USAC
94% Rating
(329 Reviews)

USAC

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. For more information on the USAC programs, visit the USAC web site directly: http://usac.edu.

Most Recent Program Reviews

Zachery
Male

Great Small City

7/10

Montevideo is a great city with a lot to offer. The culture is very laid back, and the people are nothing but kind. The region is great if you like to travel. Uruguay is small, and you can easily get to one point of the country to the other in a matter of hours. If you'd like to be more adventurous flights to Chile and ferries to Argentina are fairly cheap and allow you to experience distinct cultures, and to get a change of pace.

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Kat
Female
23 years old
Reno, Nevada
University of Nevada Reno

Best Decision!!!

10/10

I totally fell in love with Germany through this program. The way the courses are organized is very straight-forward and engaging, the professors care about your success as a student, the language classes are very in-depth and challenging, the community in Luneburg is very friendly and are patient if your German isn't great, and my homestay was fantastic! Overall, terrific experience and I got to see most of Europe during my time throughout this program.
I would highly recommend this to anyone even remotely interested in studying in Europe.

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Maggie
Female
20 years old
United States
Lawrence University

Want to actually get credit for studying abroad in Norway and have a good experience? Here's what no one told me:

1/10

I am having a wonderful time in Norway, please do not get me wrong. So far throughout this entire experience, it has been my study abroad program that has given my the biggest headache. I think that USAC is probably a lovely program for some students, but in the case of the Norway program I am extremely disappointed.
Looking back on the whole experience, it would have been cheaper, faster, and easier to temporarily withdraw from my school and apply independently as an exchange student to the University of Oslo.
I'll start with the program fee. The entire program fee for the USAC Norway program is a bit over $5000, not including a security deposit. What USAC does not tell you is that international students get to study here at the University of Oslo for free. FOR FREE. Please let that sink in. So what does this $5000 program fee buy you? It basically buys you a set of instructions to get your visa (which can be found readily online), "help" with the application to the University of Oslo that you could have completed yourself, and the feeling that you are part of a group (most of whom you never see after you start at the university). This $5000 also buys you a t-shirt and some pretty cool USAC-emblazoned luggage tags, so I'm sure that my money is being well-spent.
In addition to this $5000, you must pay for your own food (Norway has some of the most expensive groceries in the world), housing expenses (around $400-$700 per month), and your own travel fees. The program doesn't even guarantee you a pass to the city transit system, which all students use.

Two more things that USAC does not tell you about up-front are the transfer credit process (or lack thereof) and the visa requirements. I'll start with the visa:
In order to study in Norway for more than 3 months, you need an official student visa. What USAC does not tell you initially is that you must apply for your visa entirely on your own and hand in your documents IN PERSON. This is not a big problem if you live in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, or Houston. However it is a problem for the rest of us who must make an appointment at these consulates and fly out to them during the regular work week to apply for our visas.
Most study abroad programs, including all of the programs at my home university, do this service for their students. Perhaps this would have been a better use of my $5000? All relevant information about how to apply for a student visa to Norway from the United States can be found on Norway's immigration and visa website, which is called UDI: https://www.udi.no/en/want-to-apply/studies/studietillatelse/university-college-or-university/how-to-apply-for-a-residence-permit-for-a-student-at-a-university-college-or-university/?r=usa&n=n&c=usa

Now on to credit transfer. What USAC does not tell you is that there is absolutely no guarantee that your credits will transfer from the University of Oslo. This is not a problem that they can fix themselves, since they are in no way licensed to transfer credits from the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System), but it was not a problem that I was made aware of until I had already committed to the program and ASKED.
You would think that with so many students doubtlessly in the same situation every year and with more than $5000 from each student, a memo could have been made to let future students know about this significant shortcoming. If your university is like mine and only accept credits which have been been approved by a US institution, then congratulations. This program is not for you.
Yes, USAC does allow some of their programs to transfer credits through the University of Nevada, Reno. I tried to explore this option and sent about 20-odd emails to USAC staff when I first discovered that no system was in place to guarantee my credit transfer. There was literally nothing that they could do. I was eventually able to find a costly but official third-party organization called ECE that is transferring my credits for my for a significant fee of their own.

In short, if you are considering Norway and looking at the option of USAC, I strongly suggest that you either reconsider your program options or apply to the University of Oslo independently as an exchange student. I can honestly assure you that it will be well-worth you time and money. Norway is a lovely country and I would not trade my time and experiences in this place for the world. However, if you consider using USAC, be prepared to accept the consequences of the details that they don't tell you.

How can this program be improved?

USAC can improve their program by either providing visa and credit translation services like most study abroad programs, or by telling prospective students that they do NOT provide direct assistance with either of these services.

Response from USAC

Thank you for providing your feedback on your experience in Oslo. You are correct that it is possible to directly enroll in the University of Oslo but to do so as a non-degree “single course” student requires that students have an advanced level proficiency in Norwegian and the course registration is limited to subjects that have vacancies after all degree-seeking students have registered. While we understand that you have an advanced knowledge of Norwegian, this is not the case for most students who study abroad through USAC in Norway. In comparison, students who study abroad at the University of Oslo through USAC are exempt from the Norwegian language requirement, have access to more than 800 courses offered in English as well as courses in the Norwegian language. USAC provides an opportunity for students whose home universities do not have a bilateral exchange agreement with the University of Oslo to study there for a semester or academic year. Before every Oslo program, each student receives our credits, courses, and transcript document which explains that the credit transfer process is determined by your home university and is not within USAC’s control. We also remind (and recommend to) students multiple times to check with their home university to ensure that the credits will transfer back before they leave to study abroad. We understand that this may be confusing and we’ll work to improve our communication to make it more understandable for future students. Regarding visas, it is a government requirement, not a USAC policy, which specifies that you must appear in person. The government does not allow a parent or third-party representative to appear on a student’s behalf. Once again, we appreciate your feedback, and If you’d like to discuss any of your concerns further, please email us at [email protected]

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Jennifer
Female
46 years old
United States
University of Idaho

Everything I wanted and More!

10/10

Finally I had a chance to go to the UK and as a bonus I could pay for it with student loans. I spent 6 weeks in the UK. We landed in Edinburgh and stayed for about 5 days. Then we took the train to London where we attended Imperial College for 5 weeks. Imperial College was amazing. The ladies who coordinated our plans in the UK were wonderful and planned so many activities that were already on my wish list, saving me time and effort. Even with everything they had planned and the classes I attended, I still had plenty of time to see and learn all I wanted in this wonderful country. USAC runs an amazing program and I hope to use them again next summer to see Italy. Take the time and study abroad!

How can this program be improved?

I could have used more hours in the day, but that can't be fixed. I can't think of anything.

Laurel
Female
20 years old
Laguna Beach, California

If you're looking for a sign, this is it.

10/10

I had a blast on my summer semester on the Puntarenas campus! Not only did I get to take awesome classes, but I was steps away from the beach the whole time! We also traveled to many beautiful destinations on the weekends, including, islands, national parks, a water park, the capital city and rain forests. You can literally do everything from Puntarenas. People were questioning if I was even studying at all! My Instagram might not look like it, but I was definitely doing academic work too. I made AWESOME friends that I still talk too, and if you want a picture-perfect summer abroad, this is the place for you. The locals are wonderful, the food is amazing (my host family owned a restaurant!), the town is gorgeous, and I can't complain about anything. I would absolutely do this program again. If you have the opportunity, make sure to take David's dance class or Elena's cooking class. Both are amazing cultural immersions, and like everything else on this trip, way more fun with friends!

How can this program be improved?

Honestly, I don't even know if I could answer this question without being whiny. Every experience is what you make of it!

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