7 Ways to Broaden Your Perspective at UC Davis

A study abroad student kayaks in Vietnam
Study abroad is a great way to broaden your perspective. Here a student kayaks in Vietnam. (Courtesy photo)

At UC Davis, you are part of a community of thousands of individuals who have many perspectives and identities. Challenge yourself to broaden your perspective and immerse yourself in the UC Davis community. Here are seven ways you can do just that:


An instructor and two students prepare to launch a mall rocket
For a First-Year Seminar on rocket science, lecturer William Tavernetti, left, helps students Angela Ilagan (center) and Skye Tao prepare for takeoff.  (Joe Proudman/UC Davis photo)

1. Enroll in a First-Year Seminar

First-Year Seminars provide an intimate setting where students can challenge their critical thinking skills and engage with their peers and professors on topics of shared interest. Over 200 freshman seminar courses, for one or two units, are offered every year. Among those for winter and spring quarters are:

  • World Music as a Means to embrace Diversity and Reach Self-Discovery
  • Readings in Personal Growth and Interpersonal Dynamics
  • Global Poverty: Think Big, Start Small

The seminars require students to have completed 45 or fewer units; however, during the Pass 2 stage of registration, students up to senior standing can enroll as well.

An employer and student talk at a career fair
Students can connect with any of the hundreds of employers represented at the career and internship fairs on campus. (Debbie Aldridge/UC Davis photo)

2. Explore career options early

Explore career options early through Career Discovery Groups (CDG), offered by the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES), and the programs and resources of the Internship and Career Center (ICC).

The CDG program introduces new freshmen and transfer students to an array of potential career paths through seminars, classes and other special events including a “career speed dating” event. The program assigns students to small groups with a mentor and up to 20 peers who share similar interests for career discovery. Students perform career assessments, meet with professionals and alumni, and take field trips to learn hands-on about various careers.

Take advantage of all that the ICC has to offer. The career research section of the center's website suggests ways to go about your research. You can drop in for 15 minutes or schedule an appointment to meet with an adviser. The center's library in 215 South Hall has career-related books and resources. The ICC also offers workshops and career fairs each quarter (upcoming fair dates: Jan. 25, March 1 and April 12). Information on workshops and specific events is available on the center's website.

Men playing water polo
In the water or on the playing field, students can participate in a variety of intramural sports. (Paul Dorn/UC Davis photo)

3. Get out of your comfort zone

Get involved in the UC Davis community through intramurals. The Campus Recreation and Unions’ Intramural Sports program offers more than 27 intramural activities for students and employees. During winter quarter, pretend to be Harry Potter and play on a Quidditch team as teams battle to snatch the golden snitch. Registration begins Jan. 8.

Or stroll through one of our three art museums on campus to discover our latest exhibitions of design, art and culture. The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art opens Nov. 13.

 A student jumping off dock at a lake near Florence, Italy
A UC Davis student studying in Italy jumps off a dock at a lake near Florence. (Courtesy photo)

4. Study abroad

Our Study Abroad programs offer students an opportunity to expand their horizons — literally. You can experience new cultures, explore new interests and make lifelong friends without pressing pause on an academic career.

The Study Abroad Office offers quarter-long programs during fall and spring. Among the spring offerings is a program in London where students can receive class units while taking part in an internship.

The deadline to apply for spring 2017 programs is Dec. 2. UC Davis also offers approximately 40 faculty-led summer abroad programs.

Students work with spaghetti and marshmallows for a team-building exercise
Students work on a team-building exercise in a workshop offered through the Center for Leadership Learning. (Courtesy photo)

5. Get to know yourself a little better

Attend a free workshop presented by the Center for Leadership Learning.  These interactive workshops create an environment for students to develop personal, professional and communication skills. The upcoming workshops include:

  • Forming an Inclusive Team – Nov. 15
  • Staying Resilient in a Chaotic, Divisive and Tension Filled World — Nov. 16
  • Strengths, Challenges, Growth: Identifying the Color of Your Cape — Nov. 17

The workshop schedule is on the website.

The center offers three optional certificate programs that focus on leadership development, professional development and diversity leadership development.

Three members of the Popping Club dancing
The Popping Club, a freestyle-oriented dance group originating from funk-dance style, performs at Picnic Day. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis photo)

6. Meet new friends

There are over 800 clubs and organizations on campus - varying from social to recreational to cultural and many more. Use these clubs as opportunities to volunteer with an organization, explore new interests, develop leadership or career skills, and make new friends.

 The Hidden Battle for the World Food System
Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, is the focus of this year's Campus Community Book Project. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis photo)

7. Challenge yourself through reading

Go beyond your course reading lists. Participate in this year's Campus Community Book Project with activities built around Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System by Raj Patel. Discover a new author at the Campus Store, which has a special collection of over 165 books written by campus and local authors. Or check out one of these suggestions from the University Library:

  • The Dream of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa – This historical fiction is based on the life of Roger Casement, who fought for human rights from the Amazon to his native Ireland.
  • Maus by Art Spiegelman – is widely recognized as the book that launched the first-person graphic narrative as a genre and is part of the library’s growing collection in graphic novels.
  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck –  The author uses over 20 years of research on our mindset and mental world to reveal how creative geniuses in all fields — music, literature, science, sports and business — apply the growth mindset to achieve results.

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Nicole Gelfand, Strategic Communications

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