UC Berkeley to launch freshman study abroad program in London

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UC Berkeley will launch a new study abroad program for incoming freshmen, starting with the fall 2015 freshman class.

Through UC Berkeley’s new program Global Edge, approximately 50 students will take classes at the UC Education Abroad Program center in London for their first full semester in college, according to Richard Russo, dean of summer sessions, study abroad and lifelong learning on campus.

Students in the program will complete the first half of the Reading and Composition requirement over the summer at the UC Berkeley campus, along with an elective of their choice and a CalSO orientation, which Russo said will familiarize students with the UC Berkeley campus prior to studying abroad for their first semester.

“We don’t want their first experience at Berkeley to be in the UK,” Russo said.

The group will travel to London in late August, where they will fulfill additional reading and math requirements, as well as three elective courses, before returning for the spring 2016 semester. Campus Division of Student Affairs spokesperson Adam Ratliff said in an email that the classes will allow students to gain credit that will count toward their undergraduate degrees.

“There are a lot of majors where it’s very difficult to study abroad at the the upper division level, because there are a lot of major requirements,” Russo said. “(Global Edge) won’t require them to take any summer courses or delay their graduation in order to go abroad.”

Though tuition will remain the same, the program will also have a $2,254 fee for excursions and theater trips during the fall. Students will also pay for their flights to London, a mandatory $900 EAP participation fee and an approximately $6,000 housing fee to stay in apartments at Conway Hall, located in central London, on top of tuition and housing for Session C this summer, should they choose to live on campus. All of the students will be eligible for financial aid, along with additional scholarships.

“We hope that the group of students going to London will look just like the same demographics that we have on campus,” Russo said.

The program is not competitive, said Russo, who added that any incoming freshman who is at least 18 years of age and meets the prerequisites for the program’s courses will be encouraged to apply.

The program will help the campus meet space constraints and attain the campus’ goal of tripling the number of study abroad students. Russo explained that many students tend to study abroad in the spring, and that the program allows the university to “balance out demand,” when students have graduated or dropped out by the spring semester.

Administrators are hoping to expand Global Edge to other locations in the future. It is only for first-semester freshmen.

Contact Anna Sturla at [email protected].