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Spring 2004 Bruin Walk

Studying Abroad
Photography courtesy of UC Education Abroad Program
REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE

Gaining a Global Awareness

by Ajay Singh

Franchesca Cabrera is enthralled by flamenco, but it wasn't until she traveled to Spain last spring that she fully understood why she was so attracted to the Spanish dance.

"It is looked upon as a dark, deep art form," says the world arts and cultures senior. "The idea of dancing to lyrics that express suffering, loss and love that fascinates me."

Cabrera was among 582 Bruins who traveled overseas in 2002-'03 through the University of California's Education Abroad Program (EAP). This year, a record 713 UCLA students are expected to study outside the United States despite the general uneasiness about terrorism in the post-September 11 world, turmoil in the Middle East and flu epidemics in Asia.

"Many students feel that the program is one of the best hopes for international peace and understanding," says Scott Cooper, EAP associate director for academic integration at UC. "When the world intrudes on us, Americans get more interested in the world."

Interacting with foreigners also helps students develop the skills necessary to succeed in an increasingly globalized world. Eileen Fabunan, 22, a French and Francophone studies major at UCLA, is a case in point. She lived for a year in the French alpine city of Grenoble, studying French literature, culture and society. Although she found France's political climate unsettling the Iraq war was around the corner Fabunan says she was glad to be there.

"I wasn't just living in my bubble, but getting a different opinion," she says. "My stay opened a lot of doors culturally, linguistically, politically and personally."


2005 The Regents of the University of California