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University Studies Abroad Consortium

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University Studies Abroad Consortium

University Studies Abroad Consortium Programs

Chile

USAC CHILE: Santiago-Latin American & Anthropology Studies

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,...

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Thailand

USAC THAILAND: Chiang Mai-Southeast Asian Economic Studies

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...

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Italy

USAC ITALY: Torino-International Business/Politics & Art

The Torino program is ideal for students who are interested in studying International Business, Art/Architecture, and Italian Studies in an exciting, cosmopolitan setting....

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Germany

USAC GERMANY: Lüneburg - European Studies & Sustainability

Study German Language, European Studies, and Sustainability in Lüneburg, Germany through the program offered by the University Studies Abroad Consortium. The program is

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Costa Rica

USAC COSTA RICA: Heredia - Latin American Studies & Ecology

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....

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Spain

USAC SPAIN: San Sebastián - Basque & European Studies

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....

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Spain

USAC SPAIN: Alicante - European & Mediterranean Studies

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...

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Spain

USAC SPAIN: Bilbao/Getxo - International Business & Spanish

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...

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Czech Republic

USAC CZECH REPUBLIC: Prague - European Politics & Culture

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,...

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Spain

USAC SPAIN: Madrid-Spanish Language, Art, & Spanish Studies

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...

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Italy

USAC ITALY: Viterbo-History, Art, Photography, & Journalism

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...

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Costa Rica

USAC COSTA RICA: San Ramón - Life & Health Sciences

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,...

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Brazil

USAC BRAZIL: Florianópolis-Global Economy

The Florianópolis program offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the incredibly diverse and dynamic culture of Brazil while living on a beautiful sub-tropical...

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France

USAC FRANCE: Lyon - French Language & European Studies

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...

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University Studies Abroad Consortium Reviews

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Brazilian Injection

My name is Jeremiah and I studied abroad in Brazil for the year-long term. My experience in Florianopolis, Brazil was by far one of the greatest experiences of my life. When I was preparing for my study abroad, I had planned to spend two semesters there (because I already knew that one semester would pass by too fast). My goal was to learn Portuguese and experience a full cultural immersion, and trust me, I found what I was looking for. Brazilian culture is incredibly warm and open. It was so much fun making friends around the university and in many social gatherings that go on around the city.

The USAC office is located right next to the university and the staff are extremely friendly and helpful. The first week of the program, the USAC staff took us (students) on tours of the island and university. They also organize island day-trips and hiking/beach events throughout the semester. USAC also provides a conversation-partner program for USAC and brazilian students to meet and practice Portuguese and English. I made many great friendships in this buddy program alone. USAC also provides classes that act as great steps into cultural immersion such as surfing, capoeira, and samba dancing.

Before I went to Florianopolis, I knew that knowing a little Portuguese beforehand would help with the cultural immersion. I used Duolingo, watched youtube videos, and listened and translated Brazilian music. This helped me receive a head-start on the language. While living in Brazil, I was proactive with putting myself into situations in which I would practice Portuguese frequently (church, restaurants, university activities, Brazilian dance parties, the beach, making friends on the bus, etc.).

I also lived in a homestay, and I have no regrets that whatsoever. It was an amazing experience. I lived close to the ocean in downtown Florianopolis, and my host family was great. If you wish to experience Brazilian culture at its full capacity and learn Portuguese quickly, then the homestay is the way to do it.

I believe mobile data/internet is very important on-the-go. This helped me feel more secure when I was out if I got lost, needed to know the bus times, or call an UBER. If you can, I recommend getting a phone plan with Sprint or T-mobile before going to Brazil, as they provide free, international data. If you are unable to do this, then you can get a pre-paid sim card when you get to Brazil. Just make sure that your phone is unlocked before you leave so that the sim card will work (you might have to your phone provider to do this).

I definitely recommend doing a USAC tour when you arrive. I did the tour to Iguaçu Falls, located on the borders of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. This was an amazing experience and the natural wonder of Iguaçu Falls is absolutely breathtaking.

The currency is Brazil is called the real (or reais for plural). Currently, one U.S. dollar equalls 3.7 Brazilian reais. Although this exchange rate is advantageous for Americans, Brazil is still an expensive country. Products in Brazil are heavily taxed (especially electronics), so I recommend to take the electronics (that you will need) with you when you go to Brazil.

Don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. This whole experience for me was an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone like never before. Also, don't be afraid to use this opportunity to make new friends that are NOT English speakers. It's so easy to continue being around other Americans when studying abroad because of the comfort of communicating. And I'm not saying that that's bad, but I believe that a main point of study abroad is to diversify your social environment by immerging into foreign social settings. So trust me, getting out of my comfort zone, practicing my Portuguese every day, and experiencing the rich, Brazilian culture was an experience that I'll never forget, and it was well worth it.

Get ready for an extreme highlight of your life! Enjoy Brazil!

Tchau.

Program: USAC BRAZIL: Florianópolis-Global Economy

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Would go back again

This was one of the most eye opening experiences I've ever had. There was so much culture to absorb and be a part of including the language. If you're more of an outdoorsy type then there are plenty of hiking trails and national parks to visit while you're there. Puntarenas is a quaint little merchant town with a lot of friendly people and easy access to public transportation.

Program: USAC COSTA RICA: Puntarenas - Ecological Studies

Overall Rating

9 / 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Community

    10

Just go for it

Chiang Mai is a very beautiful and welcoming city. The dorm location and campus location is very ideal. You're placed right in the student area so prices are a little cheaper. There are many street food stalls nearby including fresh fruit, fried bananas, smoothie stalls, and more. It's impossible to starve.

The USAC staff is incredibly friendly, which echoes the majority of northern Thai locals.

However, the internships are not worth it. If you really want to complete one to put it on your resume that you've done an internship while abroad, you can. Otherwise, from my experience and everyone else, the internships do not teach you much. You gain very little skills, and it seems more so like they are just using your free labor (which happens but you truly gain nothing in return) or you just sit there and twiddle your thumbs.

The classes are interesting, and all of them have to give you a better understanding of the Thai culture. You typically meet just once a week for a 3 hour class, with a break in between. This means that during the week, you have plenty of free time to explore or do whatever you please.

Health wise, I went during the spring, in which they have burning season. The air pollution sky rockets to unbelievable levels. Most days you cannot see the mountains. Some days there was a yellow, orangish tint in the sky because of the pollution. Some people had sinus infections. Those with asthma should avoid coming in the spring. Many experience coughing, headaches, and other stressful symptoms. You can wear an air mask, but frankly, I don't know if they really work. Plus, your face sweat under the mask is dreadful.

Program: USAC THAILAND: Chiang Mai-Southeast Asian Economic Studies

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    9

Still my best experience abroad

I was a part of the inaugural program in Florianopolis in Spring 2013. Despite the program being brand new, it was an exceptional experience. The USAC team was awesome, the university (UFSC) was high-quality, and the city of Floripa is simply one of the greatest cities on the planet.

Since then, I've been to Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, and Mexico - but Florianopolis and Brazil still hold top the list of my experiences abroad.

Program: USAC BRAZIL: Florianópolis-Global Economy

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Florianópolis, Brazil - intro to Brazil and Latin America

I really do believe that each person makes their study abroad experience what it is, but I recommend choosing Florianópolis, Brazil because of its many options of activities, places to go, things to learn, and its introduction to Brazil and the rest of Latin America. I stayed in a homestay while in Florianópolis (which I recommend!), which afforded me the constant opportunity to not only practice my Portuguese skills, but build relationships with my host family. In my experience, having a host family helped me to feel more comfortable, taken care of, welcome, safe, and also confident in being able to live and exist in a new place. I also was very lucky that close to my host family were a group of apartments which housed both local Brazilians and people from my program. Having proximity to these folks also helped me to build connections with people within my program and with people who have lived and spent a lot of time on the island. For me, building all these relationships meant going to new places, trying new activities, and learning new things - Brazil, the local Floripa culture, Latin American history, and more personal things - like how to be vulnerable, how to sit and listen, how to be patient, how to ask for help and let others help you, how to achieve the things you need, among others. These are all things that I am sure other study abroad locations offer to students, but I feel that Florianópolis, a relatively small and growing city, with access to many beaches, a lively and active university campus, and just a flight or bus away from other Brazilian cities, has a nice stepping-stone feel to jump into a new place and a new period of one's life.

Program: USAC BRAZIL: Florianópolis-Global Economy

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