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APRU Undergraduate Leaders Program

Peter Cowhey, Dean of the School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), has committed to sponsor one International Studies Program student to attend the 11th APRU Undergraduate Leaders Program (formally known as APRU Undergraduate Summer Program). This fellowship will cover round-trip transportation to/from The University of Sydney, and the conference registration fee.  All transportation arrangements will be made through GPS.

APRU 2017

The University of Sydney will be hosting the 11th APRU Undergraduate Leaders Program from July 9 - July 19, 2018, with the theme: "Leadership for Good: Forging a Vision and Changing Lives for the Better"

The APRU Undergraduate Leaders Program (ULP) is a program with 40-60 student leaders from multi-disciplinary fields. Generally focusing on the strengths of the host economy and university, leadership development and current relevant topics across the region, the theme of the program differs from year to year.

ULP 2018 aims to allow students from APRU member universities to:

  • Enhance the international experience of students from APRU member universities
  • Raise students’ awareness on issues affecting the globe in multi-disciplinary and multi-national contexts
  • Encourage students to reflect on how they can better fulfil their role as global citizens, and explore innovative ways to tackle the global challenges through concerted efforts

Program activities include theme-related lectures, keynote seminars, workshops, and social and cultural activities which culminate in a final project presentation summarizing their experiences throughout the program. These activities are designed to develop students’ key competencies and leadership skills while providing them with the chance to exchange and interact with other students from the Asia-Pacific region.

ISP application deadline has closed.  Please check back for 2019 deadline!

Eligibility and Requirements

Application for the 11th APRU Undergraduate Leaders Program is required.  Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Current International Studies major or BA/MIA student
  • Junior/Senior standing
    • Unfortunately this opportunity is not available to graduating seniors. Continuing students must enroll in the following fall quarter to qualify for APRU.
  • Major GPA:  3.5 or higher
    • Major GPA is calculated from upper division major coursework only
  • Cover letter: Please explain your interest in attending APRU Undergraduate Leaders Program and how it will contribute to your professional career goal
  • Resume
  • One letter of recommendation

Application Information and Deadline

ISP application deadline has closed.  Please check back for 2019 deadline!

Interested applicants must apply through the International Studies Program by submitting an online and hard copy application.

Note: Students with questions or concerns regarding eligibility should contact the ISP Undergraduate Advisor at isp@ucsd.edu

Check out photos from the 2017 Undergraduate Leaders' Program in Russia!


International Studies Student Experiences:

2017: Far Eastern Federal University, Vladivostok, Russia

Student: Cassidy Shapiro
Major: International Studies – Political Science

Attending the 10th annual APRU ULP this past July was an incredible opportunity that I am honored to have participated in. The program, which took place at the Far Eastern Federal University in the city of Vladivostok, Russia, was titled “Global Challenges for New Generations in the Asia-Pacific Region” with a core focus on the second generation of global sustainability goals. Through various seminars, lectures, and guided activities, we studied the concept of sustainability in the global context in depth.  The program brought together students from around the globe with varying backgrounds and areas of expertise, which allowed for the development of constructive, dynamic, and innovative methods to solve global challenges such as poverty, sustainable consumption, and climate change. We were also given the opportunity to experience Russian culture through a guided tour of Vladivostok, cultural activities such as matryoshka painting, and a cooking class where me made pelmeni (Russian dumplings) from scratch. Upon completion of the program, we presented cross-culturally viable sustainability projects in groups to FEFU students and faculty.

Without a doubt, the most valuable part of attending this program was the experience of working with other students with numerous cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, and languages. While the other students and I had many differences, they felt insignificant compared to what we had in common—a passion for collaboration, a desire to develop diplomatic skills, and an eagerness to challenge global problems despite their magnitude. Above all, I was struck by the kindness of the other students and the absence of barriers not only in program activities, but also in developing friendships. I have no doubt that I will remain friends with several of the people I met during this program.

The two weeks I spent in Russia have truly impacted me and shown me just how important a program like ISP is in today’s world. To tackle the most pressing challenges we face, global collaboration is a necessity and cannot be undervalued. The knowledge I gained and the various ways in which I have grown through participating in this program have validated all that ISP has taught me, supplemented my academic education with practical experience, and enlarged my understanding of internationally based work. I would like to thank ISP and GPS for sponsoring my participation in this program and for providing me the honor of representing our university. If you are a student in ISP, I highly encourage you to apply for future opportunities like APRU.

2016: Tecnológico de Monterrey, Puebla, Mexico

Student: Clara Bird
Major: International Studies - Political Science

This July I had the honor of representing UCSD at the 9th annual APRU Undergraduate Leadership Program, "INSPIRE: Next Generation of Innovators".  The program was hosted at Tecnológico de Monterrey in the beautiful city of Puebla, México. Sixty-three students participated from eleven Pacific-Rim nations including Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States. We attended lectures on business development, innovation/design thinking, and presentation methods as well as local art, culture, and history. We worked in teams to promote local welfare through the development of business, products, service, and experiential designs.  We also explored cultural landmarks in Puebla, nearby Cholula, and México City. Several highlights include the Teotihuacán pyramids, Museo de Antropología, and Catedral Metropolitana.  We concluded the program by presenting our solutions for improving social welfare to the students and faculty of the APRU program as well as local business leaders, investors, and government officials.

This program is easily one of the most spectacular experiences of my entire academic education. I learned an enormous amount about innovation, business development, and Mexican culture and politics. I also learned a lot about the other nations that were represented in the program. The aspect that I cherish the most about this program, however, are the friendships that I gained. This program provided an opportunity to really get to know people from all over the world. I am already devising plans to visit several of them next summer. This was truly an unforgettable experience and it has inspired me to consider opportunities that, before the start of the program, I had not given serious attention to.

I want to thank the International Studies Program and the School of Global Policy and Strategy for sponsoring this experience.  I highly encourage all students majoring in International Studies to apply for the program!

2015: University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Student: John Chisholm
Major: International Studies - Political Science

This August, I had the opportunity to represent UCSD at the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) 8th Annual Undergraduate Summer Program (USP).  The theme of the program was: Developing Future Global Leaders of the Pacific Rim—The Different Facets of Leadership.  APRU is an organization comprised of leading universities from around the Pacific Rim, founded in order to advance cooperation and cultural exchanges between academic institutions along the Pacific Rim.  The conference was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and brought together over 50 participants from APRU universities.  My two weeks in Malaysia were a blend of workshops on leadership practices, lectures by leaders in global NGOs, businesses and development funds, and concluded with group leadership presentations by USP students.  Our program  incorporated classes in  traditional Malaysian dance and music, and, believe me, our group of delegates quickly became close friends as we stumbled through our dance steps. At the end of our program, we toured the rapidly modernizing and architecturally vibrant city of Kuala Lumpur, and had the opportunity to see how many Malaysians live in a two-day homestay in the historic city of Malacca.

The most important aspect of the APRU USP for me was the opportunity to build a global network among the inspiring and passionate students I met in my program.  A National University of Singapore student shared with me that his curriculum, South East Asian Studies, requires him to study at a different South East Asian university every semester, allowing him to constantly engage other cultures and perspectives in and outside of the classroom.  Another student runs a (very popular) “Humans of Thailand” Facebook page, curating the experiences and perspectives of Thai university students.  One of my group presentation members from the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey has already begun development on a mobile app that connects blood donors to blood banks across Mexico.  Having the opportunity to connect with these types of future leaders from around the world, so early on as an undergraduate student, is an opportunity unique to the APRU USP.

My time in Malaysia underlined  for me the importance of a global perspective for our next generation of leaders.  The world will only become more global, and being able to navigate the variety of cultures, perspectives and points of view in this emerging world is essential to leading in any capacity after graduation.  For IS majors, having the opportunity to ground coursework in practical experiences, such as APRU USP, is especially vital for understanding how complex and interconnected the issues our world faces really are.  I am grateful for this opportunity and I would like to thank the International Studies Program and School of Global Policy and Strategy for sponsoring my APRU experience.  I highly encourage all ISP students to apply for the next APRU USP in Monterrey, Mexico. 

2014: Nanjing University, China

apru 2014 nanjing, china

Student: Angela Luh
Major: International Studies - Political Science

This summer, I attended the 7th annual Undergraduate Summer Program hosted by the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), an organization that gathers academic institutions from the West Coast, like UCSD, and Asia to further educational, political, and economics cooperation. The conference was held at Nanjing University in China with about 40 participants.  Our daily schedule included lectures given by visiting faculty members of APRU, round-table discussions, and collaboration opportunities with other students. The last two days were dedicated to exploring the vibrant (and very hot) city of Nanjing and its rich history, preserved even in the face of increasing modernization.

Among the many things I gained from the program, the most significant was simply learning from the narratives of different students. A University of Tokyo senior shared that he expected 9 am-to-12 am work days post graduation.  My groupmate from National Taiwan University shared that Taiwan's declining economy impacted its educational system, causing an outflow of professors, and consequently students. Major Chinese universities are becoming more progressive with the inclusion of religious and LGBT student organizations, according to my Nanjing University roommate.

Gaining a broader perspective on social and cultural differences and developments in the world is an essential part of being an IS major. Knowledge of other countries' standards and how the United States could improve will benefit every IS-related career and life in general. I want to extend my appreciation to ISP and IR/PS for this great and memorable opportunity and would highly encourage students to apply to similar programs in the future.

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