Renaissance Scholars

Dear Renaissance Scholars, 

We are so excited to support you on your Study Away journey and would like to congratulate you on all of your hard work so far. We understand that it can feel difficult and isolating beginning this journey, but we want to let you know that you have your university family behind you. You are not alone. For any insight, information, support, or resources you feel that you may need in order to thrive while studying away, be sure to connect with us at the UC Santa Cruz Study Abroad office. Taking this leap into intercultural education can be a catalyst for your personal, professional, and academic development and we are so proud of you for wanting to take this step. Now, let’s talk about getting you started on this new and exciting chapter in your life.

What is a Renaissance Scholar?

A Renaissance scholar is a student who has experienced separation or estrangement from family networks. The common thread among this community is strength in navigating significant hardships. Renaissance scholars include students who have had experiences as foster youth, orphans, or wards of the court; homelessness; violence or neglect in their homes; parents or guardians with severe mental illness or substance abuse; those who have been pushed out of their homes due to their gender identity or sexual orientation; or those who have been impacted by incarceration or forcible separation from family due to deportation.

Academic Planning

Did you know that the UC is recognized globally as a top university and that while you are abroad or away, people will recognize you as a top student of a prestigious and rigorous university? This will unlock access to new learning, research, internship, and volunteer opportunities. And in turn, these new experiences will open up a world of endless possibilities for you. 

Most study away programs are non-competitive, (though some might be limited capacity) meaning that you are not competing against anyone for your spot in a program. Simply make sure you are eligible by looking over the program’s eligibility requirements. These requirements will always include class standing (based on the number of credits you have on your transcript, not your year) and cumulative GPA. Sometimes they might have other requirements, such as course prerequisites, language level, and language GPA, for example. 

To get started, make an academic plan that matches your academic goals. Decide what you want to get your undergraduate degree in and learn what classes are required, when they have to be taken, how long it will take to execute this plan, and how you can fit study away into all of this. On a Study Away program, you can receive major, minor, GE, or elective credit - it really is up to you what you want to get out of the program and do with your time away.  

Next, start exploring the different program type options on the UCSC Study Abroad website, and be sure that you choose a program that matches your academic, personal, and professional goals. Does the program offer coursework in your major if you need upper-division elective major credit, or coursework that will count toward GE credit, or internship or research opportunities? What about an opportunity to practice your language skills? You should choose a program not only because it’s in a place you desire to go, but one that will serve you academically, personally, and professionally - this way you are sure to get a well-rounded experience.

If you’d like to learn more about support for Renaissance Scholars, please visit smithsociety.ucsc.edu and STARS. STARS has a Renaissance Scholars program coordinator dedicated to ensuring your success at UCSC and through your study abroad journey!

UCEAP tip: You should check the course descriptions listed on the UCEAP program pages or UCEAP Course Catalog to preview what coursework might be offered and what requirements and opportunities the courses might cover. If you want to see what coursework might fulfill GE requirements while you’re away, you can check out the UCSC Campus Credit Abroad Database.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

While Study Away programs were historically designed for students of high socioeconomic backgrounds, we want to let you know that as a UC student, you have the financial resources and academic support to make your Study Away dreams a possibility. Did you know that for UC Study Away programs, your financial aid package goes with you and is redesigned to meet program costs? This means that regardless of where you go in the world under a UC Study Away program, you could receive the same percentage of financial aid that you receive already for attending UC Santa Cruz. Whether your financial aid package covers about 90%, 75%, 40%, or another percentage of your undergraduate costs, know that a similar percentage coverage can go with you on a UC Study Away program. Our campus here at UC Santa Cruz is one of a few UC campuses where you can request an estimate for a financial aid package designed for a Study Away program. Once you receive an estimate, you can make a program budget sheet to determine out of pocket costs and plan accordingly. There are many Study Away scholarships for which to apply as well. Look for scholarships ahead of time, make note of deadlines, and apply to any and all scholarships that you qualify for.

Therapy and Counseling

If you are a student currently receiving assistance for your mental wellness and are considering participating in a study abroad or away program, you should speak to your professional mental health care provider about studying away. If you are a student not yet receiving support or assistance for your mental wellness needs yet, consider reaching out to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)  here at UC Santa Cruz. You can prepare for your time away by beginning counseling sessions either on-campus or getting a referral for an off-campus therapist. You can decide with your current mental-health care provider if you should continue seeking support while on your study abroad or away and search for therapists in the local area while you are living away. If you choose to continue seeking support while away, you can request that your current health care provider offer a report to your next therapist so you can continue receiving treatment. 

Health Insurance

All students must have domestic health insurance, even while they are out of the country. You must continue receiving domestic coverage either by UC SHIP or a private health care provider. 

International Health Insurance

While you will have a domestic health care coverage plan, you will also have an international health care plan. You will receive international health insurance coverage through UCSC Study Abroad or your program provider (depending on the type of program you participate in), but you may also seek supplemental insurance by an international health insurance agency. Any health care needs not met by the international health care plan provided must be paid out of pocket. Check to see what mental health services are covered and make a decision about what other support you may need to cover your mental wellness. 

Note: Your international health care will only cover your health care needs while outside of the U.S.

Types of International Health Insurance Based by Program Provider


Study Abroad or Away Doesn’t Have to be International:
Programs in the U.S. 

Do know that there are also study abroad or away programs in the U.S. to choose from. Such programs include those designed for all UC Students during the academic year: UCDC, UC Sacramento,  UC Ecology and Natural Reserves Program, and the UC Intercampus Visitor Program. UCSC offers USA Exchanges at universities in the U.S. There are also UC Summer Away options offered in the U.S. And lastly, there are some Independent Programs in the U.S. as well, including Spanish Studies Abroad in Puerto Rico, IES Abroad Summer Internship in New York City, CIS Abroad in Hawaii, and CIEE Summer Global Internships in Boston,  San Francisco, and New York.

Resources 

Contact Us

If you’d like to learn more about the Renaissance Scholars, please visit the smithsociety.ucsc.edu and stars.ucsc.edu.