teaching style was similar to that of the states so I did not need much adjustment. The Korean class was taught by native Korean teachers who spoke only Korean in class. I have greatly improved in Korean pronunciation and vocabulary. What I loved most about this class was that the teachers were patient to make sure everyone in the class understands the grammar and pronunciation. Through this beginning class, I am now able to pronounce all Korean characters with no problem.
The dorm life at Yonsei was also great for socializing and making new friends. I lived at the international student dormitory along with most of the UCEAP participant as well as other international students from all over the world. Living in such an intimate environment with people with similar interests, it is very easy to make friends from all over the U.S. as well as the world. The classes operate from Monday to Thursday from 9AM to 6PM, and vary with each class. The rest of the week was mostly devoted to traveling. What made traveling so easy was its advanced and convenient transportation system. Travelers can get to anywhere in Seoul by the subway, which has clear route indications and transfer information. I have had many native cultural experiences such as going to the Korean “jimjibang”, a public sauna house where both young and old people like to stay to relax. Furthermore, I went on a tour to the Guanghwamun Palace where the Joseon royals lived. The tour included historical explanations about the palace, the residents and also every detail about why the palace was designed the way it did. This truly enhanced my knowledge about the ancient Korea.
Furthermore, one of the other unforgettable trips was the Busan trip hosted by UCEAP. I learned much more about Korean by going there. The biggest fish market in Busan and the biggest department store in the world were all famous places of which we explored. The Haeundae beach gave me the most beautiful and incredible scene that I would have never seen in the states. Hundreds and thousands of people still filled the beach at night. Night performances were also a ‘must-see’ in Korea. The nightlife in Korea was what made me so in love with this country. Bright neon street lights, clubs, street performances and cheap shopping stores highlighted the liveliness of the Korean culture. It was drastically different from my life in America. Every day, there are always new things to learn. I feel truly grateful to be part of the UCEAP abroad family, and the experience and knowledge I gained were the most valuable to me and I will treasure every memory of Korea.
Grad Year: 2016
Program Location: University of Sussex, England
I spent my 2013 summer studying at the University of Sussex located in the beautiful country of England. My university was short bus ride away from the bright and lively city of Brighton, which I quickly fell in love with. The city’s meandering cobblestone streets were lined with vintage clothing shops, vendors selling homemade treasures, cafes, and theaters. To top it off, the town picturesquely bordered the ocean and had a pier packed with restaurants and carnival rides extending into the horizon. At night, my friends and I got a true sampling of nocturnal English culture, going on pub crawls and interacting with the locals.
One of the best parts of my study abroad experience was the convenience to travel throughout all of Europe. Brighton’s closeness to London, an international hub of transportation, made it possible for me to travel to France, Amsterdam, Scotland, Ireland, and well as other cities in England on my weekends. Even better, I was earning class credit while enjoying the greatest European vacation of my life! The University of Sussex provided a large range of subjects, so I could easily find one that fit my interests and my traveling schedule. I took Psychology and Film, both of which were capped at a class size of twelve (sort of a shock coming from UCSD), but it created a community learning environment that made going to class a social and intimate experience.
Regardless of your major, don’t waste the incredible opportunity to study abroad! It was the most fulfilling and wonderful experience I’ve yet to have in my life. Do it!
Major: Human Biology
Grad Year: 2014
Program Location: Global Seminar: Public Health Practicum in Amman, Jordan
I learned so much during this period of time away from the distractions of Western culture, not only from the course, but also about the richness of the Islamic culture and way of life, the generosity of its people, and most significantly, how little I still know about the world outside of our comfortable niche. There is so much history and many different viewpoints fueling the political situation in the Middle East today that gets lost and oversimplified by the time it reaches our media. I also learned so much from my peers and formed friendships that I know will last a lifetime.
I would highly recommend the studying abroad for anyone who wants an unforgettable undergraduate experience. There are several scholarships out there for undergraduates that can significantly ease the financial burden of a study abroad experience, such as the Sixth College Study Abroad Scholarship. I was lucky to also receive a scholarship from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.
Major: International Studies- Econ.
Grad Year: 2014
Program Location: OAP - American Institute of Foreign Studies
Many students considering studying abroad are hesitant to do so due to the misconception that they could not possibly afford it. Something that is very important for students to know is that there are many scholarships and grants that exist to help students pay for their abroad experience. It is crucial that students research their options and apply for as many scholarships as possible, both at UCSD and beyond. If I, a student who is fully dependant upon Financial Aid, could figure out a way to study in France, I'm pretty sure there is lots of hope for those who really want to study abroad. If you really want to enrich your college experience by studying abroad, DO NOT let finances keep you back. Do all you can to make this dream a reality. At least that's what I did.