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
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.
Default avatar
Shelby
3/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Do yourself a favor and do NOT spend your money on this program. I wish I could go back and tell myself that before I made the mistake of selecting this program. The organization and academics of this program are a literal disaster and something you should steer clear of. USAC should be embarrassed at the level of quality this program has.
Krakow is an amazing place, but USAC made it impossible to enjoy because of how little they did to ensure the program's success. Classes and professors weren't clear on expectations and the syllabi that USAC makes the professors create are not followed. There are barely any resources to do papers and research because there are no resources in English. The on-site staff had little to no involvement after the first week. The USAC website lies about what is included in program fees, as we did not ever go to Zakopane or the Tatra Mountains. The Vienna and Budapest trip was the biggest waste of $400, as the USAC website also lied about what we would be doing on that trip (you only go to art museums and USAC only pays for hotels, nothing else).
We were not immersed in local culture because, as USAC so graciously leaves out, we only took classes with the people in the USAC program (12 people for my semester). They did not introduce us to any local students or mentors when we got there, and we found ourselves feeling very lost and left out in the cold. The staff was hard to reach and did not seem to care about our experience until all of us complained to higher-ups in the organization.
I 100% regret my decision of choosing a USAC study abroad program and would not recommend them to anyone.

What would you improve about this program?
USAC should not have allowed students to sign up for this program until they had thoroughly worked out all of the kinks. The professors clearly only thought of us as another paycheck and were rude and unprofessional to us. There was an immense amount of false advertising on the USAC website about the program and what all was included. Academic expectations were unclear and unrealistic, as we were required to write 10 page papers for every class while having barely any resources available to us in English.
This program needs a complete overhaul in order to be worth anyone's time and money. Course curriculum needs to be vetted, professors need to be checked for professionalism and not be people who will talk down to students and insult their intelligence, the website needs to be truthful about what is included, polish student mentors should be assigned to help with the transition and make the experience better, and the expectations need to be clearly and accurately defined for everyone involved.
Response from USAC

Thank you for sharing your experience in Poland. We are aware of the challenges that occurred during your study abroad term and have worked with our on-site staff to make changes to the courses, professors, and program based on your feedback and other feedback from the group. We always appreciate student feedback. If you'd like to discuss anything further, you can reach us at [email protected]

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

Completing this academically intensive program that lasted for 10 months was one of my life's crowning achievements and first successes along with my military service as an officer.

I don't think there is any other study abroad country where one can advance as quickly in Spanish as USAC's program in Costa Rica. I took an equivalent of 3 years of university level Spanish in 1 year. The professors and administrative staff were the warmest and most supportive people i've ever encoutered anywhere in the world and our committed to every student's success which falls nothing short of accompanying me to doctor's appointments or meeting me outside of school to tutor me. No hubiera podido hacer este programa con éxito sin su apoyo! Which means roughly "I would not have been able to do this program successfully without their support" to demonstrate the uses of haber which fallows a participio.

Though there are also many ery fun scheduled group activities as well where you can cultivate lifelong frienships and great memories.

I would recommend anyone to study abroad if they have the chance and if they are interested in learning Spanish and about Latin America I would put the USAC Heredia program on the top of the list!

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

I was unsure about the whole studying abroad experience, however when I came across Alicante, Spain I was sold. I saw that this city offered a service-learning experience in which students get the opportunity to volunteer with a local non-profit organization.
This was the one reason I chose this location. I didn't know what was in store but I was in for a surprise. It was definitely more than I expected!
The university is great and only a tram ride away! The onsite staff is amazing and it shows that they care for the students and enjoy their job. I also participated in the teaching assistant program and in tutoring which was a great way to learn more about the beautiful country of Spain! Aside from that Alicante is such a small and beautiful city that has a home feel. Definitely recommend studying here!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The most surprising thing I saw was the view of Alicante from the Castillo of Santa Barbara!
Default avatar
Cathleen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I have to say, this was the most memorable time of my life. I decided to do the year long program and with confidence I can say I have no regrets. First semester, I lived in one of the dorms offered. I had my own room, but shared the kitchen and bathroom with 3 other lovely ladies from different parts of the world. The school from the dorm was about a 20 minute trip but the sights you got to see as you walk to the school made up for the distance. The school was nice, classes close to each other and not to mention the cafeteria food was the BEST I ever had. As for the classes, if you are looking to learn Japanese, this is the place for you. I entered this program knowing only "Hello" and "Goodbye", but leaving the program with the ability to converse properly in Japanese!! Aside from Japanese, their international studies courses were amazing as well!!

I do want to say though, I kind of had a bad experience with the school in Japan. I'll admit, it was partly my fault since I should have paid more attention to deadlines. But the way the office was towards me was unprofessional and rude. I know that we re just students and technically guests in Japan, but a little bit more of respect and understanding would be appreciative.

Second semester I loved with a host family. Luckily for me, my host family lived 5 minutes away from campus. But aside from that, my host family was absolutely wonderful. They taught me how to cook, new Japanese words, and treated me as one of their own. If you ever decide to do the yearlong program, please try the dorm and homestay!!

Now for the city, or should I say cities. Osaka, Kobe, I miss you both oh so much. Both bustling and full of life. So much to see and do; so much to eat and drink (as in the different kinds of teas and soda flavors Japan had to offer). Oh, and Universal Studio Japan? You can't go wrong with that!!

This program taught me so much real life lessons. This program allowed me to see sights I have never seen before. Lastly, this program taught me that I can do anything, as long as I believe in myself. I believe that if you decide to attend this program, you too will have an amazing experience.

What was your funniest moment?
Looking back now, I got off the wrong train stop multiple times (LOL). Now I think its hilarious but in the moment you'll panic, but don't worry, as time progresses you'll get the hang of things~

Programs

Displaying 19 - 27 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