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

New Program: Comparative Studies: Uruguay and Cuba Summer Session

Study abroad Summer 2020 for eight weeks, beginning in Montevideo, Uruguay and continuing to La Habana, Cuba, for a comparative Latin studies program ideal for any student and of particular interest to health, gender and Spanish language students.

Reviews

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Tommy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This program would not be what it is without the incredible support staff Luis, Sylvan, and Veronica. They are easily accessible and always hold your best interests. They set up paid tutoring opportunities or teaching assistant opportunities at local schools. Sylvan sets up soccer games and you can play with locals. You live in very nice apartments close to the beach and other USAC students. The airport is very good so flights for traveling are cheap. The beach is beautiful, the bars are fun (parabarap), and people are very friendly. Also, Benidorm is just a short tram ride away.

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Alex
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Montevideo is a sleepy city that is easy to walk, but has an awesome and cheap transportation system. People are super kind and curious, and there's a real sense of community with Uruguayans. There are also a lot of perks that come with using a foreign visa card, such as up to an 18% discount on some items. The onsite staff were incredible and helped tremendously with everything from housing issues to class scheduling. As a side note, be prepared for being around lots of tobacco and marijuana smoking, because it is legal in Uruguay and part of the cultural norm.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Honestly, it was the relaxed style of life. People in Uruguay just are not worried about anything. I was constantly being told to calm down by locals which really made me think about how unnecessarily structured my normal day-to-day life was. It made me sit down and remind myself to breathe and enjoy the moment.
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Kaitlyn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was able to end my last semester of college in the most spectacular way, thanks to my USAC study abroad program in Seoul, South Korea. I attended Yonsei University, one of South Korea's most prestigious colleges. Before even landing a foot in Seoul, I was able to bond with fellow students as USAC opened opportunities to connect with our study abroad peers. While in Korea, I had constant and speedy communication with my USAC advisors, who helped to sort any travel or academic issues. Through USAC, I was able to learn about so many fascinating aspects of Korean culture ranging from food and cinema to philosophy and history. Seoul would have many fun places to go, including tourist attractions, parks, cafes, restaurants, nightlife, historical sites, etc. On the flip side, Korea is a very mountainous country and there are a lot of places to go hiking and enjoy nature in Seoul and around the country! My study abroad in Korea was filled with delicious meals, karaoke, and new adventures every single day. It was truly, the Seoul search of a lifetime.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The most unfamiliar food I ate was a popular Korean dish called "Dakbal" aka chicken feet. While going to karaoke with my mentor group, our Korean mentor wanted to give us a very "authentic" eating experience. While I was a little nervous, they were actually very delicious!
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Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I chose the Puntarenas, Costa Rica program because of the opportunity to learn a new language in such a short amount of time, because of the ability to live with a host family, and because of the amazing nature of the country. I originally signed up for just one semester but after returning home after the semester I quickly realized I wanted to go back for the next semester. USAC was very helpful in arranging this for me even on such short notice. My 8 months in Costa Rica were truly the best of my life.

My college and major had a language requirement which I was able to fulfill in just one semester. It was really fun starting at the lowest level of Spanish classes and barely being able to communicate with my host mom, to ending in the highest level of classes and even taking classes in Spanish and being able to communicate fully with my host mom. There are so many opportunities for practice and ways to challenge yourself daily.

Puntarenas is the perfect location in Costa Rica to be able to travel each weekend to a new place. I was able to visit every place in Costa Rica that I wanted even while spending many weekends doing the surf class in Jaco. Learning to surf in the surf class was the most fun I have ever had.

Costa Rica will always be a special place in my heart that I will continue to visit for the rest of my life. This is all thanks to the amazing USAC staff and community in Puntarenas as well as the kind, happy, and generous Ticos found all of Costa Rica. Cannot recommend this program enough!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Choose the year long program if you have the ability to. I chose one semester which ended up not being nearly enough time for me, fortunitely I had the ability to quickly sign up for the next semester as well. However, many people in both semesters wished they had signed up for the year long program.
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saul
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

What can I say choosing to go to Thailand was a unique adventure, there is so much to see there and so much to learn at the same time! When I was looking for which country I should go my top three was Spain, France, and Thailand, I know it might sound crazy but I made that right chose in going to Thailand. In my few months living in Thailand it has been a great expense for me, there is so much that I have learned while living in Khon Kaen. One of my biggest change for me was the foods, mostly all the foods in Thailand is spicy but in my class of Thai language my teacher teach me how to say "no spicy" in Thai for me that was a big help!!! There is so much unique foods that I tasted over there! One of my favorite parts was going to a café, there are so many of them around the university and around the city with each one in a different atmosphere! There is a lot of night markets that I went to and it was fun and it was really fun buying a lot of clothes, books, and other stuff for my family!! Also the next things is that I have meet new friends a long the away while studying in living in Khon Kaen!!! Mean while living in Khon Kaen I travel to a few places like Ko Samui, Japan, South Korea, and Spain. While I was traveling to other place too I meet more friends around the world. Now I keep in touch with them, even though I live across the other side of the world. On my last day it was hard for my to say good bye to my new friends that I meet in the university, but I know that our paths will cross again one day! Over all this program has really opened my eyes and my mind to see how it really is in the world! I don't regret my decision that I made in going over there! For me I have grown as a person being away from my life for the first time and I have learned so much more of what I want to do in the future. Lastly I would recommend to any one that travel abroad is a great choose that they can do in there life, at first it can be hard but once you learn and experience a lot in a new country you'll want to travel again and again.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future students and travelers is have fun and learn as much as you can while being in Thailand! There is so much to do over there and its easy to travel around Thailand, there's bus and cars that you can go travel in near by city! Khon Kaen is a great place to start and then go out and see other city. Don't be afraid of going out of you comfort zone, because I was until I made a big jump and I know now that there is so much to see in the world. Even though it is scary at first but once you are there it changes everything!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Avery Druyon

Avery graduated in summer 2019 from the University of Utah with a degree in International Studies and a minor in French. She is now living in Seattle preparing for law school to combine her interests in international issues, French, and advocacy.

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.