More students from UCSB studied abroad last year with the Education Abroad Program than from any other UC campus.

In total, UCSB’s EAP sent 993 students to study in dozens of different countries during the 2009-10 school year. Almost 190 of those UCSB students completed a full year of study abroad in 2009-10, accounting for 80 percent of all UC participants to enroll in a year-long program.

UC Berkeley had the second highest number of participants of UC campuses, sending 806 abroad last year.

As there are 35 different countries that offer EAP-sponsored programs, students currently studying abroad in a full-year program are paying fees ranging from around $20,000 for programs such as Thailand and around $40,000 for programs such as Italy. According to EAP Academic Integration Specialist Chris Silverstein, prices tend to vary yearly — and even EAP has to do its best to estimate costs of living and travel expenditures.

“While it is hard to determine the cost, the most expensive program [currently in session] overall would be the UC Paris Summer Semester at $11,115, which was $10,170 [in 2009-10],” Silverstein said in an e-mail. “The cheapest year-long program would be Taiwan for about $20,300, which was $16,200 [in 2009-10]. Prices vary, even though EAP does the best to estimate cost of living and flight.  The cheapest programs would be in areas with low cost of living. There is no way to predict what prices will be next year.”

Silverstein said select locations such as New Zealand and Costa Rica are highly popular among the UC in general, while the United Kingdom and Australia are top destinations for UCSB students. However, Silverstein said, the majority of programs have ample space.

“Capetown is usually impacted because it’s the only program in South Africa,” Silverstein said. “And our Boccini Business and Econ. program has a history of high demand. Most programs have room in the hundreds though. If you meet the requirements, you can get in.”

While fees have spiked, especially for European programs, Silverstein said most year-long and immersion programs are still less expensive than a UC education — making it relatively cheaper to travel abroad for a year than a quarter or semester.

“Cost of living in Isla Vista is one of the most expensive in the world,” Silverstein said. “There are lots of places where cost of rent is cheaper. Financial aid also transfers over to where you choose to travel and is adjusted according to the program.”

However, the high cost of many programs has forced numerous students to find alternate avenues for international education programs.

Sierra Centkowski, a third-year global studies major, said she chose to travel through International Studies Abroad instead of EAP.

“I didn’t go [through EAP] because they didn’t offer a semester-only program through Barcelona,” Centkowski said. “I would recommend it to anyone and the staff in Barcelona for ISA was awesome. I got to travel a lot and school wasn’t hard.”

Alisa Summerour, a fourth-year communication major who studied in London with EAP during the past academic year, said time abroad enriched her college experience.
“I loved it,” Summerour said. “It was challenging, but a great opportunity. I got to visit six different countries and was thrown into a large, bustling city.”

Because EAP classes are comparable to UC courses, Summerour said she experienced a smooth transition back to UCSB.

“All my units transferred and I received 18 upper division units through EAP,” she said.

Coordinators said EAP plans to instate new programs in the future, such as a fall semester program in Botswana and spring semester in Tanzania.