UC Education Abroad: ‘Renaissance Man’

UC Merced study abroad student Mario Trejo and his fiancé traveling in Italy

At 12 years old, Los Angeles resident Mario Trejo saw only one path for himself – to follow his brothers into gangs.  But by his senior year in high school, good grades and an interest in medicine led Mario to follow the encouragement of his teachers and apply to the University of California, which changed the course of his life.

But it wasn’t until his junior year at UC Merced that Mario realized what he thought was an impossible dream — the chance to study in Florence, Italy. During his semester abroad, Trejo studied Italian, found inspiration in the romantic settings and, most important of all, was able to truly transcend his difficult history and realize the extent of what he was capable.

Watch Mario’s story in “Changing Lives: Renaissance Man,” part of the UCTV Prime series, “Going Places: UC Education Abroad.”