50 Faces and Places

In celebration of EAP's 50th Anniversary, the UCSB EAP Office will feature one person each week who has made a positive impact on our students' lives during their EAP participation. These people could be EAP Faculty Directors, EAP Study Center Staff, faculty, instructors, homestay families, volunteer coordinators, etc. Our thanks are not limited to just the people listed below as we know that there are many people abroad who play a critical role in helping our students.

The people below were nominated by our EAP students.

December 11, 2012

Peggy Kidney
Academic Affairs Coordinator, Università di Bologna - Bologna, Italy

“Peggy Kidney stands out in my mind as one person who truly supports her students as they grow and explore their passions through study abroad.  She challenged me when I needed a push, supported me when I faltered, and congratulated me when I reached my accomplishments.  Peggy pushed me to pursue an internship with the Human Rights Nights Film Festival, which was one of the highlights of my year abroad.  When I hit a low point and came to her for help, Peggy reminded me of all the different achievements of the year, and boosted me up to seek out more challenges.” - Shelby H.

“I would say Peggy is one of the most genuine, good-natured persons I have ever met. She was always willing to give a helping hand and truly wanted the students to succeed.  She always made sure to be personable to each student and treated each one as a separate individual rather than just a number.” - Jenna C.

Leading the UCEAP program in Bologna, Italy as an academic coordinator, Peggy Kidney works individually with international students in selecting appropriate courses, as well as advising and providing resources on internship selection. Peggy heavily emphasizes the importance of interning while abroad, and is truly passionate about finding a place that is satisfying and accommodating for each student’s needs and goals.

“The internship opportunities allow students to ‘test the waters’ in their field of interest,” she says. “Apprentice with an artist just like in Renaissance times, shadow a surgeon at the University research hospital, work in a chemistry lab, teach English in a high school, translate articles for a literary journal…[there is] a wide variety of subjects!”

This collaboration has not only changed the lives of EAP participants, but has produced cultural additions to the university that Peggy helps facilitate. In the past, these have included self-published works by the students, the establishment of a LGBTQ Cultural Center, performances by UC dance companies, collaboration with the Wayne Thiebaud show and even the donation and exhibition of artwork that now remains in the permanent collection of the Morandi Museum.

Beyond ensuring a fulfilling academic experience, Peggy also encourages the students to immerse themselves in the culture of the university by participating in extracurricular activities and to embrace Italian history by exploring the hidden nooks within the city. Tracing its origins back to the Romans and Etruscans, Bologna boasts a vivid window into the past where crumbling walls, ruins and porticos highlight the beauty of an ancient city.

Like many of the citizens of Bologna, Peggy enjoys passing afternoons at a family trattoria, conversing over some of the best fresh food in Italy -- specifically tortellini, tagliatelle and mortadella (the original baloney/bologna). In her free time, she frequently visits Sala Borsa, the library of Piazza Maggiore near Neptune’s statue, where she occasionally grabs a caffè and observes the activity of the streets. When work allows, she goes to the Archiginnasio library, where students are urged to see a 1607 coat of arms commissioned by Diego de Leon Garavito, one of the first students in Bologna from the New World!

Peggy remains in contact with past EAP students, and even continues to collaborate with those who have returned to Italy to work or intern. Her daughter is currently abroad participating in the EAP program at UC Berkeley, continuing a family tradition of international education.

“We are increasingly a globalized society and the EAP program builds knowledge and understanding, the basis for solid communication,” Peggy says. Thanks to her dedication in immersing her students in the many facets of Italian university life, she has created an international dialogue that continues to this day.

December 6, 2012

Rose Jones Walls
Resident Director, UC Ghana Study Center - Accra, Ghana, West Africa

“Dr. Rose, or Auntie Rose as we call her, has been a pivotal part of my study abroad experience because she has been there as a teacher, friend, mentor, and so much more. She has an amazing sense of humor and knows how to make you feel at home in a place so foreign and far away. Rose and the rest of the Ghana staff don’t just want students to have a good time while abroad ­­­-- they want them to love, live, and learn, and they provide all of the resources to do that. You can really feel her love for learning and the work she puts into this program. It’s truly inspirational.” – Raquel R.

Currently in her second year as the Resident Director of the UC Ghana Study Center, Rose Walls provides students with academic instruction, support, and counseling to help them learn about Ghana and adjust to living in a new environment. She loves watching her students learn and grow in their critical thinking, cultural understanding, and overall personal development.

Rose performs a multitude of tasks that improve the experience of EAP students. Her favorites include helping students find internships and research opportunities in the Ghanaian community. Outside of the academic setting, she enthusiastically leads a class called Ghanaian Society and Culture, in which she exposes students to a dynamic mixture of exercises such as dance, drumming, and flute lessons, community service activities, roundtable discussions and art projects. Also, Rose enjoys taking students on travel adventures and witnessing them marvel at the natural beauty of Africa.

Ghana offers a remarkably unique study abroad experience. Students can learn a new language, strengthen their cultural awareness, get firsthand experience working with a global organization such as UNICEF, and have the opportunity to join indigenous efforts to help respond to growing concerns about development. Further, students will be able to witness a country in a pivotal development stage, as there is a contrasting scene between modern societies and those that seem to have been untouched for centuries. Traveling throughout Ghana is especially captivating; the nation is filled with cultural opportunities and the University of Ghana exposes students to these wonders by emphasizing the study of African history, culture, politics, religion, and science. All past students compliment the university and the country for providing an outstanding Ghanaian cultural connection and allowing them to discover new things about themselves as a result.

The University of Ghana is situated in Accra, a city of about 4.5 million people. The original home of the Ga people, one of the major ethnic groups in Ghana, Accra is a modern city with typical urban features such as the bustle of traffic, urban sprawl, and a high level of activity. The culinary scene in Accra is eclectic, offering Ghanaian, French, Spanish, Greek, Thai, and Indian cuisine. A traditional Ghanaian dish is called waayke. It is a combination of red beans and rice eaten with a spicy tomato sauce, pasta, and gari. The city’s sounds are of the “afrobeat” genre: high-life, hip-life, hip-hop, reggae, jazz, salsa, and neo-soul. Accra also exhibits key historical symbols that mark Ghana’s struggle for independence and its rise to prominence as the first African nation in sub-Saharan Africa to win independence from European colonial rule. Popular activities include exploring the luscious foliage of the Aburi Botanical Gardens, visiting the modern and ancient art at the Artist’s Alliance, and horseback riding near the ocean to watch the beautiful West African sunset. 

Overall, the city simultaneously offers a vibrant contemporary setting and the beauty of nature while keeping in touch with its historical roots.

Rose stays in close contact with quite a few of her past students. They not only ask for references and career advice, but also keep in touch to let her know how much they value and miss their experience in Ghana. Students often feel like Ghana becomes a second home where they have a second family, and many of them come back to visit – all thanks to Rose, her staff, and their outreach. 

November 27, 2012

Simona Baldacci
Italian Instructor, Language & Culture Program - UC Center Florence, Italy

"Simona was always more than willing to spend time with me after or before class, was always patient with me, and made me feel so comfortable one-on-one. Once I knuckled down, the second she noticed improvement she would acknowledge it and help me focus on my problems at hand. I really began to enjoy overcoming those challenges and going to class with Simona. I will always appreciate that experience and all of her genuine kindness."  – Brooke P.  

Working for the Intensive Language Program through the UC Center in Florence, Simona is dedicated to the development of her students’ language skills and the expansion of their cultural knowledge pertaining to both the Tuscan region of Italy and the traditions of the country as a whole. Simona expresses, “I like to consider language teachers as mediators for a foreign culture and society and I feel very happy when I see my students become a part of this city, participating in a lot of extra-curricular activities organized by our school or developing their personal interests here.”  

Simona’s passion for working with diverse groups of foreigners continues to facilitate a growing process for both her and her students, who she encourages to emerge more mature, open-minded, and independent by the end of their program.

Simona began her career teaching Italian as a second language at the UC program in Siena after winning a competitive exam upon her graduation from the University of Pescara, an eastern city by the sea where she was born and raised. Having always been attracted to Tuscany though, specifically to Florence, Simona felt it was her destiny to eventually work in the city she has always loved, and she seized the opportunity to do so in 2011 after being offered a teaching position at the newly opened UC Center.  She now boasts 10 years teaching Californians and is grateful for how much they have helped her grow as an individual and as a language instructor.

Simona goes beyond just mere language instruction and has made it a personal endeavor to immerse her students in the ancient culture that surrounds them by accommodating her syllabus to current events and local news. Florence, also known as the cradle of the Renaissance, has a rich history and culture teeming from its ancient streets. Simona particularly loves walking in the less tourist-oriented corners of the city, full of little shops, artisans, cafes and La biblioteca delle Oblate where she enjoys the view of Brunelleschi’s Cupola from the terrace.

With fond thoughts of the shadows dancing on the old buildings along the Arno River as the sun sets, and the particular scents of family trattorie restaurants, she says, “It’s impossible not [to] be conquered by this city when you try to understand its deep soul in the past and present.” Simona continues to elucidate the unique secrets that Florence offers as well as the variations of Italian customs in the country, and hopes that the students will embrace and interact with these traditions during their travels.

Simona still keeps in contact with past students via email and Facebook to stay updated on their progress and to plan reunions with them when they return to Florence. She even strives to help some find work both in Italy and abroad, years after the students return to California. Simona comments, “It’s always very touching to talk with them years after and find out how this abroad experience made the difference in their life.” Her care and compassion not only influence her students while they study in Italy, but have extended beyond their college years, creating memorable bonds lasting well into adulthood.

November 13, 2012

Rocío Navas
Senior Program Administrator, EAP Madrid – Carlos III University, Getáfe

“Rocío is such an enthusiastic person, and is always willing to help. She suggested and assisted me in different activities to do inside and outside of campus.” – Nereyda Z.
Madrid’s diversity and sheer immensity can be overwhelming for some foreign students. A sea of busy commuters continuously flows in and out of the metro stations; tourists flood el barrio del Sol to shop and snap photos while the Spaniards take their siesta; the techno beats of the bars and discotecas fill the night air as the young and young at heart dance the night away. Not to mention the numerous museums, theatres, parks, and bullfighting rings that the capital boasts, making this city a cultural and historical center. 
The dedication of advisors at the study center, including Rocío Navas, the program administrator for EAP Madrid at Carlos III, makes transitioning into a new culture seem almost effortless. 
Rocío was first inspired to work with foreign students as a teenager while her parents hosted US exchange students during her high school years. She would frequently visit her American friends which later influenced her to pursue a career teaching English as a second language in Spain. Rocío warmly commented that “the English language, different cultures and travelling soon became my priorities and have guided my professional life.” This later encouraged her to change from teaching to working in administration. Wanting to further consolidate her English-language skills while still being surrounded by a diverse array of students, Rocío eventually came to work for the Hispanic Studies program in Madrid after being employed by EAP in Cordoba and Cadiz for 3 years. She now boasts 11 years of work dedicated to academically and culturally advising American students and creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Though not a native of Madrid herself, Rocío embraces the cultural diversity of the city and embodies the image of a true Madrileña in her poise, generosity and affable demeanor. Like many Madrileñas, Rocío can be found frequently walking her dog around Retiro Park, sharing tapas with friends at La Latina, visiting the museums and smaller galleries, enjoying the sweet sugar of fresh churros and warm chocolate at San Ginés, visiting the Arabic baths, and even attending the occasional musical at the Gran Via Theater – activities that she promotes to all curious students new to the city. 
Though immensely passionate about Madrid, Rocío is even more passionate about the students she works with. She does all she can to ensure a smooth transition to their new life and successful immersion into the culture, while maintaining a high standard for academics and language acquisition.  Her counsel and devotion truly brings the Madrid program to life, with her endless resources of cultural activities, trips, and academic/emotional support, which make her a true asset to any student abroad seeking guidance or refuge. 
As a native of Andalusia, Rocío most enjoys planning a weekend trip every semester with her students to the southern cities of Granada and Córdoba to explore the historical depths of Spanish culture. The trip includes visits to La Mezquita of Córdoba, La Alhambra and Generalife Gardens of Granada, and a flamenco show (Rocío’s favorite aspect of the trip), accompanied of course by several stops for tapas, wine, and getting lost in the winding alleyways. 
Many agree that this particular trip early on in the program solidified their relationship with Rocío, making her both a friend and role model during their time abroad and after their re-immersion into American life. Students still remain in contact with Rocío, especially through social media such as Facebook, seeking her welcoming encouragement and constructive advice, which she has consistently and enthusiastically provided – Spanish wisdom that transcends borders! 

October 24, 2012

Paula Ortega
Program Administrator, EAP Madrid-- Complutense University

"Paula is an amazing program coordinator. She was extremely helpful to all of us studying in Madrid. She kept us up to date on events and requirements needed for the program and encouraged us to go see her at any time.  Her door was always open and she was always ready help with anything we needed … Paula made life a lot less stressful with her positive attitude and pointers." - Bianca R.

Last year was only Paula’s first year as Program Administrator, but she serves as an incredible resource and support for the large group of UC students who choose to study in Madrid.  She holds a deep respect for those who decide to try living abroad, and enthusiastically encourages each and every one to expand his or her horizons academically, professionally, and personally.

From the beginning, Paula exudes that classic Spanish hospitality and comes across as a good friend, genuinely interested in the well-being of her students and always greeting them with a smile.  She is passionate about her goal to soften the hard edge of administrative tasks while providing insightful academic advising and a sensitivity to the difficulties of a new cultural immersion.  Her primary wish for her students is that, by the end of the program, their time abroad has made a positive impact in all aspects of their lives.  She says she loves seeing students’ eyes open and their minds expand through this experience.

Even though Paula is not originally from Madrid, she still considers herself a madrileña-- she’s lived there for 10 years and has fallen in love with exploring the city and everything it has to offer.  You might see her running errands in Moncloa or on your bus to Campus Somosaguas, but she also enjoys walking in the little-known but beautiful park El Capricho, having a hot chocolate con churros at Chocolatería San Ginés on a chilly winter morning, attending a play offered in Teatro Español, and, like any true madrileña, going out on the town for cañas and tapas.  Among her favorite attractions in Madrid are the world-famous art museums on the Paseo del Prado, the Caixa Forum and the social center La Tabacalera.

Centrally-located Madrid is such an exciting and diverse city which is bound to offer something special to any adventurous traveler.  It is divided into barrios, or neighborhoods-- each with a different feel and a unique set of shops, restaurants, monuments, and inhabitants.  It also is reflective of a mixture of its historical Iberian, Roman, Moorish, Jewish and Catholic influences, as visible through various styles of architecture and one of the greatest art collections in the world.  Madrid also boasts the highest number of trees per capita in Spain and the most bars per capita in all of Europe.  It is truly difficult to run out of things to do in this vibrant place!

Paula is still in regular contact with many of her students and she doesn’t hesitate to offer her advice and support when needed, even after they’ve left Madrid.  Paula’s infectious enthusiasm and sympathetic approach to her job make her an excellent asset to all who choose to study at Complutense.

Week 21: July 5, 2012

Frank Joyce
Director & Instructor- EAP Costa Rica: Tropical Biology & Conservation, Monteverde Institute

"Dr. Frank Joyce is a huge reason why I love the Tropical Biology and Conservation program in Costa Rica so much. With over 30 students at one time representing almost all of the UCs, Frank always has his hands full in making sure that we all come together and have the time of our lives. He takes a lot of time making sure that the students feel comfortable in a new environment and he serves as the bridge between the students and the Costa Rican locals (who know him very well and respect him). He really cares for his students and wants all of the students to get the most out of the program and nature in general. Through him, I was able to meet a few researchers who are big names in ecology and he really pushed me to be inquisitive and to be the best that I could be. Frank is the best!" - Jamie M.

As the resident director and one of the instructors for the Costa Rica program, Frank Joyce ensures that students learn as much as they wish while participating in the program and ensures their health and happiness.  His goal is that the expectations of every student are exceeded by their actual experience.  Frank especially enjoys participating in, and observing the tremendous intellectual and personal growth that students make while there.  They learn about biology, conservation, humans interacting with their environment and each other, and they also learn about themselves.

Frank spends a great deal of time with students in this program.  During the first 2 weeks of the program, he camps in national parks and other wild areas with his students.  As a consequence, they share many experiences in wild places at all hours of the day.  In October 1992, he started a 4 hour hike after dinner, witnessed an arribada (mast nesting) of 6,000 Olive Ridley sea turtles at midnight and returned in time for breakfast at their camp -- everyone remembers this adventure with great fondness.  In Monteverde, students live and study at the Estación Biologíca.  They also spend 6 days in the heart of the Monteverde protected area, the Peñas Blancas Valley.  They are immersed in, and surrounded by tropical nature and rely on each other in this remote area because they are are out of contact with most of the outside world.   

Why should students study in Costa Rica? First, Monteverde combines a rare mix of nature and people.  Particularly outstanding here are birds and plants.  They are diverse, dense and easy to observe and appreciate.  Second, Monteverde is small enough such that, in a relatively brief period, students can gain a solid understanding of the key interactions there.  Third, students interested in ecology, evolution, general biology, agroecology and conservation will find many things that pique their curiosity.  Moreover, students will have the opportunity to do a research project that addresses a question that interests them.  They will get a lot of help and guidance, and they may provide information that fills some particular need.  Students will undoubtedly learn much about doing research and will get great satisfaction from completing their own project.   

Monteverde is a growing town.  What once was the original Quaker village is now populated by about 400 people.  The nearby towns of Cerro Plano, Santa Elena and the surrounding zone are populated by around 6,000 people.  Most residents are Costa Ricans and there are many people from North America, especially the United States.  At one point in the recent past, there were people from 22 countries living here.  Historically, Monteverde is important because it exemplifies a place where conservation efforts have succeeded in preserving or restoring large expanses of forest while allowing local folks to prosper.  From its original dependence on dairy farming, Monteverde now offers high-quality ecotourism, many educational programs, sustainable, local agriculture, crafts and more.  The blend of Costa Rican culture with Quakerism has highlighted and made real the importance of treating other humans kindly and taking care of nature.   

Monteverde is a rural place.  For many years, the area was a mix of dairy farms juxtaposed to primary tropical forest. Frank enjoys going on a long hike, exploring a new area of forest and returning home along the main road where he encounters people whom he knows.  As for food, he particularly enjoys  one of the basic, main dishes in Costa Rica called casado which includes rice, beans, fried plantains, an assortment of green vegetables, a salad and a piece of chicken, pork, beef or fish.  Add to this some locally produced Monteverde cheese, Monteverde ice-cream and local coffee and you have a delicious, hearty meal.

Frank keeps in touch with many past students.  Some write to him to request letters of recommendation or to send news about their lives and he too writes to them to request information because they might have knowledge or expertise about some particular topic.  In some cases, he contacts past students to connect them with other students because they might share a mission or provide valuable opportunities.  Frank greatly enjoys and values staying in touch with past students.  Thanks for all that you do for the EAP students!


Week 20: May 22, 2012

Inma Manrique
EAP Study Center - Granada, Spain

"I went to the hospital during my study abroad to have my appendix taken out. Inma made sure that she was there for me before and after the surgery. She stayed with me for the first night and was constantly reassuring me that everything was going to be fine. After she had to get back to the office she called most every day to make sure that everything was going well with the recovery. It was great to know that I had nothing to worry about other than recuperating while in the hospital because Inma was there making things run smoothly for me." - Emily M.

"Inma was the person we went to with all of our questions. She did a very good job of easing us into a completely spanish life. From finding housing to applying to classes, she was always available to help me through it." - Courtney L.
As the UC Granada Study Center Coordinator, Inma Manrique has worked with EAP students for the past 19 years. Upon the students’ arrival in Granada, Inma involves herself in every aspect of their stay –from providing academic, cultural and housing resources to helping them out with course selection and supporting them when medical assistance is needed.  When students are able to speak Spanish with the Andalusian accent, Imma knows their year abroad has been a success.

Granada is located in southeastern Spain, at the foot of Sierra Nevada, the highest mountain range of the Iberian Peninsula. With more than a thousand years of recorded history, it enjoys one of Spain's most important cultural and architectural patrimonies. Granada is the city of Poet Garcia-Lorca, a city "open all year round". Among the most well-known cultural events are The Music and Dance International Festival, the Jazz Festival, the Magic Festival Hocus Pocus, the Tango Festival, among many others. Founded in 1531, The University of Granada was the first European university to recruit Erasmus (international exchange) students. This tradition of international exchange, coupled with the university’s outstanding academic reputation, affords students the unique opportunity  to enroll in a variety of courses  amongst the 75 degrees that the University confers. Additionally, many leisure options and facilities like skiing in the nearby mountains and sunbathing on the beaches, make Granada especially attractive for foreign students.

As for things to do in Granada, Imma maintains there is no shortage. Some extremely popular activities include: drinking in the bars where customers enjoy free tapas, skiing on the Sierra Nevada mountains in winter and going to the beach in summer. Inma would also  recommend a visit to the Alhambra, the Moorish Albaicin, Gypsy Sacromonte and the Moorish villages of the Alpujarra.

Cuisine in Granada reveals definite Arab influences. Among the dishes of Moorish origin are lamb meatballs and lamb with pomegranate seeds. Furthermore, Granada is home of the "arte del tapeo" or "tapas art". With your drink you will receive a free piece of its cuisine. Desserts confected by nuns star among sweets from Granada. From Santa Fe, students can enjoy the piononos, delicate cream-filled cakes soaked in light syrup. Students can also find an ample supply of fresh garden vegetables. Stews are a good example of popular cuisine. Typical dishes on the coast are fritura de pescado (fish fry), cazuela de pescado frito (fried fish casserole) and the spit of sardines.

Inma still keeps in touch with many of her students, many of which invite her  to their graduations, weddings or send photos of their children. Some of her former students return to Granada as assistant teachers in secondary schools and always find time to stop by the office and chat.


Week 19: May 15, 2012

Francisco Lomeli
Director, EAP Study Center, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile

" I came to Chile knowing no one, barely knowing the language and with a full year to figure it and myself out. Being away from every family member and friend you have for an entire year has its share of trials and through each and every one of them Francisco was the rock I needed to carry on! Anything from long-distance boyfriend problems to losing my wallet and passport in Peru--- Francisco comforted me, listened to me, gave me actual stern and useful advice and always with a beverage and box of tissues to offer. I am so thankful for having such a kind and personable person leading the program!" - Rebecca P.  

Francisco Lomeli is the Director of the EAP Study Center at the Pontifical Universidad Católica de Chile. As Director, he oversees the general operations of the Study Center and its staff, plus he deals with students in all aspects of their stay.  He focuses on developing students from California into citizens of the world, particularly with tremendous knowledge about Chile and Latin America.  

The Pontifical Universidad Católica de Chile is located in Santiago, and as the capital, it is a thriving cultural cornerstone in Latin America.  It is a very safe, efficient city with lots to see about its past and its present; the climate is generally excellent with lots of sunshine almost all year long.  Santiago is very international, quite European with considerable Latin American flavor of mixed cultures.  It is a well organized city that can be crisscrossed in a matter of a little over one hour through its excellent 

subway system that transports about 2,000,000 per day!  Plus, surrounding the city are wonderful networks of rural sectors and vineyards.  

Most of all, Francisco enjoys visiting some of the historical sights throughout the city.  The San Francisco Church downtown has fortress-like walls of at least 6 feet wide and is the oldest surviving building in the city, having been started by the country’s founding father Pedro de Valdivia in l54l. Plus, the church houses the best collection of Franciscan canvas art (some l5 feet by 8 feet) in all of Chile and South America.  He also enjoys exploring the streets, as there are exciting new restaurants and cafes to discover.  When Francisco thinks of Chilean food, he immediately thinks of empanadas, particularly shrimp.  The seafood in Santiago is king and almost all dishes are served with a hefty portion of guacamole.

Francisco loves to keep in touch with the students who come through his program.  He often gets to know them as complete individuals: their personality, their ideas, and their ways of looking at the world.  To this day, he remains in contact with a couple of students from his last stint as Director in Costa Rica in l994 and l995.


Week 18: May 7, 2012

Carole Viers-Andronico

Academic Coordinator/French Language Instructor, EAP France-Paris

"So sweet and helpful, always in a good mood and cares about her students." - Andrea E.  

Carole's first contact with UC EAP Paris students was in 2006, when she worked with the program as a graduate student intern while performing research for the completion of her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at UCLA.

A series of fortunate events brought her back to Paris a little over a year ago, and since then she has had the pleasure of working with UCEAP Paris students in the role of Academic Coordinator, French language instructor, and literature course instructor. Whether she's orienting students to the academic matters on the program, leading them on an excursion to discover any one of myriad repositories of art, architecture and history of Paris and its environs, or in the classroom discussing the complexities of contemporary French literature or assisting students communicate in the beautiful language of this country, she is delighted in sharing her love of Paris, the French language and culture with students and in awakening in them the same sort of voracity for knowledge that they often exhibit for ""pâtisseries"". Indeed, what she enjoys most about interacting with EAP students is their voracious desire to consume French culture while mastering the language and acquiring knowledge of a foreign culture and of themselves.

She thinks students who come to Paris not only lead interesting lives but also learn a great deal about themselves, about their host culture and about their home culture. Studying abroad is always a life changing experience, and studying abroad in Paris involves a magical evolution of ideas and identities. Students discover new versions of themselves in the city of light, and each one of them carries that light and difference back home. She believes students find their experience in Paris life-changing because of the city's character. It is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world and that diversity is reflected in daily Parisian life. For example, students discover rather quickly that ethnic cuisines are as common in most neighborhoods as traditional French cuisine. They can buy a croissant for breakfast fresh-baked from their local boulangerie, eat at a place in the historic Jewish district which boasts the best falafel in the world (and they may well be right), and enjoy noodles and nem for dinner. Its rich and diverse cultural history also may be sampled in the hundreds of museums the city boasts.

When Carole is not at the Paris Opera, she enjoys visiting Paris museums and the walks it takes to get to them. She often visits the Louvre and the banks of the Seine on the way across the river to the Musee D'Orsay, or the Centre Pompidou and the narrow cobblestoned streets of the Marais. She adores fine dining, and the French are experts at designing dishes that are as complicated and intricate to construct (and sometimes to eat) as artistic masterpieces are to deconstruct and comprehend. She still keeps in touch with students from her time as a graduate student intern and with students who were on programs this past year. It is always a pleasure for her to hear where they are in their journeys or to schedule a time for a coffee when they make their way back to Paris, which many of them do.

Week 17: May 1, 2012

Batsirai Chidzodzo
Resident Director, EAP Botswana

"Batsi was an amazing help and support while abroad. He really cares for the students under his supervision and genuinely desires for them to have an amazing cross-cultural experience. He goes out of his way to ensure that students are getting the most out of their study abroad and love it too." - Amanda T.

Batsirai Chidzodzo is the Gaborone, Botswana Resident Director. Everyday Batsirai works with each student, helping them to understand themselves and explore ways to develop their intercultural skills, in the hopes of bridging cultural differences. Seeing his students become part of a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world is a highlight of his job.

Botswana is a fascinating place that offers students unique opportunities to learn about traditional African culture and societies. As a rapidly modernizing country, Botswana presents students with the chace to learn about the ""clash"" between modernity and tradition.  A politically and socially stable country, Botswana is located in the heart of southern Africa, which enables students to learn about the regional development issues spearheaded by Botswana as the headquartersof the Southern African Development Community, a body akin to the EU.

Gaborone was selected as the capitol city of Botswana in 1966, after the country’s independence. It is the largest city in the country with an estimated 250,000 residents. Located in close proximity to Johannesburg, South Africa numerous means of easy travel, technological advancement, and commercial trade are at the students’ fingertips.  Today, Gaborone is packed with office towers, shopping malls, fast-food restaurants and other western amenities. Given the the diverse nature of Botswana it goes without saying that Gaborone is a cosmopolitan city with a variety of people, foods and lifestyles.

People watching while having a cup of coffee at the Riverwalk Shopping Mall figures high on Batsirai’s to do list in Gaborone. Though ostensibly this mall could be anywhere in the world, after really watching the people and digging a little deeper beyond the surface of things, one will begin to see, understand and appreciate the Setswana cultural influences. Batsirai recommends students try have Seswaa (pounded or shredded beef) and the Mophane "worms" normally served with some thick porridge made from corn-meal. The mophane worms are a delicacy!

Batsirai keeps in touch with many former EAP students via emails, exchanging updates about their lives and how they are keeping in touch with friends made during their time in Botswana. He has also written numerous letters of recommendation for them. Hearing from my students once they have left gone is the greatest pleasure of his job.


Week 16: April 23, 2012

Marcella Delitala
Italian Language Instructor, EAP Italy - UC Florence

"She is genuinely passionate about teaching, and her class is one of the main things that I miss about Italy. She was always able to help us outside of class, and I know that most of the students consider her extended family in Italy." - Megan S.

Marcella Delitala is an Italian language and culture teacher at UC Florence. Teaching her students to enjoy cultural differences is one of her main jobs, which she sees as essential to becoming a true citizen of the world. Because she spends so much time with her students –every single morning for fifteen weeks- Marcella gets to know her students very well. She always tries to be creative and engaging to facilitate language learning, whether this means waking up with some Italian music or running around Florence to see the cultural sights.

Besides being located inside a beautiful palace, the strongest attribute of the Florence study center is the warmth and sympathy of the staff. The staff is a well-matched group of people who really love their jobs and love being caring and helpful to the students. The center organizes movie-nights, visits around the city and Italy, day trips to its countless museums, chances to see soccer games, and all sort of activities to help students dive into the Italian culture and identity.

Florence is also a very manageable city in terms of size, with lots of pedestrian zones and people biking around. Because Tuscany is the center of Italy, Florence is the ideal start for a variety of trips around the famous Tuscan countryside. Marcela loves walking and riding her bike along the Lungarnos (along the river Arno). Her students shouldn’t miss Il Giardino Bardini, a beautiful botanic garden in a villa, full of flowers and from which students can enjoy the most beautiful panorama of the city ever.

Firenze has many culinary specialties. Luckily the school is located in the center of a lovely neighborhood full of simple food- grocery stores, bars, osteria, paninoteca, and a little open market with fresh produce. Marcela says the best food you will eat in Italy are the dishes she cooks with her students during the in-class cooking day: Pappa col pomodoro, involtini di pollo con spinaci e cantucci (tomato soup and stuffed chicken breasts with spinach and almond pastry).  

Class visit to the library

Marcella keeps in touch with many of her students. First to make sure they got home safely and then to know how the last years of school are going. It's always a pleasure for her to have new friends around to world to say SCRIVIMI to!

Class visit to the library -->

Week 15: April 16, 2012

Sharon Okantey
Program Administrator, EAP UC Ghana Study Center

"Sharon facilitates every aspect of the EAP program in Ghana. She's extremely reliable and a great liason for the students, which isn't easy in a place like Ghana." - Kevin M.

Sharon Okantey has worked as  the Programs administrator at the UC Study Center in Accra, Ghana for nine years. She encourages students to take advantage of the unique opportunities available  in Ghana. With a stable and thriving democracy, Ghana is a model developing country. Despite peculiar challenges, its people are very happy and sociable. There are many opportunities to learn not only in the classroom, but throughout the experience.   

Accra is the capitol and largest city in Ghana with about 4 million people living in the metropolitan area. The city is bordered on the south by the Atlantic Ocean. Along the coast are many fishing communities and old forts and castles built during the European colonial period. Accra has several major tourist attractions including the museums, art galleries, theaters, beaches, shopping districts, and the National Sports Stadium. It is also a major transportation hub, home to the Kotoka International Airport and with railway and road transport links throughout the country. 
The most common form of transportation in Accra is the trotro - small buses and vans. They are the most efficient and cost-effective way of getting around the city.  Being a large metropolitan area, there are many tourists and people who come from many other countries to live and work in Accra which makes for a highly cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Sharon’s favorite place in Accra is the beach, where she goes to relax and to enjoy the sights and sounds. Often, there are live music shows at night. She also recommends a visit to Oxford Street in Osu. This is a major shopping district. When the national soccer team is playing, students can meet many people and enjoy the fun, lighthearted atmosphere (as long as they win). Sharon urges all her students to try Ga Kenkey and fried fish, the local food specialty. Kenkey is a starch that is made from milled corn, fermented and served in a ball that is eaten with your hands. Her favorite food is fufu and peanut butter soup with chicken. 
Made from pounded cassva and plantain, Fufu is also eaten with the hands, which is a particular experience for many students.

Hearing from former students after they have returned to the US is a welcome experience for Sharon, who always wants to know how they have settled back to normal life and particularly how the experience has impacted their lives back home. Occasionally, students come back to visit in Ghana, which gives her a chance to reconnect and reunite with these students who are always eager to relive their study abroad days.


Week 14: April 9, 2012

Geoffrey Mead
Instructor, EAP UK - University of Sussex

"Geoff was very knowledgeable, pleasant, and taught his course well. He made sure students with different level of knowledge in geography had a chance to learn about the geography of Sussex. I took two classes during my stay at University of Sussex and "Sussex Landscapes" was my favorite." - Austlin F.

Geoffrey Mead has taught EAP students in Brighton and Sussex, England for over ten years. He teaches various hands-on courses that encourage students to get out and participate in the local environment and interact with local people. This is an immeasurable opportunity for students to get out of the lecture halls and out into the beautiful meadows of Sussex or the streets of Brighton.

The university is a short bus ride into the city centre but sits on the rural fringe of the city with farm animals in the field around it. UK and Sussex in particular is well placed for Europeans visiting via ferry ports, Channel Tunnel or Gatwick airport. Sussex is only an hour on the train from London. But Brighton sits right on the Channel coast and is the party town of the UK! The city of Brighton & Hove is the UK capital of seaside resorts, with a seven mile promenade, a pier with all kinds of entertainment, countless bars and night clubs, more restaurants per head than any city outside London, and the largest arts festival in England, a thriving theatre and cultural life and a very diverse and cosmopolitan population.

Everyone meets for coffee at the Royal Pavilion Gardens outside the al-fresco café, which has been run by the same family since 1941. The café only serves home-made cakes brought in by local ladies each day and serves the best cup of tea in the city (important to the English!). Geoffrey also enjoys a stroll through the adjacent area of North Laine, an old "blue collar" area of small factories and tiny old streets which has now become the BoHo Chic district of the city.

Brighton is the most "restauranted" city outside London so students there are spoiled for choice. The British seaside is famous for its seafood (not just Fish & Chips!). Additionally, there is a fishing quarter on the beach where one old fisherman—Jack Mills—has a wooden smoke shack where he smokes over oak and apple wood all kinds of seafood. He cooks and serves right on the beach, stand-up food, no tables! Though Jack wins national prizes for his seafood, he is still an old fisherman at heart.

Geoffrey often provides references for students who need to show they have studied abroad. He also submit students’ essays on the North Laine area of the city to a highly regarded community newspaper, which comes out every two months. Several students have had their essays on the area -originally written as an assignment for his class- published and he always forwards them a print copy.

Week 13: April 3, 2012

Daniela Grosso
Accent Housing Coordinator, EAP Italy - UC Florence

"Daniela welcomed us with open hands, she treated us like we were part of her family, giving us advice on where to travel to, where to eat, where to shop. She was the person we contacted with all our questions and concerns and she had all the answers." - Luis H.

As ACCENT Housing Coordinator at the UC Center Florence, Daniela Grosso interviews and selects host families and deals with any problems that students might encounter while living in Florence. Though she is new to the EAP program, Daniela loves spending time with international students and helping them get through the semester without too many “accidents.”

Florence is small compared to the other major Italian cities, with a population of around 400,000. In the past decade, Florence has become a cosmopolitan city with large North African and Eastern European populations. According to Daniela, who is a native Florentine, the Piazzale Michelangelo offers the best views of the city. However, she also recommends avoiding the more touristy central areas of the city in favor of exploring the local neighborhoods and visiting the little Sunday markets.

Daniela recommends studying in Florence to learn the Italian language and about Italy’s culture. In particular, she suggests learning about Italy’s art and cuisine. Florence is famous for its excellent meat products. The local specialty is Bistecca Fiorentina, a steak dish. However, there are more options than just meat dishes; Daniela’s favorite foods are pasta and Florentine soups.

Daniela enjoys spending time with international students during their time in Florence. While she has some trouble keeping in touch with former students because of her position, she loves to hear from them after the end of the program.


Week 12: March 26, 2012

Maria Fernandez-Vivancos Marquina
Administrative Assistant, EAP Spain - Madrid

"Maria was very helpful in looking for classes and showing students around the city." - Lara S.

Maria has been working as the supervisor’s assistant at UC Madrid for the past year. Maria has made many friends amongst her students. She especially enjoys the opportunity to interact with them by climbing and cycling.  She always finds their culture shock stories hilarious and takes comfort in being able to help them not only with academic issues, but with their daily lives. She studied in the U.S. during high school and Denmark during college and now plans on doing a master’s degree in Egypt. She stresses that no one should miss the opportunity to meet another culture and learn about one’s self in the process.

Madrid is the capital of Spain. Though the city is huge, it’s not enormous. The main area where students hang out is very accessible. Although there is a lot of cultural diversity due to immigration from South America, Eastern Europe and Africa, students will mostly interact with international students from all over Europe and different provinces of Spain. Everybody speaks Spanish in Madrid, and it is usually fairly difficult to find a Spanish person in the street that speaks fluent English. She says this is all the more reason for students to come to practice their Spanish! As the capital, Madrid is a historically significant city. A random corner can hide the most beautiful historical monument. One of her favorite places is the Madrid y Debod Temple, a park where you can see a panoramic view of the city. Having some beers with tapas is always the best activity since food in Madrid is a way to socialize. Every neighborhood has different bars with their specialties.

As for food, Maria has one response: “Mmm.” Although everybody knows paella as the signature dish of Spain, Maria says there are many other more adventurous gastronomic choices. Unfortunately, she notices that many students usually only choose Mexican restaurants and 100 montaditos (a place where you can have 100 kinds of different little sandwiches). Spain has the best and most diverse food in the world, so why not get out and explore? Over the past year, Maria has made friends with many EAP students and enjoys keeping up to date with important events in their lives.

Week 11: March 19, 2012

Christine Ebnother
Administrator, EAP Study Center Staff - Lyon, France

"Christine is amazing. She was so nice and accommodating, always ready to answer any questions we had. She ameliorated my EAP experience by making me feel safer and cared for. " - Chloe D.

"Her years of experience have given her a keen understanding of what American students go through when they adapt to living in France, as well as an invaluable ability to let us be independent and learn for ourselves. My time there was made better because of her." - Katie H.

Christine Ebnother has worked with EAP students in Lyon for the past 22 years. Considered by many to be France’s Capital of Gastronomy, Lyon offers the liveliness and vibrancy of a centrally located big city, only without any of the drawbacks. It has the feel of a student town with its numerous universities and low cost of living while retaining a rich cultural and architectural heritage which draws from the Roman era, as well as Lyon’s influence as the Silk Capital of the Renaissance. Much of the city, including the old town and hill of the Croix-Rousse, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.            

Exploring and discovering Lyon’s “hidden treasures” is what Christine enjoys most, as well as going to the many good farmers’ markets, walking up the hills of Fourviaere and Croix-Rousse, or going to the Parc de la Tete d’Or, a great place in town for observing nature, walking, or having a picnic. The quality of produce at the farmers’ markets testifies to Lyon’s prestigious reputation of culinary excellence.            

Working with EAP students is an enriching and rewarding experience. While the administrative work from year to year remains much the same, the changing faces of each successive year’s EAP students brings an interesting and stimulating element to Christine’s work, who can witness the development in them during the course of their stay as students gain confidence and self-assurance. Whether helping to overcome cultural differences, or merely hearing about their own culture and backgrounds, Christine values her opportunity to connect with students, stating that a year or semester abroad truly changes the way that we look at our own culture and country, sometimes even changing lives.

Week 10: March 12, 2012

Daisy Ling
EAP Study Center Staff - Singapore

"Daisy took care of the UCEAP students so incredibly well. She showed us the most amazing places in Singapore, accommodated all of our schedules, informed us of very important paperwork due and even gave us candy during Halloween and arranged the best farewell dinner ever. She basically held our hands through the entire process and acted as a mentor/mother/friend. I felt like I was in such great care. She really showed a concern for us and wanted to make sure we were always on the right track. I love Daisy Ling!!" - Marissa D.

Daisy Ling has worked at the EAP UC Singapore Study Center for fourteen years. As part of the EAP Study Center Staff, Daisy enjoys watching the center become a second home to students, where they can come to rest, chit chat, complain, and hang out. It is this ability to talk to students about absolutely anything that is her favorite part of the position.
 Daisy maintains that Singapore, a relatively safe, peaceful and clean island, is the perfect palce to study abroad. In addition to being able to adapt quickly to the environment, Singapore gives students easy access to various neighboring countries through its host of budget air lines and ferries. Having a base in Singapore and then leaving to explore the surrounding areas is an ideal option for students as Singapore is free from tsunamis, volcano eruptions, earthquakes, typhoons, hurricanes and social unrest.

Singapore is a city-state with an area of approximately 274 sq. miles located in Southeast Asia at the Southern tip of Malaysia. As a comparison, New York City is approximate 300 sq. miles which makes the entire country of Singapore smaller than America's most prominent city. Singapore has a population of 5 million distributed mostly amongst the 3 major races Chinese, Malay and Indian, with English, Malay, Tamil and Mandarin as the 4 major languages. Singapore gained its independence from Great Britain in 1965. Now a parliamentary republic, Singapore has made enormous strides in the areas of economic growth and prosperity.  Depending on the source, with a per capita of approximate 60k, Singapore ranks as the 3rd or 4th most wealthy country in the world surpassed only by Qatar and Luxemburg. It is a strong US ally in Southeast Asia and enjoys free trade benefits and VISA free travel.

 As for recommendations of places to visit, the view of Singapore from Marina Sands Sky Park, which is a one hectare sky terrace on the roof of Marina Bay Sands, is amongst Daisy’s favorite spots in all the city. She recommends her students try three of the local delicacies: Nasi Lemak (Malay word for fragrant coconut rice), Laksa (a famous Peranakan noodle cooked in  a thick spicy soup base / gravy) and Rojak (Malay word for mixture of fruits and vegetable mixed with peanuts and shrimp paste). Daisy is looking forward to adding to the family of EAP students that grows with each passing semester. She and her former students continue to keep in contact. Many of them even come back to visit her while on holiday in other Asian countries.

Week 9: March 5, 2012

Dana Spektor
Instructor & Coordinator - Rothberg International School, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

"She truly cares about her students and wants the best for them - not only in the classroom, but in life. I wish she was a professor at UC Santa Barbara, or at least lived a BIT closer! I love her and miss her and hope that she always remembers me!" - Sapir O.

For the past 17 years, Dana Spektor has worked with EAP students studying abroad in Jerusalem, Israel. Dana herself lives in Jerusalem, where she teaches Hebrew to undergraduate and graduate students, mainly within the Rothberg International School, which is part of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  This is the program that UCEAP students who study in Jerusalem attend.

Dana says that her experience with most students has been very good.  Most of the UCEAP students she comes in contact with are highly motivated and possess a healthy curiosity and willingness to learn and experience the new language. Most of the students achieve very good results during their Hebrew studies.   

The Division of Modern Hebrew Language Instruction at Hebrew University is renown throughout the world for its prestige and extremely high level of teaching, which is one of the biggest reasons why Dana especially thinks students interested in learning Hebrew should study in Jerusalem! Most of the textbooks that are used  throughout the world for teaching Hebrew have been written by teachers of the Division. Approximately 600 students from about 60 different countries come each semester to study Hebrew in the Division.

 Jerusalem is the central city to three major world religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The city has about 750,000 residents. The old city of Jerusalem is home to the Jewish Western Wall, Dome of the Rock, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, important sites for each of these religions. Aside from its historic and religious importance, Jerusalem is a multicultural city which serves as a bridge between the ancient and the modern. Other attractions in Jerusalem include the Souk (a beautiful and vibrant outdoor market offering many different products from food to jewelry and pottery and everything in between) and cultural festivals that take place throughout the year.  

One of Dana’s favorite places to spend time in is the Israel Museum, located on the beautiful Givat Ram (Hebrew Uuniversity’s Life Sciences campus) next to the Israeli Parliament and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. The museum is a fascinating place for her, combining modern and contemporary art exhibitions with exhibitions of archaeology and art from around the world. Her favorite spot in the museum is the Sculpture garden, where one can find works from both Israeli and international artists.  

According to Dana, Jerusalem is truly known for its multicultural foods, and a favorite spot for many to explore this is the "Machane Yehudah", an outdoor market or Souk. Vendors sell fresh produce from local farms. When walking around the market, one’s sense of smell is overwhelmed with the scent of spices, nuts, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, fresh-cut flowers, and more. Additionally, there are now several gourmet restaurants in Jerusalem where the chef often wanders around the market, searching for the freshest ingredients before deciding on the menu. The food in Jerusalem represents the many cultures and peoples who have gathered there. On one block one can find restaurants serving food from Iraq, Russia, Ethiopia, French, Italian, and traditional Israeli food.

Dana has a wonderful relationship with her current and former UCEAP students and loves to hear about their many accomplishments.  She has a soft spot in her heart for these students and she hopes that they find a way to return and study in her classroom once again. She hopes that they all know that there is a place for them at her Sabbath dinner table.

Week 8: February 27, 2012

Pilar Ocana,
EAP Study Center Staff - Barcelona, Spain

" Pilar played a big part in making my experience in Barcelona so memorable and contributed positively to the experience of hundreds of other students." - Austin P.

"This person helped me and the rest of the students a lot through out the program. She was there to support us and guide us while we were adapting to the new country." - Liliana J.
Pilar Ocana, who resides in Parets del Valles, a suburb in Barcelona, Spain, has been part of the EAP Barcelona staff for 35 years. Some of her responsibilities include working closely with students on course enrollment, housing and academic advising. She believes that all US students should study in Spain to improve their skills in the Spanish language. In Barcelona, students also have the experience to learn the language from a bilingual perspective. All young US students are greatly impressed with the vibrant city, and diverse culture.

Barcelona is a middle size city (with 1.5 million inhabitants), but the metropolitan area should double in no time.  Many students in Barcelona enjoy the hospitality of a modern, cosmopolitan city.  Since the Study Center is located in downtown, EAP students can go to class within a walking distance from their homes. There is the added factor of enjoying a bilingual experience, considering Barcelona has two official languages.  Most often, EAP students appreciate being exposed to two languages at the same time because of their interest in learning the basic “Catalan” language.  Barcelona also displays a rich history of art throughout the city: Ancient Greek, Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Modernism.  Needless to say, the famous Gaudi buildings around town and Dali’s work at the Dali museum in the nearby town of Figueres are the masterpieces of Spanish art.

Pilar enjoys walking through the busy streets and boulevards (Ramblas, as the locals would call them) to observe the different characters in the street.  Barcelona is one of the best towns to take walks, sit in an outdoor cafe, and simply people watch.  Due to Barcelona’s location by the Mediterranean Sea, fresh fish and amazing seafood are the highlights of Spanish cuisine.  Fish paella (rice) and vegetables are two of the local foods that Pilar highly suggests students to try in the many excellent restaurants offered by the city.

Numerous students still keep in contact with Pilar by emailing, sending photos and updating their lives with her.  Such close relationships are formed during the EAP experience that former students invite her to weddings or send her photos of their kids.  Whenever students happen to go to back to Barcelona, they often revisit the study center to see the staff.  It is genuinely rewarding for Pilar that so many students keep in contact with her.

Week 7: February 20, 2012

Dirk Verheyen
Academic Director, FU-BEST Program -Berlin, Germany

"Dirk was a highly organized, active and caring individual who seemed very passionate about what he has done and is doing for the FU-BEST program. He cared for students and was very guiding and helpful not only in respect to academics, but in every other aspect of living abroad as a student, traveling, and overcoming possible challenges that faced students everyday away from home." - Nilufar S.
Dirk Verheyen, the Academic Director of the FU-BEST Program at Freie Universität Berlin for the last 5 years and resident of Berlin, Germany, works closely with EAP students on admission, course enrollment, academic advising, general counseling, excursions, housing, and more. His program's acronym (BEST) stands for "Berlin European Studies"; the dimensions beyond "just" Germany are thus of vital importance to what UCEAP has to offer.

As a Ph.D. graduate of UC Berkeley and 20-year resident of northern and southern California, he has a definite "soft spot" for all things Californian, so takes great joy in working with UC students. On speaking about how often he keeps in touch with former EAP students, he says that every two years, he visits various UC campuses, and sometimes encounters former participants. He also receives occasional requests for letters of recommendation. Rather infrequently, a former EAP participant will make it back to Berlin and surprise him in the office.

He explains that the reason so many students sojourn to Berlin is because Berlin offers almost unrivalled historical, academic, cultural, and societal resources, plus a dynamic way of life at very affordable cost, all of which UCEAP has built into its program, enabling the program to develop into one of the largest semester abroad programs in Germany. Aside from the virtues of the program itself, Berlin's strategic location in the center of Europe makes it a very valuable vantage point for program-based or independent exploration of the Central European region and beyond. He personally proclaims a great love for the German Historical Museum (its permanent exhibition as well as the short-term special exhibitions) and the city's classical music opportunities (multiple orchestras and three opera houses). He extols the omnivorous variety that Berlin has to offer—and thus freedom from getting "stuck" with only Doner Kebap or Currywurst.

© Berlin Partner/FTB-Werbefotografie 

Week 6: February 14, 2012

Monika Popp
Program Officer, UCEAP London Study Center

"Monika was always available. She made multiple visits to the university to check and answer any questions we had and was always quick to answer emails and calls. She was a great help when I was getting ready to leave for home and I truly enjoyed chatting with her. She knows the programs front and back and was always able to help. It was obvious that she truly loved and cared for this job!" - Rachel A.

For the past three years, Monika Popp has worked as the Program Officer for the EAP London program. Monika initially meets students through their applications and then becomes further aquainted with them upon their arrival. She enjoys this gradual process of getting to know the students, especially helping them learn to function in a new environment. It’s always a welcome sight to see them leave academically and personally accomplished. Monika maintains that the UK is the perfect place for students to immerse themselves in a new environment as London is a gateway to explore cultural differences and similarities.

London is a very big, diverse and bustling city. This year, London is even more in the spotlight because of the Summer Olympic Games. The cultural, economic, political and historical significance and influence of London is substantial and is visible almost everywhere in the city center which is a wonderful place for students to explore. Monika’s favorite place in London is little known to tourists. St. Katharine Docks is a hidden treasure just a few steps away from the famous Tower of London. Today’s exclusive marina is reminiscent of the nearly forgotten history of London as a port. In the middle of this area is an old tavern, the Dickens Inn, where the host university staff and EAP students have Thanksgiving dinner.

London’s diversity means you can find practically every type of cuisine. Apart from the regular London staple of fish and chips or curry, Monika’s favorite food is the Polish specialty: pierogi (dumplings with different fillings). Often students come back to visit London, dropping by the EAP study center, which enables Monika to stay in touch with former students.

Week 5: February 6, 2012

Ivan Reilly
Academic Director, UCEAP New Zealand Program

"Ivan made arriving to NZ soo much easier for everyone. His entire family was involved with our orientation which made it so much more comfortable and welcoming. He planned amazing activities for our orientation week and checked in on everyone throughout our stay abroad. He is an amazing individual and whenever he leaves his post as director NZ EAP students will be missing out on meeting a wonderful, caring, funny man!" -- Tara F.

Ivan Reilly has been the Academic Director of UC New Zealand  in Auckland for 16 years.  His  favorite thing about working with EAP students is quite simple –they keep him young in outlook and perspective!

Because the New Zealand EAP program is an immersion one, UC students choose from the regular classes available at their host institution. Most of their classmates are Kiwi students (New Zealanders), so it is a wonderful opportunity to dive directly into the culture. Anything and everything can be a reason to study in New Zealand! You never know what you fill find.  

Auckland is a large metropolitan area, but very spread out. It is the same geographic size as the LA metropolitan area, but the population is only 1.5 million. It is very diverse in terms of ethnic groups. It is the world's largest Polynesian city (in terms of population) - this includes the indigenous Maori people, Samoans, Tongans, Cook Islanders, Nuieans, Tokelauns. Recently there has been a significant immigrant population from all parts of Asia, from India, Sri Lanka, Japan, Korea, China and all countries in South East Asia. Auckland has an extensive coast on the east and west sides of the North Island, which is very narrow, meaning there are beaches everywhere. The climate is almost sub-tropical, and the weather is highly unpredictable and very changeable. "Four seasons in one day,” Ivan jokes. Ivan’s favorite place to visit is Piha, a wild west coast beach just outside the city where body surfing is quite popular. Tiritiri Matangi Island, an open bird sanctuary, is also only an hour by ferry from the city. Due to the vibrant presence of Asian populations, all kinds of Asian food is readily available, and is the favorite cheap food for students. Thai food is a particular favorite.

Ivan readily keeps in contact with past EAP students who love sending him news of their recent exploits –graduation, employment, romance, marriage, parenthood. Some of them even return to New Zealand on a permanent basis. Additionally, he sees many former students when he travels to California. After all, education abroad is all about linking people and building relationships.

Week 4: January 30, 2012

Cinzia Pace
Italian Instructor, Language & Culture Program, UC Center Florence

"I became excited to go to class and learn more. It is because of Cinzia that I truly enjoyed my time in Italy. She helped me gain the confidence to speak the language and approach Italians." - Ana W.

"Without Cinzia as a teacher, I know my time abroad would not have been as rich and so full of life!" - Sarah G.

Cinzia Pace is the Italian Language Instructor at UC Florence, Italy. As an instructor, Cinzia has the opportunity to work directly with students in the classroom.  Watching EAP students create and act out brilliant role-plays, sing along Italian songs, overcome the challenges of Italian grammar, engage in oral presentations, and interact with Italians fosters Cinzia’s own creativity and energy. As a former language student herself, Cinzia enjoys learning from her students about their own culture, which enables her to grow both professionally and personally.

Cinzia highlights the delicate balance between cultural diversity and Florentine spirit and  culture that makes Florence the perfect city to live and study in. Florence is the city of Dante and the birthplace of the Italian language. The city is easily accessible: jogging along the river Arno, visiting museums, galleries and art studios, great shopping and day trips to the stunning Tuscan countryside and other lovely small towns like Siena, Voltera, Lucca, and Pisa.
To describe the uniqueness of Florence, Cinzia has devised a special formula: Future + Language + Overseas + Richness + Experience + Novelty + Culture + Engagement = FLORENCE!  Within the city itself, Cinzia enjoys walking in the Oltrarno area, where the UCEAP Study Center is located. This part of the city retains its old Florence atmosphere. Students can visit the small artisan shops and find unique items, eat in a "trattoria" that offers typical Florentine food at reasonable prices or have a coffee sitting in the beautiful Piazza Santo Spirito, while watching the church designed by Brunelleschi. Florence is famous for its "ribollita" (a vegetable soup) and "bistecca alla fiorentina" (a thick grilled steak). Another Florentine specialty is "schiacciata", both salty and sweet. During harvest time, it’s topped with sugar and red grapes and it’s delicious! As a true Italian, however, Cinzia also loves pizza. Florence boasts several places where you can eat a very good one.  

Cinzia still keeps in touch with many of her former students. She looks forward to hearing about their achievements, their graduation and post grad life. Clearly, the study abroad experience does not end the last time she says ‘Ciao’!


Week 3: January 24, 2012

Veronica Pomar
Program Assistant, UCEAP Chile Study Center

“Veronica was the most amazing person that I encountered in Chile.” --  Elena A.

“Whenever students had a question or concern, she always helped us out.” – Kelden C.

"She truly cared about each of the students and I miss her deeply!” – Laura P.

“Sweetest person in Chile and very obviously cared for us!!”  -- Chelsea G.

Veronica Pomar is the Program Assistant for the UCEAP Study Center in Santiago de Chile, Chile, where she also lives. As Program Assistant, she is in charge of coordinating homestay arrangements as well as helping students with registration, host university procedures, internships, and more. One of the highlights of her work is when students decide to extend their stay to another semester in Chile, which many choose because of the trust and confidence they have in the Study Center. Veronica really enjoys interacting with students and helping them with their daily concerns.

Veronica thinks that students should study abroad  in Chile because Chilean universities have a long-standing tradition of being the best universities in Latin America. The city of Santiago de Chile has many cultural places that students can visit, such as the government house, a variety of museums, Cerro San Cristobal, Cerro Santa Lucia, and much more. Veronica guarantees that when students come to study in Chile, they will fall in love with everything the country has to offer.

Santiago is the capital of Chile, and besides its architecture and historical buildings, it has much to offer with a diverse cosmopolitan culture full of people from diverse backgrounds. Some of the typical foods in Chile include empanadas, an incredible amount of seafood, and many vegetables and fruits. A particular Santiago specialty is “choripan” (barbecue sausage in a bread roll).

Veronica still keeps in touch with many past UCEAP students, and loves to interact with them via the internet and find out what they are doing. She says students often express nostalgia and a desire to return to Chile, and she finds it gratifying to hear from students and see them in mature roles, sometimes married and sometimes even living in Chile.

Week 2: January 16, 2012

Linus Lindgren
Program Director, UCEAP Sweden Study Center

Linus Lindgren is the head of the UCEAP Study Center at Lund University in Lund, Sweden. He lives just outside the city and very much enjoys the privilege of getting to meet and interact with the many UC students who come to Lund to study with EAP.

Linus says that participating in UCEAP Sweden offers UC students a magnificent mix of an environment rich in history, tradition (with cobblestone streets and historic buildings dating back to medieval times), innovation, and enterprise such as green technology, all coupled with an extraordinary student social life. The city of Lund is a safe and friendly medium-sized university town with an international atmosphere. Linus believes that it is very easy for UCEAP Sweden students in Lund to find their place and feel right at home. Most everyone in Lund speaks English, and the city is easily navigable by bike or on foot. Despite its size of about 100,000 people, everything in Lund is close by when you need it, and it holds the highest number of international students out of all the cities in Sweden, which makes it a great place to study abroad with UCEAP!

One place that Linus loves to visit in Lund is the very center of town, which is full of quaint cobblestone walking streets and charming little cafes. He thinks that the best way to spend a lazy weekend day is by beginning in one of the cafes, then moving to one of Lund’s many nature areas for some outdoor activities.

UCEAP Sweden participants as a rule form deep bonds during their stay in Sweden, within their UCEAP group and also with Swedish and other international students, and most keep in contact long after their stay is at an end. Many students return to Lund for travel and some for graduate school or work, and Linus enjoys when the students drop in to visit when they are in the area. He thinks it is great to see how the former UCEAP Sweden students truly become global citizens with an international social network after their time abroad.

Week 1: January 9, 2012

Shelby Ocana
UC Paris Study Center Admininstrator

Celebrating her 10th anniversary with the UCEAP Paris Study Center, Shelby Ocana is the welcoming administrator that hosts our students studying in Paris, France.  She is their initial point of contact and is involved in every aspect of their study abroad experience.  Whether students need help finding the best croissant or navigating the subway system, she is a vital resource for them. Shelby has had the opportunity to watch the Paris programs expand and the students mature each year.  She is particularly intrigued at how students come to Paris as “pure Californians” in their dress and mannerisms and leave the program listening to French music and wearing the latest Parisian fashions.

According to Shelby, Paris is a great study abroad location and has everything a student could possibly want!  It has a vibrant academic culture, strong universities, great night life and nearby places to visit.  It offers so many academic and cultural experiences that will truly enhance the abroad experience.  Although Paris is a large metropolitan city, it still has a village feel to it so that one doesn’t feel lost or anonymous.  Also, each neighborhood has its own unique character and retains its French traditions.

Shelby truly adores Paris!  With so many places to still explore, she is intent on visiting the Museum of Carnival Arts in the eastern part of Paris.  With a magical feel, old carnival rides and games, the museum is open to the public only one week per year.  As for cuisines, she loves classic French food and has a favorite restaurant called Bastide Odeon which is next to the Theatre de l’Odeon and Luxembourg Gardens.

EAP returnees always reminisce about Shelby when talking about the Paris programs.  She stays in touch with them post-EAP and beyond.  They have visited her during graduate school, on honeymoons or for other occasions in Paris.  Shelby is the Paris onsite resource that our students appreciate and cherish.   Thanks for all that you do, Shelby!