From the high art and culture of Paris to the bustling streets of Beijing, a well-chosen study abroad program at any university will have much to offer its students. Well-balanced study abroad programs should both satisfy a student’s wanderlust in vastly different continents and cater to the financial and academic needs of each individual student.
While study abroad programs typically aren’t a major factor in a student’s college decision, the programs that similarly ranked colleges offer are nonetheless vastly different from one another and in need of consideration. Finding just one program at UC Berkeley that fits one’s needs for studying abroad may seem a daunting process, but when four other colleges are thrown into the mix, the comparisons become an endless journey of looking at numbers and programs.
What programs are available at each campus? How many countries and cities do those programs cover? What about monetary issues — are those with financial aid as able to study abroad as those without? How does our campus size up when compared with similar schools?
To find some answers to these questions, we compared UC Berkeley’s study abroad program opportunities with those of two other UC campuses, as well as those of Chico State, the University of Virginia and our No. 1 competitor, Stanford University.
What is UCEAP?
The UC Education Abroad Program is the study abroad program for all 10 campuses of the University of California. Established in 1962, the program offers options in more than 40 countries and allows students to earn credits for their studies.
The program offers varied options for the length of study time abroad — anywhere from four weeks to a full year. Students can select programs related to their major and choose from a list of 115 partner universities.
UCEAP is offering $1.5 million in scholarships for the 2015-16 year to UC students studying abroad. UC students are also eligible to apply their financial aid toward studying abroad.
Apart from the opportunities offered through UCEAP, UC Berkeley has its own program, Berkeley Abroad, which includes UC Berkeley Summer Abroad and Berkeley Global Internships.
The UC Berkeley Summer Abroad program builds itself around UC Berkeley courses in overseas summer programs so that students may earn UC Berkeley credits for their own majors while living abroad. All classes abroad are also taught by UC Berkeley faculty.
UC Berkeley offers internships that last the duration of summer, while at UCEAP, internships can last anywhere from six to 18 weeks. The Berkeley Global Internships program offers internships in eight locations, while UCEAP offers seven packaged internships, 15 options to add an internship to a study abroad program and an option for students to set up their own internship.
Approximately two-thirds of UC Berkeley students use their financial aid for studying abroad, and Berkeley Study Abroad also offers a $1,500 need-based scholarship to students participating in summer study abroad programs.
Approximately 50 percent of each graduating class studies abroad as undergraduate students through Stanford’s Bing Overseas Study Program. These programs are mostly quarter length and offer direct Stanford credits for courses taught overseas.
“Stanford considers overseas studies as an integral part of undergraduate education,” said Ramon Saldivar, a Stanford professor and the director of BOSP, so no additional tuition is charged for participation in the program. Stanford does not offer additional scholarships that fund studies abroad, but students on financial aid may still apply their aid toward the program. Students are charged an overseas fee, which covers their housing, meals and program activities while abroad.
Students at UCLA, apart from participating in UCEAP, can find opportunities to go abroad over the summer through UCLA’s Travel Study program, which is open to students of all colleges and universities. As part of the program, UCLA’s academic faculty teach classes abroad in a variety of majors, including in the social sciences, the humanities and the languages.
UC San Diego:
UCSD ensures that its students can study in virtually any country through its Opportunities Abroad Program. The program — which, according to UCSD’s website, covers any company, organization or institution outside the UC system — gives students the option of applying to a study abroad provider or directly enrolling at a host university.
Students of UCSD have access to UCEAP as well as the opportunity to enroll in UCSD Global Seminars, where classes abroad are taught by professors in more than 15 countries.
University of Virginia:
Education Abroad at the University of Virginia supports more than 1,500 undergraduate students per year. The university itself sponsors more than 50 study abroad programs during the academic year and the summer, and offers a list of approved programs sponsored by other colleges, universities and organizations.
CSU Chico – also known as Chico State – sent 400 students abroad during the 2014-15 academic year. The state university offers semester and yearlong programs, as well as summer and winter intersession programs, in 30 countries.
During their time abroad, students can complete coursework for academic credit toward their major and/or minor, as well as general education requirements. Students can use school loans, scholarships and financial aid toward the cost of their studies abroad.