{ In Response to: Culture Shock Confessions (SlugLife | March 9th, 2010) }

Rosie Spinks’ “Culture Shock Confessions” (published March 9) provides valuable insights for all students considering education abroad.

Becoming a member of another university, culture, and society is an exciting, and many say life-changing, opportunity. More than touring a great city or cruising to port, UC Education Abroad Program participants are learning to independently negotiate new experiences and different cultures that will allow them to meaningfully contribute to a global society.

To assist students as they move through various stages of cultural adjustment, our local staff members introduce and orient EAP students to local daily life, academic and institutional norms, and help them prepare to keep themselves safe and healthy while exploring their new environment. As Rosie aptly puts it, “the ‘real’ education you aren’t receiving” on campus will likely require street-smarts and the ability to cope successfully with and take advantage of the differences between life on a UC campus and life abroad.

We’re pleased that the vast majority of the 4,500 students who participate each year on an EAP program enjoy what they often call a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They are making an investment that will reward them not only academically but beyond the classrooms in their personal and professional life. I encourage all your readers to consider the benefits of the kinds of immersive experiences Rosie describes, and to meet with their campus EAP representatives to explore the over 200 programs throughout the world offered by EAP.

Michael Cowan
Executive Director
University of California Education Abroad Program


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