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 Profile: John Frankl, Yonsei University 1988-89

John Frankl is the Associate Dean for International Affairs and a Professor of Korean and Comparative Literature at Yonsei University. He started studying Korean in 1987 while at UC Berkeley and spent his junior year abroad. Not only is John fluent in Korean, he is also a skilled martial artist with a black belt in Jiu Jitsu. We recently asked John about his life and career since studying abroad. 

Tell us the highlights of your professional career. What are your proudest achievements? Although I always try to be more grateful than proud, I would have to say returning to Yonsei as a young professor, and then rising up the ranks from assistant to associate to full professor is one of my proudest achievements. Unlike in the U.S., tenure is not given until one is promoted to full professor, which took me a full ten years. During and after that time, I have written books and articles, and also been appointed to a number of administrative positions. What actually gives me the most satisfaction, however, is that I have been able maintain balance through it all. I never have and never will put my professional life before my wife and daughter, or before my own physical and mental health. I am thankful that I have managed to meet my professional goals without sacrificing all of the things that bring meaning and joy to my life.

Who was your favorite professor and/or what was your favorite class while abroad? I had a year-long class on Chinese characters with Professor In-cho Chun, who is now retired but was then in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature. It was not a Chinese language class, but rather an advanced Korean language class where we had to commit about 1,800 Chinese characters to memory. Aside from the fact that the class itself has proven tremendously helpful to me for the past 29 years, he was a wonderful teacher with a unique and energizing blend of old-school Korean strictness and lighthearted humor.

What's your favorite study abroad memory? There are so many it is really difficult to choose just one. But one of which I am most proud and that led to many other wonderful memories is my immediate choice to move out of the international dormitory and into a local boarding house. This meant living, eating, and quite a bit of drinking with Korean university students. Of course, it also very much helped me in learning the language and the culture.

How did study abroad affect your life choices? I enjoyed my time in Korea and at Yonsei so much that I returned immediately upon graduating from Berkeley. I enrolled in the Department of Korean Language and Literature where I earned an M.A. in modern Korean fiction. I went from there to Harvard for my Ph.D., then back to Berkeley for a postdoctoral fellowship. Both of these were in modern Korean fiction as well. For the past thirteen years I have been a faculty member at Yonsei, where I am now a full professor and serving a second term as Associate Dean for International Affairs. So it is no exaggeration to say that my study abroad affected both my choices and trajectory immensely and very positively.

If you were to give advice to current UCEAP students, what would you say? The first piece of advice may seem quite pedestrian, but I believe it to be extremely important: spend an entire year abroad. There appears to be a worldwide trend away from traditional study abroad programs in favor of single semester or even shorter summer/winter programs. Undergraduate students are understandably eager to earn their degrees as soon as possible, but a great many of them will also live to see 100. Taking an extra semester means almost nothing in this larger calculus, but can be extremely significant in terms of how well students get to know another country, its people, language, and culture.


Dr. Nancy Nieman Creates a Lasting Legacy

The Dr. Nancy Dale Nieman Endowed Scholarship will provide scholarships for deserving UC students studying in Spain with a priority to community college transfer students. UCEAP is proud to be a part of Nancy's legacy and her commitment to student scholarships. 

(Spring 2017 Complutense students and Nancy Nieman at a graduation ceremony in Madrid)

Nancy has spent a lifetime in support of international education. She first visited Spain with an American Field Service Scholarship in 1956. After graduating from Beloit College, she returned to Spain and obtained her Master’s degree in Spanish from Middlebury College at the International Institute in Madrid. Twenty five years later, Nancy returned to the International Institute as the Regional Director, a highlight of her professional career!

Nancy completed her doctorate in Romance Philology at the Complutense University of Madrid. Her thesis on the playwright Alejandro Casona was given a “sobresaliente,” the highest grade for which a non-Spaniard could earn. Nancy returned to Beloit College where she taught Spanish language, literature and civilization for thirteen years and directed Beloit College’s study abroad program at the University of Granada.

In 1980, Nancy received an appointment of full-time professor of Spanish at Santa Monica College. In her twenty-six years of full-time employment at SMC, she served as Department Chair, increasing language offerings and writing the proposal that attained the Modern Language Laboratory. She directed the Overseas Study program and established programs in Korea and Spain.

An avid scuba diver, Nancy traveled the world and won many prizes for her underwater photography, including a first prize from the International Underwater Photographers Association. After retirement she continued to teach part-time and often said that if the college was short on funds, she would do it for free. Love of her subject and for her students was the driving force in her career.

In May, Nancy attended a graduation ceremony for UCEAP students at Complutense. She shared her life and career experiences with the students and UCEAP staff member Paula Ortega-Gomez.

“My memories in that building, the wonderful treatment from Paula and the Dean left me with a glow on my last evening in Madrid that is still with me. I am so happy my legacy will be supporting your program in Spain!”

If you are interested in creating a lasting legacy for UC students like Nancy, consider an estate gift. The UCEAP Legacy Society honors and recognizes individuals who make a commitment to students by including UCEAP in their estate plans. If you have made such a provision, informing us of those plans enables us to properly express our gratitude. Please note that information regarding the size or type of gift is not required. Sample bequest language is available online. For more information on bequests, please contact Elizabeth Janis Perl at 805.893.4233.

UCEAP Alumni: Stories from Beijing

Addison Yang (UCLA)  first came to China in 2015, where he spent a year participating in the Beijing Normal University and Peking University programs.

 As he puts it, “I really wanted to get some firsthand experience in a country that I have never been to before, and I chose China because U.S.-China relations at the time were moving in an interesting direction.”

During his study abroad experience, Addison interned at a think tank, the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, where he familiarized himself with China’s relations with the rest of the world. He also discovered a thriving social sector in Beijing and decided to stay and learn more about it. “Philanthropy is still really young in China, so there is a lot of room for innovation and for innovative new models of philanthropy to arise and meet social needs”, he said. Addison currently works at a social enterprise called Philanthropy in Motion, which empowers millennials with the funding, training, and networks to become mission-driven leaders and amplify their social impact. 

A lot of expats from US and other countries are doing interesting things in Beijing. Addison chose to stay mainly because of career development. “Beijing can be a bit of a small town for expats, and there are a lot of unique opportunities here to do things and engage with certain roles that you can’t get elsewhere. ” He added, “This is my first real professional experience. By starting in China, I am doing what I would have been doing back in the States, but getting the additional benefit of cultivating a unique regional expertise that might prove useful in the future.”  

“Additionally, there is certain level of challenge to living in Beijing that you don’t encounter in US. Being here toughens you, in a sense, and teaches you how to roll with the punches. From learning how to navigate a different online environment to figuring out which hole-in-the-wall restaurants are legitimately unsafe for human consumption, Beijing often has valuable life skills and experiences waiting around each corner. Moreover, as China begins to export some innovative, indigenous trends (e.g. Ofo/Mobike, WeChat), there may be a lot of China-specific experiences that will be immediately relevant to life again in the U.S.”

Addison also remarked that, in Beijing, people have an opportunity to immerse themselves in a foreign culture and develop a new understanding of themselves. “This is a real investment in better understanding China and your own background as well. I didn’t truly understand how American I was in my values, beliefs, and perspectives until I left the U.S. cultural sphere and saw it filtered through the lens of my China experience.”

When Andy Zhang (UC Berkeley) went on UCEAP in 2010, it has been ten years since his last visit to Beijing. “My time with UCEAP probably was the definite highlight in my life. I obtained a lot of practical experience,” Andy recalled. That experience helped make it possible for Andy to run his own company, CampusPM, which helps both educational institutes and non-educational companies engage with different parties in the educational sectors of Beijing. His biggest project is running the Center for Youth Business Facilities, working with the Chinese version of IKEA and encouraging entrepreneurship in high school students and angel investment opportunities for university students.

“Beijing is a mix of traditional Chinese culture versus modern vibrancy, especially for young professionals. There is a plethora of opportunities that you wouldn’t find anywhere else, and I would say Beijing is surprisingly expat-friendly.” When it comes to the internships in Beijing, Andy says there are many attractive opportunities for foreign students, especially in international business. While it can be harder to get your foot in the door at some of the larger companies, Andy advises that students “shouldn’t just go for a company because its name is recognizable, but rather go for…the skills [and the] the experience.”

In terms of the job market in Beijing, Andy says, “While Beijing can be an extremely daunting place to start off your career due to visa restrictions, it is definitely the place you really need to be if you want to do something meaningful. This is literally the capital of the world; it impacts not just the one billion people living in this country but all the 70 other countries whose economies are intertwined. Decisions here can create tremendous ripple effects.”

When DeVante Allen (UC Berkeley) arrived in China for his summer PKU program in 2012, it was the first time had ever left the United States. A Linguistics and Chinese major, DeVante wanted to know what China is really like and had interests in exploring the traditional culture, so he chose to immerse himself into the most traditional area, Beijing. The Beijing experience has brought DeVante “more than I could imagine…every single day was amazing!”

After DeVante went back to the US, he worked at UC Berkeley Study Abroad Office for two years, using his experiences to encourage other students to study abroad. Once he graduated, DeVante was eager to return to China. “All my friends went to big companies in California, but I want to do something else in the opposite side of the world.” Through contacts he made studying abroad, DeVante started his English teaching career at BNU.

Now back in the United States to pursue a graduate program in Clinical Psychology and Education at Columbia University, DeVante’s two years of teaching experience helped him better understand what role he could play in encouraging others. “For me, teaching at the university was my way of seeing how education can change lives of my students.”

Elaine Poon (UCLA) was born in Hong Kong and grew up in California, and seized the opportunity to experience life in mainland China by participating in the UCEAP Shanghai
program in 2014.

Currently Elaine is working at Beijing in an Educational Consultant company called Elites Scholars of China, helping local students apply for top universities in the US. After almost a year of working in Beijing, she said “I enjoy the atmosphere and the food very much. Beijing is such a big place, but at the same time you can still find connections with people.” She said her current position is helping her shape the direction of her future career. As a Business and Economics major with interests in the education field, her job in Beijing “is very helpful to test the waters” of future opportunities.

Elmer Chen (UCSD) used his final year at UCSD to complete the UCEAP program at Peking University in order “to make it easier to transfer to a fulltime position here in a professional capacity.”

After PKU, he started working at a luxury travel company in Beijing, working in marketing, branding and sales, before transitioning to a public relations position with an international firm based in Beijing.  Elmer enjoys embracing the unfamiliar things in life, so he chose to study at Beijing instead of Taiwan, where his parents’ hometown is. “If you want to learn more about China’s traditional culture, history and proper Mandarin pronunciation, Beijing is definitely the main place for that. If you want to learn more about China, there is no place better than Beijing.”

Elmer got a business visa when he started working, but later shifted to a work visa. “Now it’s a lot easier to get work visas after studying…the government implemented some new policies. “ After working in Beijing, Elmer said the city “gave me the sense that it’s very diverse in terms of community and the different industries. If you work in the States fresh out of graduation for the first one or two years, you are going to be doing stuff that might not necessarily feel really impactful. You just do some basic stuff. In China, the companies give new staff real responsibility pretty early on.”

Elmer will do an MBA at New York University starting this fall, where he plans to focus on management technology and operations as well as social innovation and impact. In the future, he wants to work in a consulting firm as a strategy consultant. “My time in Beijing really opened my eyes to how people are using the technologies in different places.”

UC Alumni Celebrate 50 Years of Exchange with Sweden

Last month UCEAP traveled to Sweden to celebrate our 50 year anniversary of student exchange with Lund University. Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends joined us for three days of events in commemoration of our historic partnership. Check out our photo album here.

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News & Events

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

Alumni News
Introducing UCEAP Connect

UCEAP is proud to announce the launch of UCEAP Connect, a website for UCEAP alumni and friends.

UCEAP Connect will focus on four different professional engagement and networking opportunities. Find and reminisce with fellow alumni, become a mentor for a student or young professional, stay informed about UCEAP programs and volunteer opportunities and expand your professional network. Over 1,000 alumni and friends have joined. Log on and start connecting!

2017 UCEAP Distinguished Alumni Awards

UCEAP is proud to announce Julie Osborn (Costa Rica 1991) as the 2017 recipient of the Linda Duttenhaver Distinguished Alumni Award, and Jeremy Hessler (United Kingdom 2005-2006) as the 2017 recipient of the UCEAP Emerging Leader Award.


Both alumni were honored at the annual UCEAP Alumni Awards Dinner on Thursday, June 22, held at UC Santa Barbara.Julie is the co-founder of Ecology Project International, an education non-profit that empowers youth to take an active role in conservation through hands-on field science. The program engages both local and international high school students, who come together to work collaboratively. More than 30,000 students across five countries have participated in EPI’s science and conservation programs. Julie participated in the Tropical Biology & Conservation program at the Monteverde Institute in Costa Rica, and graduated from UC Santa Barbara.Jeremy is a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, representing the United States in environmental law cases that involve endangered species and other wildlife. He also counsels federal agencies on how to best comply with environmental statutes in carrying out their missions. Jeremy studied at the Queen Mary, University of London in the United Kingdom, and graduated from UC Riverside.Julie and Jeremy both gave acceptance speeches, and shared lessons from their time abroad. Check out pictures from the event here. Congratulations to Julie and Jeremy for their outstanding contributions to their respective career fields, and for being leaders and great examples for current and future UCEAP students!

Peace Corps Mentor Program

Did you join the Peace Corps after college? We want to hear from you. UCEAP is looking for alumni who are willing to be a mentor to UC students interested in the Peace Corps. Send an email to alumni@eap.ucop.edu today!

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