Falling in Love with Study Abroad

Happy (almost) Valentine’s Day, USACers! In recent years, we’ve celebrated Valentine’s Day with alumni love stories from abroad, but we know that studying abroad has so much more to offer. So, we asked USAC staff and alumni what, not who, they fell in love with during their time abroad. From host families to local music, there’s a million things to love about study abroad! 

USAC alumni and staff members fell in love with… 

“During my study abroad experiences, I fell in love with the world through the amazing people I met!  Through my Resident Directors, professors, language partners, service-learning coordinators, students I taught, fellow USAC students and local Spanish and Indian students I was able to experience the world like I’d never been able to before. I learned about things I never knew existed, shared in experiences, rituals, and culture that brought us joy, no matter our differences. I created a global network and memories I will share for a lifetime. And as I fell in love with the world, it helped me find my place in it.” – Cami A., Director, USAC Advising Department 

“When I studied abroad in Ireland I fell in love with the relaxed and easy-going nature of the culture. It wasn’t uncommon to pop into the pub with friends and listen to a band playing trad music (traditional Irish music). It taught me to slow down and really enjoy the moment instead of rushing off to the next task, like we so often do as Americans.” – Emily S., USAC Partnership Coordinator 

“I took an art course on Impressionism during my study abroad in France with little-to-no previous art history knowledge. My eyes were open to the incredible works and lives of Monet, Matisse, Degas, and so many others, and I fell in love with the style. Being able to travel to museums and see their art first-hand was an unforgettable experience.” – Nicole D., USAC Marketing Communications Specialist 

“During my time studying in New Zealand, I absolutely fell in love with nature. Prior to studying abroad, I had not been part of a community that loved nature as much as the New Zealanders do. They view their land as a sacred place that should be enjoyed but should also be protected so that others can enjoy it in future generations. I really loved being involved in a community that prioritized having a connection with nature in order to preserve it. They have inexpensive camping, endless public hikes, and even huts you can reserve deep within the mountains for overnight hiking trips. They promote outdoor activities in order to increase their community’s connection with nature so that people will want to preserve it. I really loved this way of getting the community passionate about preserving New Zealand’s picturesque natural land.” – Sarah D., USAC Palmerston North Alumni 

Photo taken before COVID-19.

Our followers on Instagram shared what they fell in love with, too! 

“My home stay family! They treated me like family and made me never want to leave!” – @hannahhmcdowell 

“The architecture and how beautifully crafted the buildings were in Spain.” – @jordaaaaannn 

“My host family in Puntarenas, CR spring semester 2008!” – @drewwbear 

“Hiking and my host family (and their many pets!)” – @haydrisky 

“A million different things, but the beautiful people of Brazil topped the list.” – @Monisnyder  

“Myself! Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my self-worth thus far.” @asha_caraballo  

“Being more adventurous and spontaneous!” – @jennalovezyou 

“I fell in love with traveling and exploring the historical sites of my host country.” – @vanessaarnold123 

“The Thai culture, and the beautiful people I became such good friends with, both Thai and U.S.!” – @eleahwills 

“The music! Ireland has music in its soul, and I loved hearing it everywhere I went.” – @katy.deditz  

If you’re looking for more study abroad love stories, you won’t want to miss our newest episode of the Students Beyond Borders Podcast. Listen now. 
Create a study abroad experience you’re sure to fall in love with! Explore 2021 programs on the USAC website.