The UCs as World Nations

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Illustrated by Bridget Rios

Janice Luong

Opinions Editor

If you’re a student of the University of California (UC) system, you’ve perhaps thought of this elite collection of schools as a cohesive, well-oiled, and fine-tuned machine (L.O.L!). But if the last minute changes on return-to-campus policies and differences in leadership style have shown us anything with the surge of the Omicron variant, it’s that the UC Office of the President acts more like a type of United Nations: grand, all-encompassing, yet toothless when it comes to setting standards to how its participants should act. 

It begs the question: If each UC was a nation of the world, what nation would each be? Here is this writer’s take: 

UC San Francisco – Liechtenstein

This is a nation that likes to separate itself from the rest. It has a small population of very elite, well-educated people who do not like to mix with the commoners (undergraduates). They are well known for what they do. 

UC Hastings – Switzerland

Also one of those very “exclusive” nations that are partially in and partially out of the system due to a commitment to neutrality. This law school is a UC really in-name-only. It is not governed by the UC Regents but, instead, has a separate board of directors.

UC Berkeley – United Kingdom

UC Berkeley is the oldest of the group and strives to distinguish itself from its legacy. The other UCs all began as “colonies” of this flagship before making names for themselves in their own right. Although its subjects have a reputation for being pompous and elitist, they actually get by with self-deprecating humor. One can argue that this entity gets by only by clinging to its reputation and long-lasting old glory of days past.

UC Los Angeles (UCLA) – United States

UCLA is the newer, wealthier campus that began as an offshoot of the original crown but has arguably eclipsed its predecessor in notoriety and prestige. Despite being very proud to distinguish itself, it has become somewhat of a legacy institution itself. Nevertheless, UCLA students are loud and proud, and they love to call themselves number one! 

UC Davis – Canada

UC Davis students, just like Canadians, are known for being friendly and hardworking. Though the Aggies don’t care as much about prestige as some other UC campuses, they definitely command a great deal of respect for their research, science and technology accomplishments, and community outreach.

UC Santa Barbara – Brazil

UC Santa Barbara is a beach party school where people don’t mind getting a bit crazy. But don’t let that reputation get in the way of the amazing natural beauty of the area. Beyond the maritime research that happens here, there is quite a mix of quality academic programs and avant-garde research happening here.

UC Santa Cruz – Spain

Nestled next to the ocean, this small community likes a more relaxed pace. Though it’s not going to try to pretend to be exactly like the other UCs, maybe that’s okay. This location is often known for its quality of life, and that is worth something in its own right! 

UC Riverside – Thailand

Watch out for the next big economic boom from this location! People here love partying as much as they love their academics. It is known as a location where people like their fitness, their food, and their school all equally.

UC San Diego – South Korea

Much like South Korea, this location is highly educated, technologically advanced, and wealthy; and their undergraduate students’ starting salaries are only rivaled by the likes of UC Berkeley and UCLA. 

UC Irvine – Japan

Clean, refined, and proper, UC Irvine has many similarities to Japan. Though the campus is not an island, per se, it is definitely insular, and people generally commute to this school. 

UC Merced – Iceland 

Often a location and school that is unfortunately forgotten about, this place is not to be underestimated for its natural beauty and location. The nearby sights at Yosemite can be compared to the Icelandic Fjords. Though in order to really get a sense of it, you’ll have to visit yourself!