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Alumni Spotlight

Yolanda Perez-Shulman
United Kingdom Year 1992-93
History and Environmental Analysis & Design Major

UK

"I joined the Ladies Cricket Club. The team held weekly practices. In the spring, we would host and travel to other universities for matches. It was a great opportunity to learn how to play a sport which is part of the English identity."

"After my UCI graduation and prior to graduate school, I was selected for a US State Department Student Internship at the London Embassy. I strongly believe my year-long EAP experience played a strong role in my selection."

"20 years later, I experience pure joy thinking about my EAP experience. Long-term benefits include friends, memories, and an appreciation of life."

Why did you choose your particular study abroad program/location?
I chose the United Kingdom because of my fascination with history: US colonial history, the Industrial Revolution, World War II, and post-WWII Europe. As a history major, I was able to take classes that would count toward my degree. The UK appealed to me because it is different from Southern California; I wanted to explore that "Special Relationship" between the UK and US. It is always exciting to visit and see places in person that you read about in books.
 
What types of activities were you involved in while abroad that were meaningful for your learning?
During my year at Hull, I joined the Ladies Cricket Club. The team held weekly practices. In the spring, we would host and travel to other universities for matches. It was a great opportunity to learn how to play a sport which is part of the English identity. I especially enjoyed the tea breaks. I lived in a house with other students; my housemates were English. They came from diverse backgrounds including class and ethnicity. I gained different perspectives of what it means to be British. They introduced me to everyday life in the UK ranging from food, drink, television, movies, music, sport and politics. And they enjoyed my stories about life in Southern California.
 
How have you changed or what have you learned due to studying abroad?
After my time in England, I found myself drawn to cities. It was apparent that this Southern California suburban resident was converting to urban living. I was attracted to living "car-free" and getting around via public transport. Taking a bus or subway I found out was easy. I love cities because of their rich history, cultural attractions, and activities.
 
What are you doing now as a result of studying abroad?
After my UCI graduation and prior to graduate school, I was selected for a US State Department Student Internship at the London Embassy. I strongly believe my year-long EAP experience played a strong role in my selection. I was able to jump right into my responsibilities. Recently I changed my career to nursing. At my job I work with people from all over the world including Haiti, Vietnam, Nigeria, Morocco and South America. I am aware of cultural diversity which helps me communicate with patients and coworkers. I try to find ways to break the ice, like talking about soccer/football during the World Cup with patients. People ask me “how do you know about football?” I tell them I learned about it in England. You don’t realize the different ways your world changes after EAP and your ability to connect with people.
 
What advice would you give to a student considering studying abroad?
Initially the idea is overwhelming but this experience is something that nobody can ever take away from you. You will learn so much about the world and people including yourself. You will gain an enthusiasm to try new things and know it will be okay. 20 years later, I experience pure joy thinking about my EAP experience. Long-term benefits include friends, memories, and an appreciation of life.

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