By Ashley Han
UC Davis students have long benefited from global education, through study abroad programs, a diverse student body that includes international and immigrant students and ample opportunities to participate in research that has an impact on global economies, the environment and more. And UC Davis is now working on a long-term initiative called Global Education for All that aims to make sure all UC Davis students — including undergraduate, graduate and professional students — have access to global education opportunities that prepare them to live, lead and collaborate in an interconnected world.
Joanna Regulska, vice provost and associate chancellor of Global Affairs and a professor of gender, sexuality and women’s studies, is championing this initiative. She has more than 30 years of international experience in higher education, promoting learning about different cultures, languages and perspectives.
“Global education will help students be more sensitive and aware of other cultures in the real world,” Regulska said. “Students can gain new skills, learn to be more flexible, adapt to different circumstances and see the value different communities have.”
UC Davis alumni are global go-getters
Garrett Nasworthy ’08, a Cal Aggie Alumni Association member and network leader for Mexico, said his life was dramatically changed by the international experiences he had as a UC Davis student, including the opportunity to study abroad in Madrid. He studied through the UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) for a full academic year in 2005 and said he was inspired to participate by the diverse student population already present at UC Davis.
“I studied abroad when a lot of young people in Spain were very excited to express themselves; they were one of the first generations after the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco died, and it was exciting to be there and be a part of this moment in Spanish history,” Nasworthy said. “It was an opening into other cultures and left a big mark on how I led my life afterwards.”
Upon graduation from UC Davis, Nasworthy moved to Mexico City after receiving a journalism internship and has never left. His internship led him to become a business reporter, and he is now a business team representative and international trade compliance advocate in Mexico City for Perkin- Elmer, a biotechnology company.
Karen Wong ’83, a former international student and graduate of the College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis, agrees that global education makes a long-term difference in the lives of UC Davis alumni and students. Wong came from Singapore to study at UC Davis and made lifelong friends and deep connections to the UC Davis community while living in the residence halls. A CAAA Life Member, she is now a leader for the Singapore alumni chapter.
“Global education is important — more now than ever before,” said Wong, who is now an administrator at National University of Singapore. “As an international student, I made friends and got to know ‘other’ people as equals. I couldn’t be more grateful for my education at UC Davis. I am thrilled more students will have the opportunity for global education in the future, whether or not they are able to travel. These experiences are very important as the world becomes more connected.”
The future of global education at UC Davis
UC Davis is committed to expanding access to global education to all UC Davis students, regardless of whether they have the ability to study abroad. As such, this initiative seeks to add more local, short-term and multifaceted opportunities for students to become immersed in global experiences and service learning, such as internships at international companies, volunteer opportunities with local refugee or diaspora communities and living with a diverse group of people in the UC Davis residence halls.
UC Davis is also looking for opportunities to internationalize curricula for all students. Some UC Davis courses are already beginning to integrate many aspects of global education into their syllabi.
For example, faculty memberand director of the Global Education for All initiative Nancy Erbstein, along with Professors Jonathan London and Deb Niemeier, are teaching a community development course at UC Davis this fall while a parallel course runs in Nepal. In the winter, the UC Davis class will have the opportunity to visit Nepal for two weeks to engage in collaborative applied research and service learning. In the meantime, they will be in contact online with the students in Nepal, sharing perspectives on the same subject matter via joint class meetings and working in small groups to prepare for their fieldwork. This is only one example of the innovative, exciting ways that global education is being incorporated into the UC Davis experience.
“It is UC Davis’ responsibility as a world-class university to prepare our students to be well-rounded, knowledgeable and successful in a globalized workforce,” Regulska explains. “Going forward, we will forge multiple pathways to ensure that all students benefit from global education. This will enrich their UC Davis experience and encourage them to think critically and communicate strategically about the world’s most urgent challenges, which are inherently global in scope.”
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