The University of California Education Abroad Program will be offering six new programs for the 2014-2015 year, which students can enroll in beginning this year.
For the first time, next year UCLA students will be able to study medicine in clinical rotations in the Dominican Republic and immerse themselves into the local culture of Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Other new programs include a partnership with McGill University in Canada, as well as programs in London and Germany.
While Europe is still the most popular destination, Mary McMahon, a regional director with the UCEAP, said the programs in Indonesia and the Dominican Republic signified a growing increase in student interest in the developing world.
“Changing demographics and interests at the UC has necessitated a change in the programs we offer,” McMahon said.
She added that many of the newer programs being offered aren’t the typical language and literature studies that typify many of the earlier study abroad programs.
“There are now many programs for public health, science and engineering, which cater to what was an underserved group of students seeking to study abroad,” McMahon said.
With the rising interest in studying science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medical fields abroad, UCEAP is opening more technical programs such as the sustainable engineering program to be offered at the Munich University of Applied Sciences, McMahon said.
The new programs and changes within programs have been centered around crafting a more immersive experience within the culture, including internships and more interaction with the local community, rather than just having students take classes at a university, McMahon said.
She said that existing programs are also going through similar changes, such as one in Vietnam where the program’s base is moving from Hanoi to a city called Can Tho in order to provide a more immersive cultural experience.
Also, programs in Morocco and Jordan will be reopening after conditions improved in both countries over the course of the next two years, said Linda York, another regional director at UCEAP.
For example, the UC closed its program in Cairo due to the growing unrest there, York said.
The Education Abroad Program, however, is also closing programs due to a lack of student interest as well as safety concerns, said Linda York, another regional director at UCEAP.
McMahon said that the future of studying abroad will focus on a combination of school-based and experience-based learning, especially internships.
A new program at Sotheby’s Institute of the Arts in London reflects this commitment to experience by immersing students in the professional art world through visits to major art fairs, exhibitions and galleries.
“What we’d like for students to be able to do is to see what it’s really like to work there, how business is done and how cultural barriers can be crossed,” McMahon said.
York also said that in the future, the University plans to focus on shorter summer-based programs, as well as multi-site programs where students spend weeks in various cities over the course of a quarter, instead of spending their entire time in one city.
“No matter what, studying abroad will always be an invaluable cultural insight,” York said.
Compiled by Christopher Hurley, Bruin contributor.