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Finding the right program: Types of study abroad options

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SEPTEMBER 25, 2014

Studying abroad can be an experience that can define many individuals’ time at college, but it can be difficult trying to navigate through the myriad program options UC Berkeley and outside organizations offer.

Two distinct study abroad programs UC Berkeley offers include Berkeley Summer Abroad and Global Internships. Berkeley Summer Abroad allows students to be taught by UC Berkeley professors in countries such as the Netherlands, Chile and Kenya. This program is a great option for those who enjoy the world-class faculty UC Berkeley provides but yearn for international exposure. Classes offered include the Politics of Development in Chile and Irish Theater: Origins and the Contemporary Scene.

In addition, Global Internships allows students to receive academic credit while gaining work experience. These internships encompass almost every discipline and are offered at cities spanning the world from Dublin to Mumbai, though only during the summer.

UC Berkeley is one of 10 members under the International Alliance of Research Universities, which gives UC Berkeley students opportunities to have unique study abroad experiences. One of the programs, the Global Summer Program, allows students to study at any member universities under the IARU. UC Berkeley students have the opportunity to enroll in this summer program and take classes at any of the nine other institutions, which include the University of Cambridge, Peking University, the National University of Singapore, Australian National University, ETH Zurich, University of Copenhagen, University of Oxford, University of Tokyo and Yale University. There is a wide range of classes offered, from Nanoscience at the University of Tokyo to Sustainable Agriculture and the World Food System at ETH Zurich. Students take these classes alongside students from the other IARU member universities, providing them with a truly global learning environment.

In addition to the GSP, the IARU also conducts a Global Internship Program. Like the GSP, this program gives students the chance to study at any of the IARU’s member universities. But the GIP differentiates itself from most other study abroad programs by allowing students to partake in unique opportunities in research and receive experience in the work field of their choice. In 2013, GIP internship programs included conducting biomedical research at Yale and working with the department of chemistry at the National University of Singapore.

Outside of UC Berkeley-recognized study abroad options, students can also pursue private study abroad programs offered by external organizations. Notable organizations that arrange study abroad programs for students include Semester at Sea, International Studies Abroad, Global Semesters, Center for Study Abroad and Forum-Nexus. Studying abroad through these institutions allows students access to a wider range of locations and universities to choose from. But the arrangement of these kinds of programs can be more cumbersome, and there can be restrictions on transferring credits to UC Berkeley and receiving financial aid.

Contact Kapil Kashyap at 


SEPTEMBER 26, 2014