During summer 2022, rising junior Alexa Macias and hundreds of others took a leap into the unknown by traveling halfway around the world through the Berkeley Study Abroad program.
This summer, nearly 800 campus students are following in their footsteps. Through the Berkeley Global Internships, UC Education Abroad, or UCEAP, and Berkeley Study Abroad programs, these students will explore various cultures and ideas while earning academic credits.
Macias studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain and noted that the most meaningful aspect of her experience was seeing things through a new, non-American perspective.
“And the differing views was an eye-opener towards seeing that the world is way bigger than where we’re at right now,” Macias said.
Macias noted she had classes from Tuesday to Thursday every week, allowing her a four-day weekend to explore different areas of Spain. She added that her topic of study already interested her, so the course rigor did not feel as intense.
According to Berkeley Study Abroad advisor Anna Henry, Berkeley Summer Abroad courses are classes taught by campus professors who travel abroad for the summer.
“The main difference is that these courses generally emphasize experiential learning and practice based approaches meaning that while you can expect lectures in a classroom setting, you can also expect excursions, community engagement, and more as a major part of your class experience,” Henry said in an email.
Rising sophomore Sabrina Kim is studying abroad this summer in Berlin, Germany. She noted she looks forward to the educational, professional and cultural opportunities the experience will bring.
The longest part of the initial application process, according to Kim, was researching the program. She matched with an advisor for a potential internship position, where she was then interviewed and accepted.
“I expect to learn a lot about other cultures and people while abroad!” Kim said in an email. “I’m excited to gain work experience – especially international work experience – and see more of the world.”
The three programs supporting students studying abroad are distinct, according to Henry. She noted students in Berkeley Summer Abroad live and travel with other students, focus on special topics and languages and receive UC Berkeley credit. Berkeley Global Internships satisfy international studies and historical studies breadth requirements while placing students in an internship based on their interests and academic backgrounds. Finally, UCEAP is a systemwide program, where students receive UC credit and explore opportunities including cultural immersion and research.
Despite these distinctions, Henry noted that studying abroad benefits students across all three programs by exposing them to different cultures, allowing them to develop a global network, improving their independence and more.
As someone who didn’t know other students studying in the same area, Macias’ biggest piece of advice to those studying abroad this summer was to embrace the experience to its fullest extent.
“Take it all in,” Macias said. “Put yourself out there, socialize with different people because you make a lot of new friends and a lot of great memories — just be open to everything.”