UC Education Abroad Program Celebrates 50 Years
By Anna Davison
When Ellen Raede, ’80, left Santa Barbara in the late 1970s to spend a year studying in Madrid through the UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP), keeping in touch with family and friends back home meant dropping a coin into a payphone or a package into the mail. “We sent cassette tapes back and forth,” she says. “They took three weeks to get there and back.”
These days, with Skype and email and social media, familiar faces and fond voices may seem close, and the world not nearly as vast, but the experience of studying abroad hasn’t changed all that much, Raede says. “I can ask a student coming off the plane from Madrid where they lived and the name of their Spanish boyfriend, and we have a connection. It’s a cross-generational community. EAP is in your blood,” says Raede, who now supports the program as a donor and head of the UCSB EAP Ambassador Group.
“As I look back,” adds UCSB alumna Leslie Zomalt, who in 1962 spent a year at the University of Bordeaux, “I realize the independence, self-confidence and adventure of that year helped to form my approach to life.” Zomalt, ’64, Ph.D. ’79, and the 22 other Gauchos who went to France that year were part of the first group of 80 UCEAP participants, launching a strong study abroad tradition at UCSB. The campus now sends nearly 1,000 students abroad every year on UC’s systemwide study abroad program — more than any other campus — and hosts more than 300 reciprocal students.
UCEAP is marking its 50th anniversary this year with celebrations around the globe, including a systemwide Alumni and Friends Reunion to be held on April 28 at UCSB, where the program began and is now administratively housed.
Over the last half-century, thousands of students from Santa Barbara have studied abroad in dozens of countries, returning with fresh outlooks, new languages and lifelong friends, and with experiences, insights and skills that have helped shape their academic, professional and personal lives, and enriched the University.
These Global Gauchos include Carol Greider, ’83, whose research as an undergraduate in Gottingen, Germany, helped lay the foundation for the discoveries that earned her the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine; Barbara Bodine, ’70, who returned from a UCEAP program in Hong Kong determined to pursue a career in the Foreign Service and went on to spend 30 years as a diplomat; and Marc Grossman, ’72, who was named the United States Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan by President Obama last year.
Faculty from the campus have also helped shape and develop programs and served as Study Center Directors and Visiting Professors at UCEAP destinations around the globe, where they’ve helped students settle into foreign cultures and make the most of their time abroad.
The campus’ EAP Director, Juan E. Campo, an associate professor of religious studies who has served as a Study Center Director in Egypt and India, says UCSB “is a major pillar for the UCEAP program” and that the energy and innovation of Santa Barbara’s EAP community has helped build UCEAP into one of the finest study abroad programs in the nation.
Looking to the future, UCEAP aims “to strengthen and grow,” Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director Jean-Xavier Guinard says. “We want to offer a more diverse range of programs and we want more students to be able to benefit from them. That international experience is going to be even more valuable as the world becomes increasingly interconnected.”
To help more students take advantage of study abroad opportunities, and to mark the program’s 50th Anniversary, UCEAP is offering $500,000 in new scholarships annually for the next three years.
“The key is to make EAP an option for all students,” Campo adds, and he’s calling upon alumni to help by participating in career panels, helping connect students with international internship opportunities, and supporting scholarships. Alumni can also be powerful advocates for study abroad, Campo says, since they’re well acquainted with its benefits.
UCSB alumna Linda Duttenhaver, ’77, who spent her sophomore year in Bordeaux and says it “changed my life,” established the Duttenhaver and Dan Wise Scholarships in 2004. They have helped around 350 students attend UCEAP programs.
“I was so lucky to be able to study abroad,” Duttenhaver says. “I want to provide that same wonderful opportunity to others who might not be as fortunate as I was.”
Jenna Philpott, a UCSB student who received a Duttenhaver Scholarship to study at the University of Padova in Italy, in 2010-11, says it opened doors for her and “let opportunities of relationships, personal growth, and scholastic crossroads flood in.”
“Studying abroad changed my life,” she adds. “It freed me. It removed me from the tangles of the past and enabled me to find out who I really am when independent, on my own, free from prior influences and above all: free from fear.”