I recently returned from Mexico (Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Quintana Roo) where I met with a broad spectrum of education, government, and corporate leaders. All were keenly interested in partnering with UCLA in some way to increase current levels of international exchange.
As I spoke with these individuals, I realized the options for such exchanges have expanded dramatically in recent years. When I was an undergraduate, a “junior year abroad” was the model. Though that option was not available to me at the time, I participated in another classic international experience of the era—a three month backpacking/Eurail/youth hostel trip through Europe. (I’ll save the details of that trip for another time!)
Today, a full year of study in another country remains an incredibly enriching experience, but it is out of reach for many students. Finances are one concern and interrupting progress toward a degree at home is another.
Fortunately, students and professionals have many flexible options for formal education or professional development in another country. Some of these include:
- Single semester or quarter-length programs (rather than an entire year)
- Intensive summer programs
- Short-term professional certificate or diploma programs
- Intensive language programs
- Custom group study travel program
- Online programs (or hybrid online/classroom programs)
I’m happy to be able to say that UCLA Extension offers all of the above to international students and professionals and we welcome over 4,000 international students annually to Extension programs. These students not only gain a valuable cultural and international experience for themselves, but they enrich the classroom experience for our domestic students and instructors as well.
I look forward to continuing my conversations with my new friends and colleagues from Mexico to see what new and interesting programs we might develop together. We’re close enough to each other and have much in common. I see it as a natural fit.