Staff Spotlight: Justine Toro

Study Abroad Advisor


Did you study abroad? If so, where?

I studied on an exchange program through my home university, San Jose State University, at the University College Dublin, in Dublin, Ireland.

I chose Ireland because my favorite book is Gone With The Wind so studying abroad in Ireland was a dream turned reality. I studied for the full academic year, and I’m so glad I did! During my second semester I went from being a ‘tourist’ to a ‘local’, I did better academically, and I was able to travel more. A win-win!

What is your favorite travel memory?

My senior year of high school I was really close friends with a German exchange student.

When I went to Ireland, I spent my Christmas break in Germany with her and her family. It was so amazing because I was able to spend two weeks with them, and it felt like a mini-host family. I got to experience their family’s German Christmas traditions, which was great because I was a little sad about spending Christmas away from my own family.

Her family was the absolute sweetest and even bought me some Christmas presents. We are still in touch to this day, and my friend and her family have visited me in the U.S. multiple times since then.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Before I studied abroad, I had never thought of working in international education as a career - I was a fine arts major.

I love hearing about students that come back from their study abroad with a passion for helping others that have the same life-changing experience and get involved in international education as a career.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

There’s no way I could pick just one! I’d start with doing our summer I&II terms in Havana, Cuba, then the year at our Vaxjo, Sweden program. I’d break up the year by doing our January term in Alicante, Spain.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

There are so many people at USAC that have a hand in making our programs great. Each person that contributes solidly believes in the power of studying abroad and is working at USAC to genuinely make a difference.

A vibe like that makes it easy to get out of bed and go to work each morning. Our team also likes to have fun at work and our monthly birthday potlucks or annual Halloween contest can’t be beat!