According to senior José Palma, studying abroad is one of the best experiences any student can have while attending UC Merced. Although he could have finished his degrees in anthropology  and psychology  last summer, Palma opted to take advantage of studying abroad this semester.
“I wanted to learn more about different cultures and travel more around the world,” he said. “I chose Barcelona because it has a completely different culture from the rest of Spain. I found that very interesting and wanted to finish my general education classes in such a setting.”
Palma received a $5,000 Gilman Scholarship , making it possible for him to study in Spain and urges students not to worry about the costs associated with studying in another country because such funding is available.
During his free time, he and other UC students spend time traveling around Spain.
“Once you are in Europe, it’s cheap to fly or catch a train anywhere,” he said. “I like to visit small towns like Girona and Monserrat, or bigger cities like San Sebastian and soon Madrid. I’m hoping to visit Paris and London during winter break.”
Palma says he learned more about UC Merced’s Study Abroad  program during International Education Week  (IEW) last year and knew it was something he couldn’t pass up.
“Attending IEW helped me see what opportunities are available out there,” he said, “From checking out the different programs to talking to Education Abroad Program  staff, it was good way to compare and contrast.”
UC Merced will join schools nationwide in commemorating IEW from Nov. 16 to 20. This year’s theme, “Embracing the Spice of Humanity,” will celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange with a variety of fun, informative and culturally rich activities designed to foster interest in the global community.
Students, faculty and staff are invited to join in the week’s activities ranging from a hunger banquet to an international tea party to the second annual passport fair. Students will also have the opportunity to audit language classes and attend a presentation by Doctors Without Borders and discussions about collaborative international research projects.
Palma encourages all Bobcats to take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad, “You meet different people with different views and cultures that make life richer. It will also look great on your resume or grad school application.”
For a list of activities taking place, visit the International Education Week Web site .