5 Ways to Get a Global Perspective for Better Career Options

The La Huaylla, Peru Implementation trip, summer of 2017.
The La Huaylla, Peru Implementation trip, summer of 2017. Travelers painted a mural with the kids at the local school house, which read "Agua es Vida," meaning "Water is Life." (The Peru2018 Travel Team/UC Davis)

We’ve all heard it said: The world is getting smaller.

With cheaper and more efficient modes of transportation and various forms of social media, the movement of people and exchange of ideas is faster and easier than ever before. Globalization brings with it challenges and opportunities to ensure that resources are used sustainably, issues of social and economic justice are considered and addressed, and individual intellectual freedoms are upheld.

Increasingly, employers are looking for students who understand these challenges and embrace the opportunities. So, how can students prepare for professional and personal success in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world?

Here are five of the many ways to gain a global perspective, open doors to new career options and make friends along the way:

Take a class with a global perspective

Jordan Lara enjoyed "Introduction to Chicanx Studies" so much he decided to combine his animal biology major with a double major in Chicanx studies
Jordan Lara enjoyed "Introduction to Chicanx Studies" so much he decided to combine his animal biology major with a double major in Chicanx studies. (Jordan Lara/UC Davis)

UC Davis offers numerous classes — and even a minor in global and international studies — focused on learning about other cultures, a new language, and/or the links between biological/physical sciences and societal issues.

Classes that provide global perspective

Jordan Lara enjoyed “Introduction to Chicanx Studies” so much he decided to combine his animal biology major with a double major in Chicanx studies.

“Learning about Chicanx history and culture really resonated with me,” Lara said. “The topic really guided what I want to do with my career. I am interested in pharmaceutical/drug design, and learning about Chicanx culture helped me to understand how health care and pharmaceutical costs impact communities.”

Participate in a research project that addresses global challenges

Research projects offer experience in your discipline and can have a direct impact on our local and/or global community. Visit the Undergraduate Research Center for options or ask faculty members about research experiences in their laboratories, studios and programs.

Get involved in our diverse campus community

You don’t have to travel around the world to gain a global perspective. Our campus is home to thousands of students, scholars, staff and faculty, who are from more than 110 countries.

There are countless ways to meet new people and engage in diverse cultures:

  • Attend a cultural night, watch an international film or participate in lectures and discussions at the International House Davis.
  • Join a student club or organization that helps you deepen your knowledge of your own culture(s) or exposes you to others.   
  • Visit the Cross Cultural Center and learn out about various campus cultural communities and how to be an ally.
  • Share your experiences or learn about the experiences of others at Global Engagement Mondays and International Cafes hosted by Services for International Students and Scholars in Global Affairs, or become a Global Ambassador.
  • Attend a performance at the Mondavi Center. Or attend a performance of a UC Davis group, such as Gamelan Ensemble, Hindustani Vocal Ensemble or Samba School.
  • Participate in a workshop on Chinese calligraphy, learn about tea culture, or take a Chinese cooking class through the Confucius Institute at UC Davis in Global Affairs.
  • Attend an event or workshop through the Office of Campus Dialog and Deliberation.
  • Participate in International Education Week, which has been hosted in the fall at UC Davis for 15 years and includes events that celebrate international education and exchange.
  • Host an international/intercultural potluck and invite friends to bring a food from their culture.
UC Davis students during the Nepal Seminar Abroad
UC Davis students during the Nepal Seminar Abroad. (Liz McAllister/UC Davis)


This has been an experience beyond words, and I have learned a lot about people, myself and community. I know that I will be back to Nepal. When? Why? I don’t know, but I will definitely come back…

Nepal Seminar Abroad Participant Journal Entry

Winter Break 2017-2018

Take on a service learning project

Take your classroom learning to real-world applications and gain an awareness of issues that are facing our communities:

The Peru Travel Team in La Huaylla, Peru
The Peru Travel Team in La Huaylla. (The Peru2018 Travel Team/UC Davis)

At UC Davis, the Engineers without Borders program is working to improve water distribution systems in communities in Peru, Bolivia and Indonesia. Civil engineering major Valerie Yanez, who volunteers with the program, said “I enjoy the opportunity to work on projects that can have a great impact on others around the world.”

“I have learned to really listen to the ideas of others and to work with communities to implement their own solutions. The projects have been a great way for me to improve skills that will be necessary when entering the workforce, including teamwork, project management, leadership, communication, budgeting and much more,” Yanez said.

Explore the world and study abroad

Experience firsthand another country or another part of the United States as it has been shaped by global influences through Study Abroad in Global Affairs. Programs span the academic year, from Quarters Abroad to Summers Abroad, and even shorter 10-day to 3-week Seminars Abroad during summer and winter breaks. Some involve study at another university, while others focus on community-engaged project work.

If you’re thinking about a study away experience, talk with the financial aid office about financial support and make sure to meet with an academic advisor in your major — often you can earn units that will apply to your degree.


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