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
Alumni Award presented to Nell Painter

UCEAP was honored to present Nell Irvin Painter with the 2021 Linda Duttenhaver Distinguished Alumni Award.

During her talk, Nell spoke about her time in Bordeaux in 1962-63 and how her time abroad inspired her to become a historian. Watch Nell's talk here. Congratulations Nell!

UCEAP Global Day of Giving is May 20

Thank you for making our UCEAP Global Day of Giving a success. 

The 24-hour fundraising drive supported study abroad scholarships for the next generation of students who take their educations worldwide. We hope you will continue to spread the word. If you're a UCEAP alumni, share how studying in another country changed you with the hashtag #UCEAPChangedMe.

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.


News & Events

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

Alumni News
UCEAP Presents: UCSB’s Kum-Kum Bhavnani

Kum-Kum Bhavnani, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at UCSB and Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Engagement, discussed her sociological research on gender and globalization.

The presentation included scenes from some of her award-winning documentaries.



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.

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