UC Irvine Home Home

Search


Facebook
YouTube
Twitter
Tumblr

 

Home : Prospective Participants : Participants : Returnees : Reciprocity Students : Faculty
& Staff
: Contacts : The World at UCI
 

Alumni Spotlight

Angela Cerda
Germany Spring 2009
Double Major: Psychology and Art History

"Studying abroad allowed me to learn about myself, it showed me that anything I was able to put my mind to I could accomplish."

"Classes involved Art History that included touring world famous museums as well as classes depicting Berlin's harrowed past. These classes included life changing excursions to locations such as underground cold war shelters, interviews with Holocaust survivors and Sachsenhausen (concentration camp on the outskirts of Berlin)."

"Studying abroad instilled in me a need to see the world, to experience it first hand, I will no longer be content to view the world from a window or computer screen."

Why did you choose your particular study abroad program/location?
I chose my program based on the decision that Germany is not the first location that comes to mind when studying abroad. Everyone wants to go to Paris, or Rome and even Spain. I wanted to go somewhere completely out of my comfort zone and truly original. I remember my dad telling stories about his backpacking travels and how Berlin was the city that he was unable to enter due to the separation of East and West Berlin. I wanted to go to this city that held so much history and experience it for myself. In the end, I was the only person from UCI that went to FU-BEST in 2009.
 
What types of activities were you involved in while abroad that were meaningful for your learning?
My program focused on Berlin's role in the ever changing European history/economy. Classes involved Art History that included touring world famous museums as well as classes depicting Berlin's harrowed past (Totalitarianism and the Human experience). These classes included life changing excursions to locations such as underground cold war shelters, interviews with Holocaust survivors and Sachsenhausen (concentration camp on the outskirts of Berlin). After my program was over I decided to take a month off and bought a EU-Rail pass and went backpacking all over Europe by myself, truly a life changing experience. 
 
How have you changed or what have you learned due to studying abroad?
Upon graduation from UCI in 2010 I decided to return to Europe to better improve my German (my third language). I moved to Germany in spring of 2011 and lived in a small rural farming community in Northern Germany with a host family while working as an au pair. Studying abroad allowed me to learn about myself, it showed me that anything I was able to put my mind to I could accomplish. I landed in Berlin on January 6, 2009 with only 2 German words in my vocabulary, and in two years I am almost fluent in my third language. I have gone backpacking twice, completely alone and dependent only on myself. Studying abroad instilled in me a need to see the world, to experience it first hand, I will no longer be content to view the world from a window or computer screen. Living on my own in Germany (single apartment) taught me to be self reliant and resilient, to face every day as a challenge and as a life altering experience. Every day tasks such as grocery shopping took on new meaning in a different language and completion of small tasks (such as following directions on food packaging) brought forth cheers of excitement and accomplishment. 
 
What are you doing now as a result of studying abroad?
I have just returned from living in Europe for a year and a half. I plan to find a full time job that I can use to pay off my college debt and allow me to travel. I am also looking for employment abroad or further education either in Europe of South America. I am in the process of looking for German language groups that I may join in order to keep my newly acquired language. 
 
What advice would you give to a student considering studying abroad?
Choose somewhere that speaks to your heart. If some place sparks an interest of curiosity deep within you-- cultivate it and allow yourself the opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone. 

Study Abroad Center
University of California, Irvine • Irvine, CA 92697
© 2011 The Regents of the University of California.
All Rights Reserved.

Comments & Questions : Privacy & Legal Notice : Copyright Inquiries