The University of California Educational Abroad Program will double its scholarship funding to $1 million for the 2013-14 school year.
The increased funding will provide a pool of money to be split into 385 scholarships across all UC campuses, with $1,000 awards given to summer program students and $2,000 scholarships awarded to students in semester and yearlong programs. The scholarships are funded by profits the program generated in past years, and while EAP usually attains funding from government subsidies, Director Juan Campo said recent budgetary cuts have necessitated its adoption of a business model.
According to Campo, the new business-minded angle allows EAP to fund all the entities and processes necessary to run the program.
“Profits will maintain its operations, funding the study centers and staff abroad, also devoting revenues toward student scholarships and student aids,” Campo said. “We are making a prof it for a nonprof it.”
Stacey Lydon — EAP program specialist — said the motivations behind the scholarship increase was to try serving as many students as possible so UC students from all backgrounds and fields can gain an equal opportunity to join the program.
“We want to make sure all students in the UC system feel that the study abroad programs are assessable and affordable to them,” Lydon said. “To support them, we will be dedicating more of our resources to more scholarships to more students.”
The next scholarship application will begin mid-February for participants applying for the Northern Hemisphere’s academic year of 2013- 14 and applications require transcripts and a two-page statement of purpose.
Lydon said the scholarships emphasize participant diversity and will be available for students with all types of study abroad objectives.
“Our message with this new scholarship initiative is that we want stu- dents to know that education abroad is accessible to everybody. So if you are thinking about it, if you are curious about it, we have a wide variety of programs in cities all around the world,” Lydon said. “We have something available for everybody.”
The EAP funding system also focuses on students with more finan- cial needs but also targets students with specific majors and chosen countries of study, Campo said.
“This year we are offering scholarships to any engineering student that enrolls in EAP for a semester, for a year,” Campo said. “We are also doing special scholarships for students in the departments of political science, history, global studies, Black studies and Chicano studies … We also have scholarship opportunities for those students who are going to certain countries such as France.”
Hanna Dijkstra, a third-year environmental studies and communication major, said her trip to the Netherlands was enjoyable and spurred her personal development.
“My experience really helped me become a more independent person,” Dijkstra said. “While abroad, I planned and organized numerous trips and really took time to figure out what I wanted to do…I know it seems cliché to say I ‘found’ myself, but I definitely learned things about myself while abroad.”
Campo said EAP programs benefits students by motivating them into “broadening their horizons” and experiencing other cultures of the world.
Additionally, students also have the opportunity to learn a new language thoroughly and fairly quickly, Lydon said.
“Students can study language in all sorts of levels … We also have a program that involves community service and internships,” Lydon said. “It looks great on your resume to have done an internship in another country, sometimes in even another language.”
Study abroad experiences can also give students unique career and research opportunities they could not otherwise grasp, Lydon said.
“We have students that are able to go out into a reef or a rainforest for marine biology programs,” Lydon said. “You will have a lot of field experience that you wouldn’t be able to have access here on campus.”
While studying abroad may seem like a challenging endeavor, Dijkstra said the application process is not quite as difficult as students may think.
“The application is really not hard, and UCEAP organizes classes abroad so you will get credit and not fall behind,” Dijkstra said. “There is honestly nothing detrimental about going abroad, and even if you have to work at a sucky job for an entire summer to save up, the experiences you can have studying abroad will completely make up for it.”
A version of this article appeared on page 1 of January 31st, 2013′s print edition of the Nexus.