Valeria smiles in France with a gradient overlay of blue, yellow, and green in the background.

Experiences Abroad and at Home

Valeria Becerra Angulo, a UC Davis student, has just one thing to say to students about studying abroad: “Just do it.”

Valeria is an international relations major with a minor in French, Human Rights, and Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning. Originally from Mexico and having moved to America in her teens, Valeria knows how difficult it is to learn a new language and live in a new environment away from home. Fortunately, she has found a second home in Davis, but she wanted to continue her international experiences. 

Valeria at Montmarte in Paris, France.
Valeria at Montmartre, Paris, France.

Advancing International Experiences in France

Considering the interconnected nature of her major, Valeria figured that one of the best ways to study international relations was to attend schools in both America and abroad. So, in 2023, Valeria participated in the UCEAP Sciences PO Paris Study Abroad program to study European politics in France. There, she aimed to “open up to different people from different cultures” and “expand herself as an international citizen both intellectually and physically.”

When asked what she believed was the most valuable lesson she learned in France, Valeria responded:

“I think overall, my global experiences forced me to step out of my comfort zone. Step away from my bubble and be able to adapt, be resilient, and persevere because when you move to another country, you leave everything behind. You have to adapt to a new system. Academics are important, but I think opening yourself up to different people from different cultures is the most valuable thing for your life and experiences. You have to be there for that.”

Valeria at Saint-Èmilion.
Valeria at Saint-Èmilion.

In this same sentiment, Valeria said the highlight of her international experience was “…the places that I got to visit and the friendships and connections.”  While Study Abroad’s primary goal is to enrich students’ intellectual capacities, UC Davis recognizes that the independent nature of study abroad and the student’s exposure to new places, ideas, and things are equally valuable in fostering personal growth.   

“Studying abroad is completely different from being a tourist. It’s going to be work, it’s going to be life, it’s going to be very hard, but it gives you the opportunity to see yourself grow in the process and get better than before. I’m capable of doing many things now that I didn’t think I could do. Life will always throw things at you. If you can study abroad, do it.”

Valeria additionally remarked that her international experiences have “humbled her” because she knows many students might be unable or hesitant to apply because their English/local language skills are not their native tongue. “My French skills were… sort of there”, Valeria laughingly said, but she conveyed that she was nevertheless “deeply grateful that I’ve been able to live through this experience” and encourages her peers to look into the program. 

Assisting UC Davis Students in their Global Pursuits

Aside from her study abroad experience, Valeria regularly works as a peer advisor at the UC Davis Global Learning Hub within Global Affairs. There, she dedicates herself to helping international students acclimate to UC Davis and helps prepare other UC Davis students for their future international experiences. From providing information on public transportation, buildings, routes, and general advice on living in a new town, Valeria and other Aggies in the Global Affairs office help students prepare for the road ahead.

Ultimately, Valeria says that the study abroad program and her time with Global Affairs have “helped me understand myself as a person” and better her “as a world citizen.”

Through the Global Learning Hub, every UC Davis student can find global learning opportunities on campus, in the region, virtually, and internationally. The Hub offers global learning programs, workshops, and resources that enhance all UC Davis students’ academic and career pursuits through four broad areas of opportunities: Community Engagement, Global Skills and Leadership, Internships and Research, and Study Abroad. Application deadlines and requirements vary by program.

Primary Category