Student Stories

Student Stories

Click the profiles below to read each student's experience studying abroad!

  • Jordan Crowley
  • jordan-crowley

    My study abroad experience has been pretty unique. If you're reading this and you're on the edge of deciding whether or not to study abroad, please just go for it! My first study abroad was in Thailand in 2017 doing the microbiology lab in Bangkok with Glenn Young. It was my first time really being out of my comfort zone, and in a place as adventurous as Bangkok. I was a wee baby freshman, so it's really possible to study abroad whenever you want to if you plan it right. I had never been anywhere as different from the US as Bangkok before, so seeing the huge bustling city with so much traffic, nightlife, and energy was unreal. We studied at Assumption University in eastern Bangkok near(ish) Suvarnabhumi airport. Our classes and labs were very small, and we got a lot of hands on experience in such unique environments that would never have been possible in other places. We got to sample city water for coliforms (surprise, there really weren't that many!), sample raw foods from a wet market for microbes, and even study various strains of E. coli. 

    It's definitely not all hard work. Glenn makes sure that you get time to experience the city and feel the culture. We were encouraged to go out to night markets, sample new foods, and explore in our free time. We also had a break from studying to go to a beach resort for some iNcReDibLe views and photo-ops. I met so many amazing people, whether that be from the US, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Vietnam, or literally any other place in the world. Bangkok is the most visited city in the world, and it really shows. So much opportunity there, don't sit on it. 

    This was the program that really made me never want to stay in America for longer than a year at a time. It just made me want to travel non-stop. Since then, I've studied abroad in Cyprus, China, and Nepal in various fields. 

    You want to study abroad?! Just do it!
  • Lauren Watson
  • lauren-watson 

    My name is Lauren Watson and I have been fortunate enough to study abroad on two separate programs: one in Oxford, England, and one multi-country trip that took me to Milan, Italy, Locarno, Switzerland, and Cannes, France. For the Oxford program, I was studying British fantasy literature, including world-renowned favorites like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. These courses helped me complete part of my English minor. Seeing all of the amazing historical sites and awe-striking museums in England gave me newfound appreciation for the books and the genre that I was studying. The greatest gift I gained while abroad was lifelong memories and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that I never imagined I would have. I had never traveled before this, so my time spent in Oxford was a deeply enriching experience that made me fall in love with travelling and studying abroad.

    My second program was a film genres course that contributed to my Italian major. Part of the program was devoted to the Locarno International Film Festival where I saw the world premieres of films that would later become Oscar nominees, saw a fair share of famous celebrities (like Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Hilary Swank), and fell in love with new places, like the Côte d’Azur of France. I began the program with no formal education about the film industry and I ended it as a true critic and film analytic. I am eternally grateful to all of the people who helped me along my study abroad journey, and because of my experiences abroad, my dreams and goals for my future are bigger than ever.

  • Sandra McAteer
  • sandra-mcateer

    Hey CBS Students, my name is Sandra McAteer and I am fourth-year Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior major. I studied abroad in Summer 2019 when I went on a 5 week global health internship in Accra, Ghana through UC Davis Global Affairs. I preferred to take my major classes on campus even though there are so many options for taking them abroad now, but I still wanted to get an international experience to help me explore my interests. I was able to find a program that aligned with my interests in Pediatrics andReproductive Health and through it I was able to confirm that I wanted to work in global health research and project development. Having an itinerary and coordinators to help you with everything, it was everything and more than I hoped it would be.

    If you have the opportunity to study abroad as a CBS student, you absolutely should. Whether you want to get some lover division classes out of the way, want to pursue a minor in another country, or want to explore your career interests like me, there is never a wrong place to go. Make connections you otherwise would never make and find a program that works for you.

  • Elizabeth (Beth) Moore
  • beth-moore-1

    When I signed up as a freshman to spend a summer in Ireland with the BIS 2A study abroad program, I had never traveled independently, I knew no one else on the trip, and I was moderately terrified. It ended up being one of the greatest experiences of my four years in University. The other students I met on that trip quickly became some of my best friends, and despite it being almost three years ago now, we still keep in touch. The material that we covered in that introductory biology course set the stage for all of my upper division coursework in a way that a 500+ person lecture hall never could have. I made connections and even friendships with the professors I went with, and even got a position in our Davis professor's research lab once we got back to the US. Ireland was breathtaking in so many unique ways. You could look out the window from the gym and see an ancient stone castle on a hill-top, cathedrals were on every street corner with just as many doughnut shops and pubs in between. The people there were some of the kindest I had ever met, and every conversation with a stranger was an opportunity to learn more about a different culture. The memories that we made there, from sprinting down the stone steps at the Cliffs of Moher to catch our professors hat before it was blown off the edge, to late night conversations with the study abroad students from Spain in the study lounge, will stay with me forever. College teaches us all independence in its own way, but traveling takes that to an entirely new level.

  • Shelby Bacus
  • shelby-bacus 

    "Identified as the happiest country on earth, Bhutan is a place unlike any other. Tobacco products are illegal, homelessness is unheard of, gross national happiness (GHP) is more valued than gross national product (GNP), and the entire country is carbon neutral. While tourism within the country is quite limited, UC-Davis has developed a partnership with Royal Thimphu College, situated in Bhutan’s capital city, to offer one of the most unique study abroad opportunities in the world. I along, with 18 other undergraduates, traveled to Bhutan in August of 2018 to partake in UC Davis' first study abroad program within this unparalleled country. All 19 of us participated in the class Intro to Geographic Information System (GIS), in addition to taking Dzongkha (the official language of Bhutan) lessons and journeying throughout the marvelous Bhutan countryside. I graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Marine and Coastal Science in 2018 and I am currently in graduate school at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks pursuing a PhD in Marine Biology. I continue to use the GIS skills I learned in Bhutan in my current graduate research, as well as the life skills I learned while being immersed in Bhutanese culture. I am where I am today because of the time I spent in Bhutan. Tashi delek!" 

  • Emmy Delany
  • emmy-delany

    Study Abroad has been one of the best parts of my university experience. I was fortunate enough to study abroad twice, both to fulfill major and GE requirements. My first program was Biochemistry in Japan (BIS 102) with Professor Morand during summer. I decided on the program because I thought it would be a good way to get ahead while still enjoying my summer. The class was rigorous, but since we only had one subject to focus on, we were still able to enjoy learning about and experiencing Japanese culture. I learned so much about being an independent woman traveler on that trip and I had a memorable experience every day. I particularly loved going to temples and monasteries; Kyoto alone has over fifteen UNESCO World Heritage sites. I also enjoyed exploring Honshu by train, eating too much tuna sashimi, and downing liters of Pocari Sweat™ to combat the heat and humidity of Japan in July. I thoroughly loved my time in Japan and can’t wait to go back someday.

    Since I loved my first experience so much, I decided to study abroad again the summer after. I was originally enrolled in a course based on Norse Mythology, but switched to Celtic Connections with Professor McElroy when my original program was canceled. Regardless of the last-minute switch up, I got to spend a wonderful month in Europe learning about Celtic Literature and exploring sites linked to my heritage. As a STEM major, it was an interesting way for me to fulfil upper division writing requirements and get to know my fellow peers across many disciplines, not just biology. Additionally, the multi-country aspect of the program provided the opportunity to learn about history I never learned in school before, practice my French speaking skills, and eat (perhaps too much) delicious food. Both study abroad experiences were wonderful, and although cliché, life-changing. Not only were they fun and educational, but they helped me to graduate early, with way more life experience than I had four years ago.

  • Nina Nelson
  • nina-nelson

    I spent a semester attending Maastricht University in Maastricht, The Netherlands. The city itself is beautiful, charming, and very student friendly. I lived in the international student housing facility, where I shared a kitchen, common area, and bathrooms with other students from many different countries. I made a ton of friends there, and I am still in touch with quite a few of them! We had a great time exploring the city, taking weekend trips, and helping each other study. Because of Maastricht's location at the very southern tip of the country, the borders with Belgium and Germany were almost close enough to bike to! The Netherlands also has a great public transportation system, so trips to places like Amsterdam and the famous tulip fields were easy and frequent.

    The "study" part of studying abroad was actually one of the most rewarding aspects of my semester. I took upper division biology courses for my major, and because of UM's small class sizes, I was able to get individual guidance from my professors, many of whom were faculty at the university research hospital and medical school. They helped me get a better grasp on what my goals are for my career in science, and gave me a European perspective on public health, research, and medicine. My classmates were from all kinds of backgrounds and nationalities, so I was able to practice collaborating with others despite language or cultural differences.

    My time in Maastricht was something that I will never forget. I had countless new experiences and opportunities that I never would have had access to if I hadn't studied abroad. If you are able, I highly recommend it!

  • Hayleigh Shaw
  • hayleigh-shaw

    Studying physics at the University of Glasgow was the perfect fit for me. I wasn't excited to have to take physics for my degree, so an accelerated program really helped me complete that requirement in as little time as possible. I am also an amateur family historian; my research has found many Scottish connections and I was excited to see where some of my family came from. There's also a lot of film tourism in Scotland so definitely consider U of G for your UCEAP Summer Physics program if you're a Harry Potter or Outlander fan!

    My favorite days in class where tutorial days. We completed about 6 complicated problems the night prior and in our groups worked through them with one student at the board while everyone else would walk them through the problem. These problems were usually more difficult than the ones presented on the exams, so I felt confident going into them.

    Outside of class, we were assigned two weekend excursions. I had the opportunity to go to Glenfinnan, where a monument stands commemorating the beginning of the Jacobite Rebellion. Across the street from the monument and the loch, is the Glenfinnan Viaduct, the same bridge that the Hogwarts Express is known to cross! On other weekends we had time to travel on our own. I took this opportunity to see places like Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle; I even took a cruise across Loch Ness to the ruins of Urquhart Castle! The best part of my study abroad experience came after my final. I had five weeks before fall quarter started at UCD so I took advantage of cheap European airfare to visit my cousin in Greece, solo travel to Salzburg and Munich, meet up with my boyfriend in Rome, then go to Prague and Paris where he proposed to me! If you have the opportunity to study abroad, absolutely go for it! The UCEAP accelerated programs are wonderful for knocking courses out and giving you the free time to really explore where you are.
  • Kenzie Pollard
  • kenzie-pollard

    In the summer of 2018, I traveled abroad to a few countries in Europe for BIS 101. We started in Vienna, then went to Cambridge and Stockholm. During our trip, we visited some important places related to discoveries in the field of genetics such as the Mendel Museum in Brno, the college attended by Watson and Crick in Cambridge, and the Nobel Prize Museum in Stockholm. The class itself was unique as it was a small group of students, so there was more individualized attention from the teachers and TAs. I learned a lot more from this class compared to other courses I have taken on campus, as I was able to focus on the material without outside commitments. Outside of academics, some of my favorite memories from the trip included: taking a tour of the Cambridge campus and going to the museums for free, kayaking in the Baltic Sea, walking around Vienna and going to the night market there, and learning how to handle several different currencies. I made a few amazing friends while I was abroad, and it was a new sense of freedom to travel alone before and after the trip. I highly recommend studying abroad, as it opens a literal world of possibilities and provides an easy way to see the world without having to handle a good majority of travel logistics by yourself.