Mariana Boeira Pozas left her marketing business back in Brazil when she moved to the US with her family. As it turns out, this life-changing move opened the door to continuing education. “I realized I needed to update my digital skills and learn data science,” she says, relating her decision to enroll in accelerated certificate programs at the University of California, Irvine – Division of Continuing Education (UCI DCE).
“I studied at UC San Diego for a few months in 2002, so I already knew and trusted the University of California system. Also, my family and I wanted to live in Orange County — it’s a great place to raise kids — and I didn’t have any doubts about what would be the best university to apply to for these programs,” she shares. She studied Data Science and Predictive Analytics (now split into Data Science and Data Analytics for Business), Digital Marketing and Communications, and Business English, creating her own educational pathway at UCI DCE.
Pozas is a living testament to the benefits of continuing education abroad. A survey by IES Abroad found that nearly three-quarters of its alumni who studied abroad secured their first job within two months. They also earned higher starting salaries than their peers. Along with this increased employability, graduates also gain valuable cultural and political insight. These not only widen their worldview but embolden them to find their footing anywhere in the world.
Continuing education, your way
Upon graduating, Pozas landed an internship at retail marketing innovator AWM Smart Shelf — which led to the full-time data analyst position she holds today. Now, she integrates her experience running a business in Brazil into her new career and life. “Americans are task-oriented and Brazilians are relationship-oriented,” she muses. “If I understand how to use them appropriately in different circumstances, that could be a big advantage for me.”
The COVID-19 pandemic may be changing the face of higher education, but it is not deterring ambitious individuals from pursuing their study abroad goals. The latest research shows that the global interest in study abroad remains high among prospective students. They know that employers value the skills and experiences they gain from studying abroad. In 2019 in the US alone, there were over 31 million job openings requiring skills that a student acquired while studying abroad.
If you’ve got your sights set on the US, then you will find what you need at UCI DCE. Its international programs include English Language; Certificate and Internship Experiences; Success Through Academics and Research (STAR), which helps students to realize their dreams of pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree in the US; and Experience UCI, flexible programs that provide the experience of university courses at a top 10 university. Students like Pozas have designed their own educational pathways, combining ESL with accelerated certificate programs in specialized subjects and internships to develop new skills, build expertise, and impact their career outcomes. Some students also design their pathways to include the opportunity to gain work authorization for up to one year through Optional Practical Training (OPT). The combination of programs is vast, and students can create a bespoke pathway based on their professional goals.
Fellow Brazillian graduate Fernanda Figueira comments, “My program was very organized, and all the teachers had a wide range of knowledge in the subjects they were teaching. For me, the biggest benefit of the program was definitely the networking. I will apply everything I learned during the program to my professional life.”
Step up to the next level at UC Irvine
Continuing education at UCI DCE has helped numerous international students enter the next phase of their career. Many take their expertise back home or pursue their ambitions in another country altogether. Others fell in love with sunny California and are now forging their paths in the US.
With a history tracing all the way back to 1962, UCI DCE has been a steady champion of lifelong learning in California. It supports academic, cultural, and knowledge exchange through a variety of activities, which are essential to the international experience. Thanks to this immersive offering, which extends learning beyond the classroom, foreign talents like Pozas may discover a new lease of life with their families.
“I know what you might be thinking: living in a different country with kids, working in an American company in a new field, with a completely different culture and language. She might be crazy! Well, yeah, a little — but I can tell you, I’ve never been so happy,” she says. “On weekdays, it’s school and work, and on the weekends, the beach.”
UC Irvine Division of Continuing Education welcomes international students from around the world every year. UC Irvine is ranked among the top 10 public universities in the US, and its graduates include award-winning leaders and changemakers. Visit the official website for more information and check out the virtual campus tour..
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