University Studies Abroad Consortium

USAC

About

USAC is a non-profit consortium of U.S. universities that collaborates to offer affordable, academic and authentic study abroad programs. There are abundant opportunities to immerse in the culture, history, and academics of other countries providing an unforgettable experience. Each program is designed to help you grow into an engaged citizen of the world—not only through academic experiences, but also through field trips, internships, volunteering, and service learning.

Students can choose from programs in over 50 cities across 28 countries, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and Oceania. Students can enroll to study abroad with USAC for summer, semester, an entire academic year, or winter session.

Website
usac.edu
Headquarters

University Studies Abroad Consortium
University of Nevada Mail Stop 0323
Reno, NV 89557-0323
United States

Scholarships

USAC Scholarships
USAC Scholarships and Financial Aid

USAC awards over $2 million in scholarships and discounts each year to assist students with their study abroad expenses.

Value
$500 - $1,000

Apply for Spring/January Study Abroad by November 1

Choose your experience! Spend at spring or January term taking courses, interning, volunteering, and enhancing your resume with a study abroad in one of 53 program locations across the world.

Reviews

Default avatar
Andy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had a great time in Cork studying at the UCC. My program was short term, I studied there in five weeks in the summer. The program was amazing and the classes they offered during the short period were immersive and interesting. Each class had a mandatory field trip you must attend, the two I attended were interesting. The people I met in the program from other schools I still talk to today. Even with the program being short term and semi-intensive I still had opportunities to enjoy Ireland and travel while also receiving good grades. I highly recommend the summer program for anyone who is interested in a short term program in Ireland.You will experience so many things in the country that you never thought about, you will learn so much more about the country and yourself. I had a great time with great people while I was there.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't be afraid to travel alone. If you do the summer program as I did you are there for a short time and the people you travel with make or break the experience. If you go alone you will have a blast and don't feel like you have to leave the country, Ireland has a lot to offer.
Default avatar
Brittany
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying in Kraków, Poland was an amazing experience. I was able to study Poland's deep history with some of the best professors Cracow University of Economics has to offer. Small class sizes with other USAC students was a great learning environment and allowed me to do well in my classes. Cracow University of Economics was a great school, with a beautiful campus, and welcoming students. Field trips to Auschwitz, Kaimierz, and Schindler's factory allowed me to have hands on learning that not many people get to experience. The on-site Resident directors offered a lot of support and made the adjustment to a different country a lot easier. Spending the weekends in Kraków consisted of: live music, cultural festivals, and lots of eating! Kraków is the most beautiful city that Europe has to offer and I cannot wait to go back!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future travelers on this program is to take it all in and really try to understand the rich history of Poland.
Default avatar
Payton
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I loved my time in Ghana. It was a fun, educational, and crazy experience. I met some great people and would absolutely recommend the program to anyone and everyone. This location is a great place for the adventure-seeker. The kindness and love that I experienced while studying in Accra was phenomenal. From the Aunties, to the USAC buddies, professors, strangers, and everyone in between, the people that I met made my trip extraordinary. The education system was a bit frustrating at some points (not much was digitized), and the living situation was a challenge (we often lost water and electricity), but I wouldn't change a thing. If safaris in Mole, hanging out with monkeys in Volta, beautiful waterfalls, exploring the dark history of slave castles, and/or surfing sound appealing to you, then you should consider studying abroad in Ghana!!!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Say yes to new opportunities!!! Be bold!!! Have fun!!! Make friends!!!
Default avatar
Ilyana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The time I had in Japan was like no other. I had never been to another country before, so it was doubly exciting and anxiety-inducing to get on that plane which would whisk me away for the next 5 months. While in Japan, I was able to take language classes and interact with Japanese people like I never would have been able to in the States. Furthermore, I was able to take classes about the culture, and even practice a few forms of traditional martial arts as well as traditional arts. I even joined the tea ceremony club and performed at the local history and culture museum with other club members! I was able to see many different famous Japanese locations, make lifelong friends, and just overall have the time of my life in my study abroad trip. And honestly, I'm dying to go back.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
For me, the most nerve-wracking part of my trip was just getting on the plane to Japan by myself. I had never flown by myself before this trip, so just making that initial leap of faith was, I think, the most trying part of the whole adventure.
Default avatar
Quinnlan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had the wonderful experience of studying in Pau, France. This city may be small but it is full of many things to do and see! From the Boulevard de Pyrenees, white water rafting, the Tour de France tribute, city center which holds many concerts, festivals, markets, and more, along with being perfectly situated right next to Spain and many popular tourist areas in the south of France! I can proudly say my French has improved greatly since I first arrived on campus, but I do have to admit that the campus is very old and is very behind technology wise. Although the city of Pau is quite beautiful with its palm trees and stone walkways, the campus is full of weeds and the buildings are old and don't even have air conditioning or fans (which I learned is the case in most buildings and homes in France!). Also, I was put under the impression that no one in Pau speaks English, which is far from the truth. Almost every single person I talked to knew at least a few words in English and could get by with it if you were confused. On another note, I am an avid hiker and was also told that Pau is very close to the Pyrenees. Although Pau may be an hour's drive from the nearest point of the Mountains, this is only by car. Only being able to use public transportation, it is pretty much impossible to get to the mountains by yourself. I am happy to say that the university offers a hiking course that I was able to sign up for that drove students to the mountains for about a 15 euro fee. At the end of the day, Pau is a great place to spend your time studying abroad and being put into a French atmosphere with friendly people!

What would you improve about this program?
The university definitely needs some updating! The coursework was great, but the buildings and campus itself were subpar.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 51

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose the program because it came highly recommended to me by my counselor and it was in a city that appeared interesting to me. It seemed to me that all of my contemporaries wanted to go to Europe, but the nature and people of South America seemed much more appealing. In addition, the program included me living with a Chilean family. Being that my main goal for going abroad was to sharpen my Spanish-speaking ability, that was something that caught my interest and seemed the best way to do that.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I was helped all along the process by my university and the program provider. The only item that stands out in my mind that demanded I be the one to fulfill was obtaining my Chilean Visa, which involved scheduling doctor appointments, getting fingerprinted for background checks, contacting the closest Chilean Consulate, establishing an appointment with them, and traveling to them. But even then I received a lot of helpful guidance.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

My main piece of advice would be to befriend as many locals as you can. There are so many opportunities for Study Abroad students to get to know locals, like barbecues, etc., in which I made lasting friendships and those people opened my eyes to the things that went beyond a tourist guide. I know of several people who only spent time with other United States students, only spoke Spanish if they needed to (lamenting it the whole time) and never left Santiago.

Yes, they made it that far by coming to a foreign country and they probably still had a great time, but there are so many hidden treasures within that country that locals can guide you to. And on top of that, getting to know people from a different culture was the most exciting thing I did there. Santiaguinos are truly wonderful people.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

An average day would consist of waking up and having breakfast with my Chilean family while watching the news. It took about an hour in total, walking to the metro station, making a transfer or two, and then walking to the university. Class would start at 9:30 and go until about 3, with a 30 minute pause in between to grab lunch (which always consisted of taking advantage of the plethora of affordable delicious street food). The classes only had other Study Abroad students, but the professors were all still Chilean and notably brilliant. What was covered in class, yes, was at times packed with grammar lessons and writing exercises. But many times teachers cultivated atmospheres of discussion and thought experiments which made class incredibly pleasant and afforded everyone an opportunity to stretch their minds and participate in conversations that shined light on cultural differences, et cetera.

Afterwards, I'd generally return home to peacefully do my homework, drink tea, and later have dinner with my family, chatting and laughing the whole time while watching corny game shows in Spanish. However, there was no shortage of things to do throughout the weeks, like social events, concerts, barbecues, or what have you. The program would have field trips every couple of weeks where they would take us zip-lining or white water rafting which were always incredible. And weekends would be completely up to the student. Want to spend a weekend in a small surfer town and enjoy the beach? Go ahead. Want to go camping in the mountains? Cowabunga! Want to see what Argentina is like? Just a couple of dollars and hours to catch a bus. Do you want to go and dance the night away with some new Chilean friends? Sure, just be safe and stick with your friends! Or do you want to make your own dinner for your family and just relax at home? It's all up to you.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear going into the trip was that my language abilities were not good enough, that communicating would be near impossible for me, and that everyone else would be way better than me and I would "fail". As soon as I arrived and met my fellow Study Abroad students, though, I was comforted by the fact that they all had the same fear.

As far as overcoming it, it did take a little bit of time to gain confidence because your improvement happens without you noticing. My Chilean sisters recorded me talking to them when I first arrived and showed it to me about 2 months later. I was amazed at how much better I had magically become! When once I would just hear people speaking in tongues to me, all of a sudden I was hearing specific words and noticing distinct ways in which every person spoke. I was watching the news, and talking about how the stories there reminded me of stories in my country. I was laughing at cheesy Chilean jokes and suddenly was able to tell my own jokes from my childhood, but now just in Spanish.

As far as my method for changing this, I'd just recommend talking as much as you can. And if you make some mistakes, it is okay. Just do it everyday. Everyone arrives at different levels of ability, but no one is going to shun you or make fun of your lack of ability. In fact, everyone wants to help and there is no shortage of patience, especially on the part of the Chilean family or my professors. And in the end, everyone leaves better.

I would say to anyone who might have this fear, don't worry about it because that is one of the main reasons we want to go abroad, right? To improve our language abilities, and through interacting with a different culture in their country and in their language, we understand a little more about the world. It takes time, but if it really comes down to a moment where you cannot get a point across, there is always charades.

What was your favorite part?

My favorite part is that I will never be able to answer this question. Sure, I can say that I loved camping in Patagonia and seeing the sunrise at the bottom of the world while drinking glacial runoff out of the rivers a shade of blue I never thought could be so blue. Or I could say it was when my Chilean mother comforted me when I was crying homesick tears, and, in her hug that only a loving mother could give, I realized that I would always have a family and a home there on the other side of the world.

But there are so many of those moments, and in some ways even the bad moments, like me getting pick-pocketed in the metro, stand out as fond memories that I can tell while laughing to my friends and family in my country. How can I explain that I cherish even the scary situations or hard times? I might go my whole life and not fully realize just how deeply this experience has touched me, because it was just that profound...

Maybe think about how you would want to answer that question, and do those things. Do want to say your favorite part was learning to surf in an ocean you have never seen in real life before? Do you want to find your best friend who, even though you are from different countries and speak different languages, you will love for the rest of your life? As soon as your plane arrives, set out to create those stories. Just know that the trip can offer you those opportunities but it will do so so much more. It may sound strange, but I hope you won't be able that question as much as I can't.

More Interviews

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Sarah Kapel

Job Title
Program Advisor

Sarah advises students who are planning to study abroad in USAC China, Prague, Haifa, and Bristol programs, and helps them with housing, flights, culture shock, and any other pre-departure questions they may have. She graduated with a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Nevada, Reno and studied Visual Design at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts. When she's not at work, she loves to hike, ride her bike, and explore local coffee shops.

What is your favorite travel memory?

While in Costa Rica, I loved seeing the local flora and fauna every day. Every morning, I would have a cup of the best café in the world with my host family, and then I would walk to school. I loved how normal it was to see beautiful bromeliads growing on the side of the road and hearing howler monkeys.

On my walks to school in Puntarenas, there were two iguanas that would greet me in the morning. I named them Magenta and Ramses, and they made me smile every day.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have learned to laugh at my mistakes. I started at USAC as a student worker and recently was promoted to a Program Advisor. I used to be very nervous to make a mistake, but working with USAC encouraged me to use those moments as opportunities to learn and grow personally and professionally.

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

I recently received an e-mail from a USAC student who just returned from studying for a semester in China. He thanked USAC for giving him the opportunity to see new parts of the world, meet interesting local people, and learn more about his own culture and heritage.

I love when students have personal connections to our programs because I believe that it enhances their experience, and they gain a greater appreciation for their own heritage.

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

Montevideo, Uruguay. Since this program opened, I have been dreaming of visiting this beautiful oceanside city. I love learning about Latin American culture, and I think that Uruguay would offer a unique experience separate from more traditional locations. The program also has super cool tours and fields trips offered – like visiting Buenos Aires!

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

USAC is unique because we have a lot of heart. All of us have studied abroad or lived abroad so we know how special it can be. I am proud of USAC every day, but we do have a pretty amazing Halloween party each year. I was so proud of my team for decking out in full Harry Potter themed attire this past year.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I think it’s really important to support your coworkers.

USAC is a successful company because we are one big family, and we help each other out.

Even though we have hundreds of staff members spread out all over the world, we're able to support each other near and far. Being supportive of one another sponsors a positive work environment.

More Interviews