Event Date: 

Monday, February 1, 2021 - 2:30pm

Study Abroad for Geography Majors

Geography is an extremely hands-on discipline devoted to the study of the Earth as home to humans. The UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) provides Geography majors the opportunity to gain new perspectives and achieve a greater understanding of the world in which we live. Whether your area of interest is in the physical and biological processes of the environment; the way in which humans perceive, interact with, and modify the environment; or the way techniques are used for the collection, analysis, and interpretation of geospatial data, studying abroad will expand your comprehension of the discipline and will enrich your educational experience.

Why study abroad?

In general, studying abroad will widen your personal cultural horizon, expand your comprehension and appreciation of the effects of globalization, and give you the opportunity to improve your communication and language skills. It can help you better understand the discipline, insofar as geography is an international discipline which has continually been influenced by ideas and methodologies from all over the world. Last, but not least, it could give you the opportunity to enhance your studies and your future career by pursuing unique fieldwork in a country or region specific to your area of interest.

The benefits of studying and living abroad are tremendous. You can:

  • Take advantage of unique academic coursework opportunities
  • Learn a new language and culture
  • Advance your cross-cultural and problem-solving skills
  • Receive academic credit for research or independent study projects conducted under the supervision of local faculty mentors
  • Gain new perspectives on American society, culture, and influence
  • Arrange an internship in a local corporate, governmental, public, or private organization
  • Develop self-confidence and independence
  • Prepare for a career in an internationally competitive world
  • Enhance your résumé for job or graduate school applications

Returning UCEAP students often describe their experiences abroad as life-changing and uniquely valuable for future choices of professional and personal goals. College is the time for exploration. Don’t miss out on a UCEAP experience!

When should I study abroad?

We recommend that Geography majors study abroad in their junior or senior year, after they have completed the bulk of their lower-division requirements. Depending upon the length of the program, it is advisable to have time at the end of your senior year to complete your degree requirements after studying abroad. However, the guidelines are not written in stone, and it is recommended that you consult with the department undergraduate advisor and the Education Abroad Program Office. Applications are due well in advance of departure, so start planning NOW!

Where should I study abroad?

UCEAP offers study abroad programs at numerous excellent universities with strong geography departments. Go to the UCEAP website to explore the various program options. There are a surprising number of UCEAP programs taught in English around the world. Through the UCEAP website, navigate to the host universities’ websites to learn more about their departments and course offerings.

Countries with geography departments offering courses in English that you may want to consider include:

Australia -- Denmark -- Hong Kong -- Ireland -- New Zealand
Singapore -- South Africa -- Sweden -- United Kingdom - England

You may want to consider learning a foreign language or fulfilling your GE requirements abroad. With short and long-term programs in over 40 countries and 130 universities to choose from, you have many options.

UCSB Geography students have successfully studied in such diverse countries as BarbadosBrazil, Costa Rica, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, South AfricaSpain, and United Kingdom - England. Your choice of where to study should be made in coordination with your undergraduate advisor and the UCSB EAP Office.

What classes should I take?

All UCEAP students automatically earn UC credit for the work they complete abroad. However, the application of credit to major requirements or GE requirements is subject to the discretion of the department and the college.

Geography is the most interdisciplinary department on the UCSB campus. It is also the most integrated discipline on campus, insofar as the material taught in our classes about environmental processes can be found in other disciplines, but are only put together as a whole story in Geography. Above all, Geography is “spatial”-- virtually everything has a spatial component, from the distribution of subatomic particles to the choices we make when we buy groceries. Therefore, as a geographer, you can choose to study an enormous range of subjects while abroad. The department does recommend that students take all of their Geographical Techniques course requirements at UCSB.

The UCEAP website has an UCEAP course catalog where you can search courses UCEAP students have taken by subject, keyword and/or location. This is a particularly useful tool for geography majors since so many applicable courses are offered through different departments.  You can also use Gaucho Credit Abroad to search for the types of credit (i.e. major, minor, GE areas, or electives towards graduation) that UCSB students received for courses taken on UCEAP and find additional course listings on UCEAP partner university/program websites.

Consult with the undergraduate advisor regarding the courses you plan to take abroad before leaving and while abroad. Save all syllabi, papers, and other relevant course information to help you successfully petition courses for specific requirements.

How do I get started?

Academic Planning Form Tutorial

Gaucho Credit Abroad Database