Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

March 1, 2011 11:44 AM

Make the Most of Cal & STUDY ABROAD

Need a change of pace? Whether or not you think you already have too much to do or not enough, take a step back and think about what you've done so far at Cal and what you would still like to do. Not sure about the possibilities for the future? There are so many. I don't know about you, but I'm one of those multi-taskers who seem to always put too much on my plate to handle. But so far as a graduating senior who has done two study abroad programs, a minor, founded an organization, gone to Central America for a medical mission, worked in college, and volunteer at a hospital, I think I've done pretty well for myself. I want to share my varying experiences in hopes that you will have more opportunities to chose from.

First off, if you like knowing how the natural world works, I highly recommend the Forestry Camp Field Program 2011. You will be immersed for 2 summer months in the world of California forest ecology and management. This experience changed my perspective on California (even though I was born and raised here) and helped me reconnect with nature. As a Molecular Environmental Biology major, these summer courses complemented my area of concentration in Biodiversity, provided me with a Forestry and Natural Resources minor, and fulfilled my natural interest in plants. Take a look at the application--it's pretty straightforward: Deadline to apply is March 18th, 2011 to Eva Wong in 260 Mulford.

My study abroad experiences in Australia were life changing. I flew into Sydney to visit family friends and studied in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Darwin for a semester and a 1 month long summer program through UC Davis. Along with taking science classes for my upper division major requirements (Australian Terrestrial Biology and Marine Biology), I took Aboriginal studies, Arabic, and even dissected fish in a research lab! Experiencing different educational systems and research was enriching. The best bonuses are meeting people you would have otherwise never have met. One friend in my Arabic class took me to visit his family and home out in the "bush" where wild koalas hung out in Eucalyptus trees. At the end of my semester, they took me in and I basically had a 'vacation' that included sightseeing with private 'tour guides' and shadowing my friend's parents at their family practice clinic. The opportunities are endless. I was even fortunate enough to go to Darwin (aka Outback) and meet Aboriginal people. The connections and memories I made will last forever.

So if you're thinking about studying away from Cal, consider applying for semester or year study abroad/exchange programs. Education Abroad Program (EAP) and Berkeley Programs for Study Abroad (BPSA) for Spring 2012 are due April 4th, 2011. Check out programs and applications here:

For medical missions abroad, you may be interested in the work I did in Belize through the International Service Learning (ISL) program Well Child International. They have rolling deadlines throughout the year and you should definitely consider applying. ISL has many programs and sends students around the world to volunteer, especially in third world, developing, and underserved countries. Also, please feel free to email me at I'm more than happy to give advice as a UC Berkeley representative for ISL. And check them out at:

Good luck, choose wisely, and have a fruitful and satisfying career at Berkeley and beyond!

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