UCEAP Alumni and Friends


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college students in Bordeaux in the 60s

Alumni Profiles

All UCEAP alumni agree that studying abroad is a transformative experience. UCEAP alumni are leaders in the fields of language and culture, international education, politics and more.  Read interviews with alumni and learn about their lives before, during and after UCEAP.

Alumni Profiles
UCEAP Presents with Frank Biess

Frank Biess, Professor of History at UC San Diego and the 2018-2020 UCEAP Faculty Director for Northern Europe, was our featured speaker for the new series UCEAP Presents.

Professor Biess discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the students in Europe and offer a historical perspective on the pandemic in Germany and the US. 

INNOCENTS ABROAD: Memories from a Bordeaux 1963-64 Alumna

When I became one of 100 UC students to spend the school year in France, I had no idea that my life would never be the same—in any way. My UCLA Italian professor discovered I was a French major, immediately recommended me for the France UCEAP program, and the whirlwind began.

Our group included students from UC campuses in Los Angeles, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Davis, and Riverside, with an assortment of majors that included engineering, psychology, political science, in addition to French. Since we'd be abroad for a full school year, we spent a "basic training" week at UCSB. Alums visited the lectures to teach us about French life, culture and history, but mainly to provide us with handy hints about how not to behave like “ugly Americans.”

Shuttles took us to LAX from UCSB for our flight to Paris, our first destination. Unable to sleep, we managed to sing every fight song or party song we'd ever learned. Jet-lagged and carrying way too much luggage (READ: my first handy hint), we arrived at the student dorms outside of town to the heckling of foreign students from all over the world. Our skins began to thicken, and soon we could verbally spar with most of them. Lesson from the Introductory Week: Leave your ruffled shower cap, red suede boots, and green suede coat with the raccoon collar at home. Also, remember that high-heels last perhaps ten minutes on the cobblestones!

An all-night train from Paris to Pau took us to intensive language classes at the foot of the Pyrenees and our first interactions with French university students. A cadre of these new friends took us under their wings that first afternoon at the university restaurant. Apparently, they found us as intriguing as we did them. At least six of these wonderful people are still my very best friends. They took us on picnics in the countryside (where I became "La Petite Vache" for life after a ride in a farm animal transport), taught us new drinking songs, generally watched over us and kept us out of trouble in Pau and throughout the rest of the year. I'll never forget one lunch visit by a group of Palois to the University Cafeteria in Bordeaux after we arrived. They made the long trek specifically to give notice to the rowdy crowd that there would be repercussions if anyone "messed" with us. It worked well.

The school year went much too quickly. We learned about French politics (from factions ardently for and against De Gaulle), studied literature and socialism, became coffee connoisseurs at the Cafe New York, sympathized with student strikes by traveling often, met French families and lots of other foreign students. We became bilingual and learned that, as one of the characters in Dien Bien Phu explained: "When you learn another language, you gain another soul." This was not the experience of other study abroad programs at the time. In fact, we met a group of girls from another university who proudly announced that they always kept strictly to themselves and never met any French students.

Thanks, UCEAP, for creating a life-changing immersive program with a buffer zone at the UC Center, where we attended tutoring sessions and solved any problems by putting them on the shoulders of the extremely sympathetic Mr. Garcia (Louis Garcia was the local program director). We all gained the aforementioned new souls, grew as human beings, and even managed to get through the November 1963 assassination of John Kennedy with the support of our French community.

I've returned as often as possible since 1964. My husband and I recently spent a few weeks reconnecting with three old friends in St.-Jean-De-Luz, Hendaye and Mont-de-Marsan, and we're delighted to reaffirm that French friends are for life.

We hope to return when travel becomes possible again!
Martha Sigwart 

To find more stories or to submit your own, go to UCEAP Connect.


Support for UCEAP Emergency Response Fund

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all of us professionally, personally, financially, and possibly in ways that we haven’t yet fully realized.

Over 1,600 UCEAP students were required to return home, many of them only after a few weeks abroad. On May 5th, a global day of giving, UCEAP alumni and friends, raised $3,800 for the UCEAP Emergency Response Fund. Funds raised will be used to offset unanticipated expenses related to the suspension of UCEAP programs. Some of those expenses include airfare back to the United States, housing and food costs, and supplies. Now, more than ever, we are stronger together, and there is no better time to connect with your UCEAP community. Thank you to everyone who donated!

Share your memories from UCEAP

During this difficult time, many of us find ourselves find checking in with friends from our time abroad on UCEAP. I've been reflecting on my year in Scotland and thinking back to the first images that I have of that beautiful country.


Studying abroad through UCEAP provided me the opportunity to leave the United States for the first time in my life. What I remember about my first impression of Scotland is how striking the architecture was around every corner. The beauty of old buildings, common place to those who lived there, stood out in such stark contrast to the streets I grew up around in the US. Our UCEAP orientation staff brought us to Edinburgh Castle where we saw a beautiful view of the whole city, these gorgeous buildings sprawled out amongst craggy hills and as far as the sea. I remember feeling so full of enthusiasm for the year ahead of me, surrounded by fellow UCEAP participants, soon to be friends. 

We would love to hear your first memories from your time abroad and to see photographs from your first day in country! Please take a moment to share your memories with your fellow alumni on UCEAP Connect and help all of us feel connected through our memories dotted all around the world.


Bryn Lemon
Scholarship and Alumni Engagement Coordinator

News & Events

Read the latest UCEAP news and learn about upcoming events happening near you!

Alumni News
UCEAP Presents: Javiera Barandarián

Thirty years after it was imposed on citizens by a military regime, Chile’s Constitution is up for reform.

Excitement is in the air as Chilean society has never before participated in constitutional writing. Supporters hope the new constitution will retain the gains of the past – including political and economic stability, a certain degree of wellbeing – and address the many challenges: primarily, inequality, poor (and expensive) social services, and widespread distrust in political parties and government institutions. Javiera will describe the recent history that led to this moment, outline what come’s next, and share some reflections on the issues Chileans hope the new constitution will resolve. Watch Javiera's presenation here

Virtual Study Abroad Fair

More than 950 people registered for the first online UCEAP Study Abroad Fair, hosted in October.

Staff from every UCEAP department collaborated to create more than 30 online sessions covering topics like: Study abroad options by location, majors and fields of study, research and field work, funding and scholarships, and safety and support

Virtual information desks were open throughout the fair to answer student questions. Families were welcome to attend, including a session designed specifically for them.

In Memoriam: Professor Ruth Kluger

In the late 1980s, Dr. Kluger was directing the university’s Education Abroad Program in Göttingen, Germany,

when she was struck by a bicycle and entered into a coma. When she emerged, her suppressed memories of the Holocaust were unleashed. She went on to write her autobiography, published as “To Continue to Live: A Childhood” in German in 1992 and in English nearly a decade later.


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