Santa Clara University takes a holistic approach to education, trying to empower students to become more competent, conscious and compassionate global citizens. This is reflected in our extremely high rates of study abroad, up to 1/3 of the undergraduate student population participates in the study abroad program. Typically, students will go during the fall quarter of their junior year since a majority of study abroad programs are aligned with the semester system. By going abroad in the fall, many students actually gain more credits than they would if they had stayed at SCU Santa Clara! I personally studied abroad in London, United Kingdom (post-Brexit), where I also had an internship at a virtual reality start-up as a financial analyst. I loved this experience particularly since I was able to travel to 12 countries in 4 months! Truly an unparalleled, once in a lifetime experience. It may seem weird to “study abroad” while “studying abroad”, however, I would highly recommend this experience to all international students to continue to broaden our global perspectives!
If the traditional study abroad route doesn’t work out for your academic schedule, there are also many other ways to go abroad! I participated in the Global Fellows program, led by our Leavey School of Business. This is a nine-month leadership program culminating in a summer international internship in a developing country. Through this fellowship, I went to Cochabamba, Bolivia where I was teaching math and working at a fair trade artisan manufacturing company. I absolutely loved my time in Bolivia and South America as a whole. I feel as if these types of experiences are particularly hard to come by. Additionally, the university also has other international fellowship programs such as the Global Social Benefit Institute which focuses primarily on social entrepreneurs who want to work with the developing world during the summer. There is also the Jean Donovan Fellowship which encourages and supports undergraduate students who desire to deepen their understanding of social justice issues through a summer community based learning experience. Most of these fellowships have subsidies involved which makes it relatively easier from a financial standpoint!
There are also immersion trips at SCU run through the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education. Immersion experiences are “designed to help participants see the world with a different perspective, to recognize the unjust suffering of marginalized communities and individuals, and to allow those experiences to inform their vocational discernment”. I have been told that these immersion trips have been some of the most rewarding experiences for students while at SCU. These immersion trips generally happen during break periods (spring, thanksgiving, winter, summer) and can range from working near the US/Mexico border in Arizona, to learning about food and agriculture business in Nepal.
In conclusion, coming to the United States to further pursue your education will not limit your global experiences. It has in fact helped me further develop my sense of identity as a global citizen.