The IP (International Programs) is offered through the California State University system. It has been operating since 1963 and is headquartered in Long Beach. Students from all the different California State Universities can apply to the program, just as I have from Cal State Bakersfield. They strive to keep the programs costs abroad similar to costs of going to school here and is focused towards a full academic year abroad studying. To qualify for admission you have to be upper division by the time you depart. Another qualification is students interested in applying must maintain a GPA of at least 2.75 or 3.00, depending on what country a student decides on. There are also other possible criteria depending on the individual country and university abroad. The IP program is partnered with many other universities all over the world.
Now there are varying sizes of California State Universities, each with their own variety of classes and majors. In my case Cal State Bakersfield is one of the smaller universities with about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students. From what I have heard, there hasn’t been much activity with students at Cal State Bakersfield looking to study abroad in past years, likely a combination of lack of available information and the preconception students have that studying abroad is out of reach for them. During the last barrage of students going abroad through the program only one student went abroad from Cal State Bakersfield.
However, this past year Cal State Bakersfield obtained a new International Programs Director. This new director, herself from another country, set about educating the campus about the programs and garnering interest. I mentioned in my previous post that she approached me about the possibility of studying in Japan. Certainly she brought the opportunity up to the right student. I’m the first student from Cal State Bakersfield to be accepted into the Japan program ever. I’m not the only person who applied for a program and got accepted. Seven other students applied for various programs and all were accepted, three for the Spain program, two for France (Though one person had to drop due to financial issues), one for the UK, and one for Ghana. This is in addition to my going to Japan. This just shows how powerful accessible information is and getting the word out, dispelling the misconceptions. A huge difference from the year before.