University Studies Abroad Consortium
University Studies Abroad Consortium Programs
The Torino program is ideal for students who are interested in studying International Business, Art/Architecture, and Italian Studies in an exciting, cosmopolitan setting....
Chiang Mai is fondly referred to as the “Rose of the North” for its beautiful and relaxing atmosphere amidst friendly smiles, temples, and flowers. Add to these a picturesque...
Santiago, the capital and largest city of Chile, features a natural and urban framework amidst a mountainous terrain. It is situated close to the country’s central coastline,...
Bordered to the north by Tuscany and the south by the metropolitan area of Rome, Viterbo is a medieval city boasting of historical, artistic and monumental legacies. At the...
The San Sebastian program opens an academic window on the Spanish and Basque people, introducing you to the rich diversity of Spain and offering a truly multicultural experience....
Study in Lyon to learn and live in one of the most attractive cities in France, creating a fresh combination of the bustle of a large, European city and the simplicity of...
The Prague program is ideal for students interested in studying and living in an extraordinary medieval city. Prague is an open textbook of modern and traditional literature,...
The Madrid program is ideal for students who wish to study Spanish and European Studies in one of the world's great capitals. Madrid is a fascinating city and has a vibrant...
Sign up for the San Ramón program, a suitable option if you are a science major. For a semester or full year, you will gain an insight into Costa Rica’s health, ecology,...
The USAC program is located at the 30,000 student University of Alicante and offers two diverse academic areas: Intensive Language and Spanish and European Studies. You will...
Study German Language, European Studies, and Sustainability in Lüneburg, Germany through the program offered by the University Studies Abroad Consortium. The program is
The Bilbao/Getxo program is ideal for students who wish to develop an international business career and/or a bilingual career. You may stay for one semester or a full year...
The Heredia program in Latin American Studies and Ecology is an ideal path if you are committed to learning diverse Latin American cultures and the Spanish language....
University Studies Abroad Consortium Reviews
Fell in Love
Submitted by KB - University of Nevada, Reno | December 12, 2017
I can't stress enough how much this program changed my outlook on life. I went to Germany not sure what to expect and completely fell in love with Luneburg and Europe as a whole. The program academics were challenging and interesting, the host campus was easy to navigate, and the staff was wonderful, patient, and very understanding. I felt as though I could really go to them for help when I had questions or missed home and my host family was very accommodating and welcoming, eager to teach me their culture, which I really loved. Luneburg is a very safe little town and it's near Hamburg by train, so there is always plenty to do and lots of sites to see to learn the history and gain a better knowledge Germany's impact on Europe and the world. I made some unforgettable memories with my cohort and because of what a positive experience it was, I'm returning in the summertime. I can't explain enough how great this experience was for me! I would recommend it to anyone!
Want to have a good experience in Norway and get credit? Here's what no one told me:
Submitted by Tora Anderson - Lawrence University | November 29, 2017
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 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 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 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 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.
Program: USAC NORWAY: Oslo - Full Curriculum
University Studies Abroad Consortium responded to this review December 05, 2017 at 9:35 AM
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]
Puntarenas with USAC
Submitted by Mackenzie Casten - University of Arkansas | November 26, 2017
I spent eight months in Puntarenas, Costa Rica with the USAC program- eight of the best months of my life. Almost everyone from my two semesters keep in touch, and I also keep in touch with many of the locals who I met there as well. Puntarenas is a great blend of culture. My host family was amazing as well- they made sure I never went hungry, and fed me the best of all of their traditional Costa Rican dishes. They were also very patient with my Spanish speaking skills- they took the time to explain many concepts of the language to me, and I can honestly say they are the biggest part of my language development. Classes were academically challenging yet interesting, and teachers are able to work with you if you are traveling and have to miss class. My friends and I would hit the beach, which is right in front of the school, almost every day, or go to the pool inside of the USAC facility. I cannot say enough great things my experience here! If you're looking for an extremely laid back atmosphere with incredible people, mouth-watering local food, and beautiful beaches, Puntarenas is the right place!
My time in Chile
Submitted by Gabrielle Hodges - - | November 12, 2017
While I was in Chile I generally enjoyed the program. I hated he food there but that's because I am a picky eater. I loved that my program took us on trips around the different parts of the country and allowed us to stay there. Our program directors always gave us traveling information and it was always super easy to get in with them. They were super helpful!
Submitted by Sona Soghomonian - California State University, Fresno (Fresno State) | November 08, 2017
I had the most amazing time studying abroad! It is difficult to put into words how wonderful the experience was; to be immersed into a new country with a different culture. I am incredibly grateful for USAC helping me with everything along the way and for providing the opportunity for students like me to have this experience. I had the most amazing time, met some of the best people from all over the world, and visited places I never thought I would!