When they began their studies at UC Santa Barbara in the 1980s, Greg Massa and Raquel Krach would never have imagined themselves where they are today: growing organic crops on a family farm outside of Chico, CA. But a tropical biology program in Costa Rica sparked an appreciation of the role of ecology in agriculture and kindled a love – for farming and for each other – that set a new trajectory for their lives.
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.
While studying abroad in Ghana, UC Santa Cruz student Jeremy Kirshbaum launched an effort to help residents of a remote mountain village construct a life-saving medical clinic. Now, students at UC Santa Cruz are helping residents of this mountain community acquire critical funding and health resources through ecotourism, bead sales and benefit concerts, while forging enduring connections across continents and cultures.
For the hundreds of thousands of college students mulling over the decision to study abroad next year, the clock is ticking. The deadlines for applications at most universities, including UC, are in January and February. UCTV Prime’s new series “Going Places: UC Education Abroad,” premiering December 3, just might inspire some of them to say YES to adventure.
From witnessing history at the Berlin Wall to saving lives in a remote West African community, “Going Places” shares the life-changing stories of participants in the University of California’s pioneering education abroad program. Launched in 1962, just as commercial jet travel was dawning, UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) is now one of the largest and most diverse undergraduate exchange programs in the country. As the program marks 50 years of educating and inspiring global citizens, this series explores how UC study abroad students are influencing the world – and how the world is influencing them.
Check out the trailer for the series and stay tuned the first three Tuesdays in December for new episodes!