Here at USAC, we pride ourselves on providing rigorous academic opportunities for students to boost your education and keep you on track with your degree. One critical pillar to our academic framework is our professors, and we don’t think they get enough credit! No matter where you choose to study, you can do so comfortably knowing that you’ll be taught by some of the best professors available in your host city who work hard to prepare courses, immersive experiences, and fun activities into your study abroad academics.
To introduce you to some of our educators around the world and share what makes them tick, we chatted with a few professors in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Meet Conrado Bonilla
I live in Punta del Este, Uruguay. I had a life-changing experience when I was awarded a tennis scholarship in the United States, and went as a student athlete to the University of Toledo, Ohio. There, I obtained my Bachelor in Business Administration, with an expertise in international marketing, and a master’s in economics.
I started teaching and working with USAC in Fall 2017, the first semester of the Montevideo program. Besides university teaching, I have worked in several companies where I occupied various management positions. Personal experiences also include living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Mexico. I have a passion for the study of our local culture, as well as regional and universal history.
What is your favorite part about working with USAC?
From a fairly young age, I have been traveling and getting to know people from all over the world. Teaching at USAC allows me to remain connected to my second home country, working within a culture and language with which I feel very comfortable. Also, I get to know new people from all over the U.S. and Europe every semester, so I get to travel along with them through their stories, also learning about their homelands and cities.
What is the university like?
The ORT Campus at Pocitos is a very nice facility with all the resources we need to teach in a comfortable atmosphere. On top of that, is located in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of Montevideo, at walking distance from the “Rambla” and the sea, or River Plate.
What do USAC students typically love most about your courses?
I believe the combination of both theoretical and real-life teachings and examples that I always like to show them, either in class or by going directly to specific places (walking around in certain neighborhoods, visiting different businesses, museums and talking to selected people or with our guest speakers on occasion). And also, obviously, the Field Studies are always enjoyed. Either in Rio de la Plata People and Culture or in Viticulture Business, I make sure we combine lots of learning with lots of fun. I believe the students appreciate that a lot and the incredible evaluations we get semester after semester backs up that feeling.
Why do you think study abroad is important for students of all backgrounds and degrees?
Studying abroad is like achieving many goals or acquiring many skills, just by doing one thing. Thanks to this experience students of all backgrounds become more mature by having to take many decisions by themselves and away from home. They also will broaden their knowledge not only academically but also regarding life itself and people in general. They can learn or master a new language, and they will become more prepared for a better future, where we all live in an integrated and diverse world.
What do you love the most about Montevideo?
What I like the most about the city is that it’s manageable in the sense that you can be almost anywhere within walking distance, or a 15 to 20 minutes bus ride. Also, it’s a beautiful city, with Art Deco architecture and the unbelievable “rambla.”
What advice do you have for students interested in studying in Montevideo?
Being a capital city — cultural offering, bars, cafés, and shopping options — is a great thing that not many other places can offer. Also, Uruguay is pretty small, so you can be in the beautiful Colonia del Sacramento (an UNESCO World Heritage founded by the Portuguese in the 1600s) within a two and a half hours bus ride from Montevideo, or in the incredible seaside resort of Punta del Este (one of the top in South America) within two hours. Come and relax with the “tranquilo” style of Uruguayans, while getting to know all these places and enjoying the culture.
What do you do during your time off? What is your favorite thing to do in Montevideo?
I love sports, so in my time off I usually go jogging, swimming, cycling, playing soccer, or tennis. I also have a passion for the study of our local culture, as well as regional and universal history, so I’m usually buying new or secondhand old books about these matters. I usually do not have enough time to read all of them, so the pile keeps growing, but I don’t care!
In Montevideo, I usually take advantage of the great and diverse cultural scene the city has to offer: nice historic unique cafes, bars of all types, museums, music shows, cinemas, the Carnival, Candombe drums, and more. Montevideo has everything you can imagine… and more!
What’s on your bucket list?
Get to know Southeast Asia. Have a living experience somewhere in Europe. Learn to play classic guitar. Go to a soccer world cup with my son. Learn and study more history and philosophy.
What is one fun/unique/interesting fact about yourself?
Well, I was born in Uruguay, but went to the U.S. for my senior year in high school and university. I also lived and worked in Mexico and Buenos Aires, Argentina. So, without forgetting about my origins and roots, I feel sort of a hybrid citizen: “I’m not from here, I’m not from there.” I like meeting people from everywhere and share life stories, cultural aspects, and learn about the history of their countries and communities.