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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 more than 25 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
Founded
1982

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

Reviews

Default avatar
Grace
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Good Experience Abroad

I enjoyed my time abroad greatly. The courses were very small and had wonderful professors that loved teaching. The grading was a bit tougher than in the United States, but the professors worked with me. I enjoyed the surfing class a lot. The support staff were super nice and helpful with travel and sickness. I loved my host family. All of the students in the program were great, and we had a fun community. The excursions that the program provided were very enjoyable, and I wish we had more opportunities like that.

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

San Sebastian= Best college (and life!) decision

I had the privilege of participating in the 2022 San Sebastian Summer program. Words cannot articulate how special this experience was for me, but I hope that the fact that I am already planning a trip back/ have concrete plans to visit my peers that I met through this experience speaks for itself. When people ask about my study abroad experience, I think they may sometimes regret it because I can go on for an eternity about the amazing friendships, culture immersion, global contacts, and sense of travel identity that it gave me. San Sebastian is the most perfect combination of nature, nightlife, rich culture, cleanliness, and safeness.

The program leaders in Donostia went above and beyond planning and communicating events to the point where I did not want to travel to other countries on free weekends the way I thought I would because my beautiful host city always had something amazing to offer. However, on the off chance I did want to travel they were there every step of the way helping me plan the (unaffiliated with school) trip.
The program leaders, specifically Patricia, looked after me as if I was one of their own when I fell ill which is more than any parent who is sending their student abroad or sick college kid like myself could ever hope for when in a stressful situation as such. The last praise I want to give to the staff goes straight to the teachers! Marina helped me learn more in 6 weeks than I learned in 2 years of High School Spanish, I left Spain with more Spanish confidence than I ever thought I could have.

Although this is not a complaint, I did want to explain my one 9/10 stars in the housing category. The range of living situations is vast and it would have been nice to been informed of this however, it in no way negatively affected my experience. I was blessed to have lived in a quaint apartment near the ocean that had one of the most genuine and kind local landlords/ human beings I have ever met. The landlord was an older Basque gentleman who showed my roommates and I the upmost hospitality. Although we were on the lower end of housing size, quality, and distance from the school, I honestly would not have traded it for a "nicer" placement because it was extremely homey and safe.

The Spanish class put me outside of my comfort zone in the best way possible; we learned extremely fast paced yet efficiently. The workload was very reasonable and there was always easily accessible teacher support. The surf class gets an easy 10 stars, as it was one of the most rewarding and fun experiences I have ever had. The instructors were so patient, outgoing, and personable.

As cliche as it sounds, USAC studying abroad was everything I could have wish for and some. I left with lifelong friends and the biggest place in my heart for new cultures.

Pros
  • Local/ program hospitality
  • Exceptional culinary/ activity options
  • Picture perfect scenery (That's safe!)
Cons
  • None
Default avatar
Ellie
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Prague

You will want to build a strong but well-proportioned itinerary when traveling to Prague that gives you enough time to pursue the activities that are most meaningful to you. Doing this additional step of research allows you not to become overburdened by the historical sights that Prague has nor bored after visiting those sights. My main recommendation is to follow Prague-based social media groups to see the varied social events that occur on the weekends or what have you. Look up transportation passes in advance, because buying through the machines in the metro stations is vastly overpriced. Then, check on acquiring Czech currency beforehand, or check how your credit card handles international purchases.

Pros
  • Lots to see historical-wise.
  • Easy to get around.
  • Good weather.
Cons
  • Interesting housing situation.
  • Different social/cultural dynamics.
  • Unique food that may not be suited to certain dietary restrictions/lifestyles.
Default avatar
Katherine
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

USAC - Valencia

Studying abroad in Valencia allowed me to immerse myself in the Spanish culture within a larger city. Valencia was the perfect place to feel like a local rather than a tourist as places like Barcelona and Madrid were overwhelming in regards to the amount of tourists in the city. Valencia was a very family and local oriented city, not many people spoke English so it was a good challenge and helped with learning more Spanish. The apartment housing through the program was fine. The neighborhood that we were placed in was a family oriented. There were a lot of kids around and a very cute place on the outskirts of the city center. The metro is incredible and can take you anywhere in Valencia. Learn how to use the metro, it is simple and efficient and I wished I had learned it earlier rather than walking long distances or taking a taxi.

My classes were good. My Spanish language classes were great. The professors only spoke Spanish which really helped with learning the language. The amount of work was never overwhelming but insanely manageable. The university that we were at was great. There were so many programs that allowed for the abroad students to get involved. We also had access to the gym and such. I wish we had more information given by our program about our university.

My favorite part about studying abroad was being able to travel every weekend! I would highly recommend doing that. It was so easy and cheap. We were able to take the metro to the airport and then take a cheap flight to basically anywhere in Europe.

The beach in Valencia was great and just a walk away after class each day.

Overall, Valencia was the perfect spot to be immersed completely in the Spanish culture and truly feel like a local. It was not overwhelming like Barcelona and Madrid and no where near as many tourists which was nice. I wish I was able to do it all again. It was such a great experience and would highly recommend this program to anyone.

#WritetoWin

Pros
  • The beach!
  • Not touristy
  • Many families in the city
Cons
  • Smaller airport
  • Not many English speakers
Default avatar
Reina
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Spring 2022 in Uruguay

My experience in Montevideo was a great way for me to practice my Spanish and learn about Uruguayan culture. I had the opportunity to stay with a host mom and 2 other American students, which was one of my favorite parts of the program. I lived only about 15 minutes walking distance from the host university campus. Montevideo is a great cultural center with lots of museums, live music, and soccer games. I always felt safe while walking in the city. If you’re looking for Spanish immersion, it’s a great place to go. Lots of young people know English, but mostly everywhere I went, I had to speak in Spanish. The USAC program is so supportive and the directors and faculty truly want you to have a great study abroad experience. My class sizes were small, so there was a lot of individual attention given to each student. I highly recommend this program to any student that’s looking for a program in Latin America thats unique to the region!

Pros
  • Spanish Immersion
  • Public Transportation

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 50

Alumni Interviews

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

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I had already done the one French study abroad that was available directly through my home university, and I only needed a few more credits to get my French minor. After doing some research online, I found that USAC had the most affordable programs. I was back and forth between their Lyon and Pau programs, but I had studied in Grenoble the summer before (which is close to Lyon), and wanted to try a new region.

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

The USAC staff organized a lot for us. They found our host families and gave us their contact information, organized the classes/placed us into appropriate groups, and organized outings like going to Bayonne/Biarritz, hiking in the Pyrenees, river rafting, cheese tasting, and so much more! They even took us downtown during the first few days and showed us where to get a bus pass.

The only thing I organized on my own was any extra travel that I did.

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

I wish I had known just how small of a town Pau was. The summer before, I had lived in Grenoble and went to the University of Grenoble Alpes, which is a giant research institution. Because of that, the city had an accessible metro and great nightlife.

Pau is completely different.

I lived in the suburbs this time around, and the only transportation system was the bus (and the last one from downtown to my house was around 5 pm, so I could never be out later than that). I enjoyed the quiet life in the suburbs, but if it was my first study abroad I would've been a bit disappointed at the lack of nightlife/convenient transportation.

Also, I wish I had known that PAU IS RAINY! I went for the summer session 1 and only had one jacket and one pair of long pants, and I had to wear those clothes every single day! Dress warm!

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

I believe that I had to leave my house by around 7:45 each morning to catch the bus and get to class, but I didn't mind getting up so early. I was normally in class until around noon, unless we had our extra class (survey of art) in the afternoon.

After class, you can do whatever you want. Sometimes I went downtown after class, but most days I would head back to the suburbs and spend time with my host family.

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

Hmm. Again, because of my previous study abroad experience, my biggest fear was that this study abroad wouldn't live up to the last one. I overcame it by trying to make the most of every experience and by doing as much as possible with my host family.

It's true that I didn't experience as much nightlife/life downtown, but I still developed friendships with the other two girls in my area and with my host family. And the area is beautiful - the Pyrenees took my breath away. I still stay in touch with both of my host families to this day and said they would gladly welcome me back!

I left Pau feeling that, although the experience was different from the summer before, it was still fulfilling in its own way.

What was your favorite memory from your study abroad?

It's so hard to pick, but one of my favorite memories was going to the Cirque de Gavarnie in the Pyrenees. We took a bus and went to the zoo, and then drove into the Pyrenees and had lunch. The Pyrenees are misty, lush, and mysterious.

When we started our hike, I couldn't believe how green and lush these mountains were compared to any that I had seen. Getting to the top was incredible, as we saw dozens of waterfalls all falling in the same area.

I will definitely never forget that day!

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.