Building on its remarkable growth, the UC Santa Barbara Education Abroad Program (EAP) has received a $150,780 grant from the Freeman Foundation to fund up to 36 student internships in Asia during the 2017-18 academic year. The grant follows a nearly 75 percent increase in overall enrollments in EAP’s Asian programs over the past five years — with 25 percent increase in 2016-17 alone. UCSB is ranked No. 4 in the nation for number of students studying abroad for a full year.
Juan E. Campo, EAP’s campus director at UCSB, credited the surge in enrollments to “a growing interest in incorporating internships into their study abroad experience and desire for non-traditional study abroad destinations.” Since 2013, 96 Gauchos have received Freeman Foundation grants for EAP programs in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.
The grants are for $3,000 and $5,000, Campo said, depending on the number of number of internship hours and program requirements. “They are basically honoraria that reduce overall program expenses and defray costs of internship logistics,” he explained. “To receive the honoraria, students are required to do a research project related to their internship. All internships carry UC credits, too. Honoraria do not replace other sources of financial aid, so it is a win-win situation for the students.”
Campo, who is also an associate professor of religious studies at UCSB, said the benefits of the EAP flow in two directions. While students gain personally and academically to being immersed in different cultures, they also contribute in many ways during their stays.
“Many of our students want to engage with the people and cultures of the host countries,” he noted. “Many do volunteer work; internships require more intensive forms of engagement. Some of the Freeman grantees do work at public health clinics, schools for immigrant and indigent children, welfare agencies for women in the sex trade. Others contribute to helping businesses with their internet sites and marketing. Still others engage in English-language journalism and information media. We find it extremely rewarding to see what our students are doing and to know our role in helping them to achieve their life and career goals.”
Looking ahead, Campo said he would like to campus-wide growth in EAP continue its impressive rise. About 20 percent of undergraduates participate; Campo hopes to increase it to 30 percent in the next five years. “We want to make it a foundation for undergraduate education at UCSB; no student should graduate without at least having had a chance to give study abroad serious consideration.”