Study abroad is life changing. You hear it time and time again, it’s the most common response from students who have experienced it. The beauty of study abroad is it can be life changing on a variety of levels; from personal and professional growth to cultural growth and academic achievements. No student’s journey is the same, which is why the best way to learn about the benefits of study abroad is from those who have experienced it.
If you’re patiently (or not-so-patiently) waiting for your chance to finally hop on a plane again, or if you’re just starting your study abroad research, one of the best ways to get inspired is to hear about study abroad from people who have already lived it. These ten student testimonials put the experience of study abroad into better words than we ever could, so let’s see what some of our students had to say.
Easing the transition into a new culture
“There are so many wonderful things to do in Chengdu. Such as trying new foods, going for walks, going to the museum and so much more. USAC is also a great program. The staff make transitioning into China so easy. They are always eager to help and plan super great field trips. My favorite field trip with USAC was our field study to Xian. Xian is such a cool city with so much history. My study abroad was by far one of the best experiences I have ever had. I definitely plan on going back to China in my future.” Mireya Garcia, USAC Chengdu
Learning about yourself
“USAC offered me an experience that changed my life forever. I learned not only more about a foreign language and culture but also about myself, and that is the biggest takeaway any program could possibly offer. USAC offered classes that pushed me to use my foreign language in new and fun ways which really helped me develop my skills inside of the classroom. They also presented me with resources to use in order to meet international and Spanish students in Valencia which was the highlight of my experience.” Candace Wade, USAC Valencia
Immersing into the community
“This experience was everything I could have hoped for and more. What I found the most valuable was the immersion into the community in Viterbo as a whole. I felt like I had lived there my whole life and have already been back to visit. The classes were amazing and interactive. I talk about study abroad to everyone and value this experience for shaping my career interests.” Charlotte Dean, USAC Viterbo
Opening eyes to new friends and experiences
“This program from the time I applied to the day I departed was entirely supportive and eager to help. On the first and last days, and every day in between, the staff made sure I was immersed in the culture. They would coordinate everything possible for us to get an authentic experience in the Czech Republic, from intimate dinners where we learned to cook Czech cuisine, to countryside hikes and castle tours. My experience here was complete because of the effort and consideration the staff put in to make my stay worthwhile. Not to mention the proximity to other countries, where you can truly take advantage of living in Europe. Prague itself is an incredible place, and it opened my eyes to a new world filled with new friends and incomparable experiences. I highly recommend this program and this country!” Chris Hilton, USAC Prague
Living with a host family
“I lived with a single, retired host mom, and had a fabulous time with her. She was very caring and affectionate but allowed the independence I needed to make the most of my experience. She cooked delicious food for me, brought me sightseeing, and introduced me to family friends. I loved spending time with her, and “once” or teatime with her was among my favorite moments of each day.” Francesca Mauro, USAC Santiago
Gaining foreign language skills and confidence
“Costa Rica and USAC truly changed my life. I saw so much growth within myself and the other students in my program. One of the most amazing takeaways in my ability to speak and understand Spanish. Through cultural immersion with the help of my USAC classes, I gained the skills and confidence to speak to other Spanish speakers.” Kelsey Austin, USAC Puntarenas
Getting educated outside the classroom
“The program director Jum, and all of her supporting staff, cared very much about my safety and well-being in Thailand and cultivated an engaging and meaningful experience in Chiang Mai.” “My favorite course was Thai Civilizations. We had many class reading and lectures but most of our time was spent at museums or visiting local temples and nearby cities to attach what we learned in our books to Thai history and culture outside of the classroom.” “From opportunities like volunteering to teach English at the monasteries, refurbishing play equipment at a local orphanage, and my internship with visually impaired students—the USAC program in Chiang Mai provided me a foundation of experience and understanding of living and traveling abroad, that helped prepare me for my Fulbrighht program.” Niecea Freeman, USAC Chiang Mai
Fully embracing a different culture
“A country full of warm people and even warmer food. Every day was a new adventure with challenges to be met and surprises around every corner. It is truly the land of unity and diversity. Every state has its own language, dress, food, and geography. There is always a festival to be celebrated and hundreds of people to celebrate with. India will grow you in ways that a Western study abroad trip can’t. India will change you. It’s an empowering experience.” Victoria, USAC Bengaluru
Diving into an unknown place
“This program in Pau had absolutely everything you could hope for or imagine in a study abroad experience. A more suburban area gives a clearer picture of national culture, and the town is perfectly situated in the Basque country, a region with such rich history and particularities. Locals were kind to students and so patient as we stumbled through ordering food or buying things. There was truly something for everyone- nature, shopping, downtown areas, foods of all cuisines, live music, movie festivals, swimming.” Delphanie, USAC Pau
“Brighton is a super accepting town that doesn’t care about size, skin, sexual orientation or gender. Brighton welcomes those who are undeniably themselves.” Hannah O’Brien, USAC Brighton
Ready to begin your study abroad journey? Discover USAC in-person programs and virtual opportunities today.