The UC Education Abroad Program will host a series of international events throughout the 2012-2013 school year at UCSB to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
The program originated at UCSB in 1962 after a group of 80 undergraduates traveled to the University of Bordeaux in France. The UCEAP now operates in 36 countries on six continents and has sent over 100,000 students from all nine UC campuses since its conception.
The UCEAP is one of the largest study abroad programs in the country and sends over 4,000 students overseas each year. UCSB will start off the year-long commemoration on April 28 with a reception and dinner honoring EAP alumni.
Simone Khoubian, a fourth-year psychology major who traveled to Sydney, Australia last fall, said the program provides priceless world experiences alongside college credit.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to do what you’re doing anyway in another part of the world,” Khoubian said. “You can become part of another culture.”
The UCEAP is offering shorter terms in response to decreased state funding, with less than one out of six participants in the past three years spending an entire year abroad.
Additionally, UCEAP’s Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director Jean-Xavier Guinard said students are choosing to reduce their time abroad to avoid jeopardizing their ability to graduate in time.
Third-year environmental studies major Linnea Partelow, who studied in Canterbury, United Kingdom last fall, said returning after a single quarter allowed her to enjoy an enriching travel experience without slowing down her studies.
“I felt that a quarter would be a good amount of time to go abroad and then come back to finish everything I have to do here and not miss too much,” Partelow said. “I think that I easily could have done a year, but I think it was fine to be there for four months.”
The program is restructuring its business model to rely on student fees as its principal revenue source rather than state funds due to the decrease in government financing.
Budget and Finance Director Dennis Dent said the model will continue to make UCEAP as inexpensive as possible for participants.
“We hope it’s going to be a win-win situation,” Dent said. “We understand the sensitivities with fee increases; we know the burden that puts students under so it’s our objective to make our programs as affordable as possible.”
According to Dent, the new funding system requires the program to contribute approximately one third of its revenue to the University Committee on Educational Policy’s general fund, with last year’s contribution totaling about $8.7 million.
Although UCEAP will continue to receive some state financial aid for another four years, it will set aside $1.15 million each year to build an emergency funds pool in case it is not self-sufficient within that time.
Guinard said the program is developing a financial aid grant with excess money generated from its increased reliance on student fees.
“What we do — because we are now in a position to generate a surplus — is fund scholarships,” Guinard said. “We just launched a new scholarship initiative that commits $500,000 for each of the next three years, which will help support our vision of study abroad for all.”
According to Campus Director Juan Campo, an associate professor of religious studies, the program is using innovative advertising methods such as hosting various media events on campus.
“The many ways we market our program through social media and public events has been exemplary for other schools in the system,” Campo said. “For the first time this year, we’re engaging and co-sponsoring lectures, conferences and films on campus with other departments.”
UCEAP launched an anniversary website at www.eap.ucop.edu/50, which includes an updated calendar of commemorative events and information. Visit the EAP office in 2431 South Hall for more information.