Studying abroad is a dream come true. But for many international students, it’s one of the biggest investments of their lives and it should, as much as possible, be one of the worthiest too.
A key element to ensuring this is to find the right fit. At the University of California, Irvine – Division of Continuing Education (UCI DCE), this is a top priority.
The goal is for every UCI DCE student to receive an invaluable study abroad experience, tailored to each individual’s strengths and aspirations. To create a meaningful student experience, UCI DCE is not just concerned with matching students to the right pathway. The approach is more holistic – education is more than what just happens in the classroom; it’s equally important for students to feel at home in their new student life and to immerse themselves in the local culture.
This effort starts before international students step foot on campus. On the website, prospective students can connect with real UCI DCE students or alumni to ask them about their experiences.
Through this platform named Unibuddy, interested applicants can reach out to a wide subset of students, from a broad range of study fields, countries of origin, ages, and levels. With this feature, they can get real insights individually tailored to their wants and needs.
For example, a Brazilian businesswoman keen to advance her career can not only speak to students in courses relevant to her, such as the Accelerated Certificate Programs in Innovation Management & Entrepreneurship or Project Management, but also to those from her home country. Another student from South Korea who is working towards her master’s degree but is unsure of her English language proficiency, can speak to someone from her own country about what it’s like to be an ESL student on the campus.
Deciding where and what to study can be tough. Providing prospective students with the opportunity to connect with UCI DCE students and alumni gives them the ability to make decisions informed by personal first-hand insights. It also works as an avenue to ask questions they may not be comfortable approaching an administrator about.
Abdulaziz Alaqeel is one student who could recount his successful transition from UCI’s ESL program to landing a spot today in the Master of Science in Health Sciences Informatics-Research Program at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.
An international student, Abdulaziz needed help studying for the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam. After enrolling in the Intensive English as a Second Language Program at UCI DCE, his performance improved dramatically, scoring within the highest band in the English language proficiency test.
With these results and the weight of a UCI DCE program behind him, he won a scholarship to pursue a master’s at his university of choice.
Abdulaziz’s success underscores the quality of UCI DCE’s diverse set of courses, certificate programs and internships.
More than just another pathway program, it’s an invaluable experience that equips students with the academic and professional skills needed to excel in their future studies or careers in a short amount of time.
Courses here cover a wide range of topics such as Business Administration, Business of Esports, Creativity & Product Development, Data Science & Predictive Analytics for Business Professionals, Digital Marketing & Communications, International Tourism & Hotel Management, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), and more – at UCI DCE, there is something for everyone.
From a degree in music composition and working stagnant jobs in the UK, his native country, Rob is now building a career he is passionate about and ready to settle into the next phase of his life.
“This is such a beautiful part of the country […] and UCI had exactly what I was looking for,” he said. “I didn’t have the first idea about data science before taking the program. And I didn’t have the time or money to go after another degree, so the program was exactly what I needed to launch my new career.”
In the short span of three months in the postgraduate certificate program, Rob gained skills that led to an internship with an Irvine-based law firm, media and consulting company. It wasn’t long before he proved himself to be an indispensable and innovative team member, landing a full-time position to complete Optional Practical Training (OPT), a 12-month practical training experience.
The Digital Marketing Coordinator at the firm said: “[Rob] has a strong analytic and technical background with his UCI [DCE] education and has a very dynamic, strategic mind. I’m really looking forward to continue working with him going forward.”
From smooth transitions to university to glowing referrals from employers, they are a testament of UCI DCE’s edge: Truly understanding what international students’ aspirations are and providing them with the programs to achieve them.
“You have to go to UCI for many reasons…If you’re looking for a good institution to improve your English language proficiency and to further your studies, UCI is the place for you.”