USAC

Program 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!
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Keanu
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Right in the heart of Europe, this beautiful little city is located in the southern Limburg region of the Netherlands. It is a bicycle ride away from the Belgian border and a quick bus trip to the Germany. This largely student city combines Dutch culture with the surrounding European countries with delightful architecture, plenty of shopping, and a great food and bar scene.
If your goal is to travel around Europe during your time here (which you absolutely should), Maastricht is about 1.5 hours bus ride from Brussels Airport in Belgium and Cologne/Bönn Airport. Also nearby is Eindhoven Airport and not too much farther is Brussels Charleroi Airport. So you have plenty of options for cheap flights all around the continent.
However, Maastricht is the perfect city to explore as well. There are plenty of student events and clubs that you can get involved in, several museums, and charming parks. You'll probably quickly become friends with your hallmates at the UM Guesthouse who will be from all over the US, Europe and around the world. My hall was made up of Americans, Spanish, Portuguese and Northern Irish people and throughout the semester we became like a little family to come home to after weekend adventures.
You'll also have plenty of opportunities in class to meet full-time and other international students. The classes here tend to be a bit more challenging as much of the university runs on the Problem-Based Learning approach where much of the learning is done in small groups with a tutor present to help guide the discussions. The upside to this is the small class size, but the downside is that it generally requires more independent study and time dedicated to class. It may take sometime to get used to, but don't worry, the staff at the Center for European Studies (CES) are a big resource! They are all extremely kind and willing to help you with anything during your time in Maastricht. They also organize study trips to different cities around Europe, a traditional Thanksgiving dinner (Fall Semester), and so much more.
Maastricht became my second home during my time here and it was definitely the highlight of my university experience to study here through USAC. I hope it will be for you too!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Definitely take advantage traveling around Europe during your weekends or free time, but don't forget to spend time in this little city as well.
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Valentina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The USAC Florianopolis program was everything I needed from a summer study abroad experience and more. From the amazing USAC staff, professors, my fellow program peers, and just the people of brazil all together made this an experience that I will never forget. I was able to practice and improve my Portuguese through language classes and immersion as well as have new experiences with both local Brazilian and American friends. USAC provided a bridge into brazils beautiful culture and allowed me the opportunity to grow both academically and personally. The USAC staff on site is dedicated to providing the best experience while also allowing the students to create their own unique journey. The classes offered were open to Brazilian student and it was really cool to see a different perspective from them and have that cultural exchange both in and outside of the classroom. The buddy program was also a really cool way to integrate with other university students and create lasting friendships.
The natural beauty of the island makes it easy to fall in love with the location and the warmth of the Brazilian people makes it hard to leave. I am grateful to USAC for providing such an amazing atmosphere for learning, growth,​ and fun!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would try to do more weekend trips to surrounding cities!
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micah
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The title says it all: the people are relaxed, the weather is chilly, the classes are simple, and even the larger towns move at a calm pace. I went to Vaxjo not knowing a single person and was able to make many friends from all around the world. My BIGGEST recommendation for new students is to join the schools "buddy' program, where they pair you with a local Swedish student who will show you the town and teach you about the campus. The town is safe and peaceful, but you can still find fairly active nightlife at the student bars on campus during the weekends.

What would you improve about this program?
The school should have guides who direct newly arriving international students to the campus and their dorms.
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Juliana
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I chose USAC Puntarenas, Costa Rica for the Spanish classes, host family housing option, surfing course, and the opportunity to live on a tropical beach. My main study abroad goal was to improve my Spanish so I took 4 intensive Spanish language courses (totally doable) during the semester which vastly improved my Spanish especially since I also lived with a host mom who did not speak any English. It was a great experience living with a local family learning their cultures and eating typical Costa Rican dishes while always practicing my Spanish.
My host mom's house was a few steps from the beach which made for peaceful morning runs and breathtaking sunsets in the evening. At a nearby beach where our 4 surf weekend classes took place, I learned how to surf! I had never surfed before, but I gradually improved over the classes and accepted the difficulty of surfing as an exhilarating experience.
Throughout the semester, I traveled all over Costa Rica and even visited Panama on a tour my program offered! I saw a lot of wildlife like sloths and monkeys, hiked up to too many waterfalls to count, relaxed on a plethora of beautiful beaches, and met many amazing people in and out of my study abroad program. For these reasons, I am grateful for the memories I have made because of USAC Puntarenas, Costa Rica! Pura Vida!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
One thing I would change if I were to do this all over again would be to be bolder in making more local Tico/Tica (Costa Rican) friends to practice Spanish with. I enjoyed hanging out with the other USACers in my program, but the best way to really immerse yourself in a culture and country is to hang out with locals and speak their home language. My Spanish did vastly improve by living with a host family and taking Spanish classes, but making local friends helps even more since you are then fully immersed in the language!
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Elisheva
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I really loved the classes; they were interesting and were subjects that I could not find on my home campus. I got to learn about the culture of the people living in Israel and surrounding areas from people who live there. I loved how they gave me a lot of time to travel throughout the country so I could take advantage of the opportunity to be abroad. Getting to know Haifa and the broader Israel was really fun and exciting. I got to meet people not only from Israel, but from all over the world. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

What would you improve about this program?
The administration did not give us enough information during the orientation and the trips they brought us on were not the greatest. A person has to figure out some things by themselves or ask specific questions.