HECUA
93% Rating
(22 Reviews)

HECUA

HECUA (Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs) is an NPO comprised of 22 different liberal arts colleges, universities and associations, all of which are dedicated to education for social justice, offering study abroad programs that address pressing issues in various nations and neighborhoods around the world. HECUA enriches each institution with interdisciplinary programs and activities through cross-institutional cooperation.

Most Recent Program Reviews

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Donovan
Male
22 years old
Duluth

A quick word about Italy

9/10

Spending a semester in Italy was amazing. The slow food and community oriented culture made the stay delightful and authentic. Many natives of Montespertoli were kind and welcoming as long as you were respectful. Filippo was incredibly supportive whenever we had questions or needed assistance. What I enjoyed most were the field trips we took all around Tuscany and further south. We got the privilege of experiencing the Italian countryside and wine culture at its apex with insightful natives as our guides. I also enjoyed the freedom we got on the weekends. I spent a lot of time traveling to other surrounding cities and countries. One piece of advice is to save up as much money as you can to travel in your free time. I spent a lot of time trying to decide if certain weekend trips would be worth the money but I never regretted the expenses after I made the experiences. However, contrary to many Italians, you will need to be punctual with your time. Getting to and from Montespertoli can be difficult and risky if you are negligent about the bus schedule.

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Carmen
Female
25 years old
Minneapolis, Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Studying in Tuscany!

10/10

Getting the chance to study abroad in a smaller Italian city gave us the chance to get to know some of the locals. I was lucky enough to stage at a local gelato shop, along with a few other students. The owners took the time to get to know us, helped us with our Italian, and taught us quite a bit about Italian food and culture.

At Sonnino, the teachers are very welcoming and are adaptive. They truly care about the students and the academics. We had a few classes that we were able to be outside, either learning about sharecropping, or from a local gardner. This program does provide opportunities to grow as a person as well as learn about the Italian culture and lifestyle.

How can this program be improved?

Change up the internships. A lot of students did not feel challenged and a handful of the places of the business they worked at, either didn't have much for them to do or didn't know what to do with them. Also, increase italian language classes throughout the semester.

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Emily
Female
21 years old
St. Paul
Hamline University

LOVED it!

9/10

I loved so many things about this program and miss it a TON now that I'm back at my university. This program was unique in so many ways. I was continually impressed by the level of community immersion (rather than immersion just in one university setting) that took place. I knew it was a social change program before I committed but was even more impressed once I got my feet on the ground there.

We took three really eye-opening field trips to different parts of the country. We were also able to do a lot of traveling on our own on the weekends because we had enough time and cost of living was rather inexpensive while we were there. Whenever I recount my study abroad experiences to others, they (and I!) are amazed by how much ground we covered because of the content and structure of the program.

As a group, we had fantastic homestay experiences, which helped so much with learning the language and with understanding Ecuadorian culture. My internship was rewarding in the same ways and so many more. HECUA's professors were knowledgeable about everything they taught and provided us with so much personal support through the program as well.

I absolutely absolutely ABSOLUTELY recommend this program to anyone who is interested.

How can this program be improved?

Compared to the study abroad experiences I have heard about from other students not in the HECUA program, it was a bit difficult to socialize with Ecuadorian people our own age. Some of us had host siblings that were comparable in age but, largely because my group was composed just of students from American universities, we never really had a reason to get to know people our own age, which is something really powerful. There were some opportunities, but that part was a bit difficult.

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Mary
Female
22 years old
Minneapolis, Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Falling for NZ

10/10

This program was the perfect combination of independence and community, academics and career building, travel and finding a place to call home on the other side of the world.

The professors are some of the most caring and inspiring I have ever had, allowing me to pursue topics I was interested in, challenge what I thought I was capable, adapt to my overall needs and help achieve whatever I set my mind to.

The program is beautifully designed to show you slices of beauty across New Zealand as you travel the first month and build relationships with your fellow students and teachers. It makes the moment you arrive in your homestay in Wellington so much sweeter as you revel in finally unpacking your suitcase at your homestay. I was lucky enough to intern at Conscious Consumers and inch closer to the kinds of careers I want post-graduation as well as getting a taste of what it could really be like to live and work abroad.

As we were saying goodbye, one of my coworkers commented that "New Zealand tends to get its hook in people". I didn't realize until I came home home much the country and its inhabitants really have touched me in a way that begs to draw me back.

How can this program be improved?

The laid back "kiwi-time" is a hard adjustment for students used to straight- forward schedules and hard deadlines. I loved the opportunity to relax and enjoy the journey a but more than university back home allows but I know others wished for a lot more structure.

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Cassidy
Female
21 years old
MN
Macalester College

Meaningful experiential education

9/10

My trip with HECUA to New Zealand was transformative. Going into it, I thought I would get an environmental and cultural education; however, it was so much more than that. The program is set up in such a way that really immerses you in New Zealand culture and the issues you are studying. You get a wide range of views and opinions by visiting permaculture farms, staying with indigenous Maori and talking to policymakers. The program taught me how to change my perspective, shift away from my traditional western views to consider issues like dairy farming and renewable energy from local indigenous perspectives. There is a nice combination of travelling and homestay, because you get to see a large amount of New Zealand while also forming stronger connections in Wellington with your host family and internship. As a Psychology/Educational Studies double major, I was not sure if this program was a great fit, however its inclusive and holistic nature makes it applicable to all areas of study. I really recommend it!

How can this program be improved?

I think that this program could use a little more organization, though its spontaneity does add to the organic experiential feel to it. I also think that classes while in Wellington could be structured more effectively.

Program Listings

New Zealand

HECUA
New Zealand has long been at the forefront of innovative social, cultural and environmental practices. In this program studen...

Ecuador

HECUA
HECUA offers students the chance to study abroad next J-Term in Ecuador with the Social and Political Transformation program....

Italy

HECUA
Unpack the Slow Food movement’s motto of “good, clean, and fair.” Explore how the business of food affects the health and wea...

Ecuador

HECUA
HECUA offers a study abroad program that combines 20 hr/week community-based internships, small seminar-style discussion, and...

Northern Ireland

HECUA
HECUA provides internships in Northern Ireland coupled with a full semester of study. Field seminars focus on human rights, e...

Norway

HECUA
Norway is known for its highly developed welfare state, immense oil and gas wealth, and global leadership on human rights. Un...

United States of America

HECUA
The summer of 2014 saw the beginning of a dramatic shift in public conversation around race in the United States. As the trag...