Berkeley Study Abroad offers new programs

Students may soon be able to apply for new Berkeley Study Abroad programs that will provide them with an array of resources and opportunities to make their experiences an unforgettable one.

From Botswana to Barbados, students currently have the ability to choose from 115 universities in more than 40 different countries, with the option to study for solely a quarter, a semester, a summer or even the entire school year. Through Berkeley Study Abroad, students may also participate in unique internships, research or volunteer opportunities.

After two years of extensive planning, two new “multisite” programs  –– meaning that students are able to study abroad in not one but multiple countries –– will be offered for the 2015-16 school year. In addition to the Rome and Madrid, London and Paris programs that have already been running for a year, students can experience Mediterranean Food and Culture in Istanbul, Florence and Barcelona and Human Rights and Cultural Memory in Buenos Aires and Santiago.

Berkeley Study Abroad has also expanded its global internship programs as well, including opportunities in Mexico City and Hong Kong set for summer 2015, according to Tracy Weber, assistant director of program development and operations for Berkeley Study Abroad.

“We are hearing from students that they have a strong interest and need for internships,” Weber said in an email. “Our faculty-led Summer Abroad programs are driven by faculty and academic departments. We are always adding new programs based on faculty interest and student demand.”

One concern students may have are whether their course credits abroad will transfer to their UC transcript. But prior to departure, UCEAP requires students to fill out an academic planning form that is then sent to their major department to ensure that all of the course requirements are aligned. Although it is a rare instance when courses abroad do change, Weber said, there is a high level of flexibility to fit the students’ needs.

“Most course offerings abroad have a similar level of risk that they will change as do course offerings in the UC system, but most students have not identified concern for this risk as being a primary deciding factor in applying for study abroad,” said Barbara Tassielli, assistant director of advising for Berkeley Study Abroad in an email.

Although basic requirements to be eligible for study abroad vary within each program, they all require a minimum GPA, class standing and completion of course prerequisites.

For UC Berkeley sophomore Marian Haidarali –– who traveled to Taiwan this summer and studied at the National Taiwan University –– planning her academic schedule abroad was an easy process.

“My program was pretty small and the teacher in charge was really hands on, so I never had anything to worry about!” she said in an email.

Becca Benham covers academics and administration. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @beccabenhamdc.