Laura Penaranda

Study Abroad Peer Advisor

Hello everyone! My name is Laura Penaranda and I am a third year International Relations major. When I started Davis I knew that I wanted and needed to travel as much as possible. I found that Davis offers an unlimited amount of abroad opportunities available to students of all years and all interests. From 4 week programs around the world through UC Davis Summer Abroad to yearlong immersion programs to universities across the globe through UCEAP, there is something for everyone!

In Spring 2015 of my sophomore year, I went on exchange to University College Utrecht in the Netherlands through the UC Education Abroad Program. I had the best semester of my life living in a small city 30 minutes from Amsterdam on a tiny international campus of 700 students. The program was an immersion-based program so I took classes in English with the students of my host university. The college is liberal arts based and offered small seminar style discussion classes with around 20 students. The courses were interactive as my Dutch 17th Century Art History classes went on field trips to museums across Holland. Campus is very lively and active with loads of committees to join as well as weekly campus wide events. Utrecht became my home away from home and I still miss campus every day.

In addition to life at UCU, I took advantage of free weekends to travel through Europe. I grew accustomed to overnight buses and RyanAir flights in order to experience many different European cities. I spent spring break eating churros and chocolate and venturing through the Prado Museum in Madrid. I explored Budapest and enjoyed the outdoor Easter markets as well as touring the Danube. I flew to London and saw Les Miserables live and wandered past Buckingham Palace. I celebrated the end of finals with a Greek Island hopping adventure. I love the feeling of being in a new city, meeting new people and trying new foods.

A few months after finishing my exchange at UCU, I went to Bielefeld, Germany to work on a British military base as a camp counselor for the children of the military families through a program called Camp Adventure. I had such a positive experience living and working in Germany. I feel the need to constantly travel to new places and spend as much time as possible abroad. After my program in Germany ended, I went back to University College Utrecht to visit friends and pretend I was still studying abroad because of the connections I made during my exchange.

If you have any questions and would like to find the best abroad experiences for you, feel free to email me or stop by UC Davis Study Abroad to learn more! We would love to help you discover your perfect program! Viva Hollandia!