Savannah Dawson had never been out of the country when she enrolled in UC Santa Cruz’s summer food study program in Perugia, Italy last summer.The 20-year-old San Fernando Valley resident said the experience was “fantastic but simultaneously terrifying.” She barely knew the other students she was traveling with before she left but found the challenges of navigating an unfamiliar foreign town brought them together. Her highlights were watching a dramatic thunderstorm and bonding with new friends at the goodbye dinner.
“It was a unique experience that I cannot replicate anywhere else or in any other time,” she said.
UC Santa Cruz is expanding its faculty-led summer abroad programs this year from just two programs last year to seven this summer. Registration has opened for faculty who want to propose a course for summer 2020.
In addition, the university’s global engagement department has developed four new direct bilateral student exchanges that provide new study abroad opportunities for students during the academic year. Registration is open now for all these new programs.
In the past, students seeking a study abroad program were mainly directed to the UC Education Abroad Program, which coordinates and manages foreign exchanges, including enrolling students at all 10 campuses.
Until two years ago, there was no support for UC Santa Cruz faculty to propose and lead a course abroad for their students. Also because Santa Cruz did not have any direct exchanges with partners abroad, it was difficult for faculty and students to develop relationships with foreign universities, said Alice Michel, director of UC Santa Cruz Study Abroad. Partnerships with universities abroad are key to internationalizing a campus and providing opportunities not only for undergraduates but graduates and faculty to work and research abroad.
This year, Santa Cruz developed direct institutional exchanges with four universities around the world: University of Sussex in England, Danish Technical University and …