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.

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

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Jackson
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible Summer Abroad

This program was the highlight of my life's academic experiences. San Sebastián is an incredible city with great surfing, food, hiking, clubs, bars, and culture. It is without a doubt my favorite city on earth, and the program facilitated my exploration of it. The program staff and faculty were excellent, both in terms of traditional academic learning and experiential learning through excursions and recommendations. My host family was incredible and the program staff has carefully vetted all host families and knows the specifics of their situations. I could not recommend this program more!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Enjoy everything the city has to offer! Surf, Party, Eat at restaurants and bars, go out and enjoy Spain's social culture. Do Pintxo Pote on Thursdays, go to cultural events and festivals, hike, forget about English and immerse yourself in Spanish!
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Madeline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best choice you will make in college

Studying abroad was always something that I had dreamed of and I am so happy that I chose to go. Viterbo, Italy is very much one of a kind; from the people to the architecture to the food (read, AMAZING). The experiences that I had while in living in Italy is something that I think about almost every day, the experience is just that powerful. It takes guts to travel to a foreign country let alone to decide to live and study there. Meeting people in the program who also had that mindset, that zest for life, was incredible. The program staff and teachers were so kind and welcoming to a loud bunch of Americans. Take the chance, seriously, you will not regret it.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
If I could do this experience all over again, I would go for a full year. One semester is just not enough.
Dayna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Study Abroad Spring 2019

I studied abroad during spring semester of 2019 and absolutely loved my experience. I had been abroad before but this was my first international trip alone. Upon arriving I felt fully supported by my loving host mom, the USAC staff, and my professors. My favorite part about studying abroad with USAC were the field trips they took us on and the welcoming and knowledgeable staff who helped me with personal and academic challenges.
I am thankful I chose Pau and a home stay because my french skills improved exponentially, I felt like I really got to experience French culture rather than a melting pot of cultures like Paris, and I was easily able to make french friends at the university to practice speaking with. I also participated in sports and had the opportunity to learn how to Rock Climb on an amazing wall with lots of difficult courses, went skiing in the Pyrenees, and went hiking.

What would you improve about this program?
I really enjoyed everything about this program, perhaps would change the class schedules though because sometimes the two hour blocked classes were difficult to sit through
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Tommy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Legendary

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

Very relaxed atmosphere with incredible staff

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.

Programs

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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.