Anna is the Program Advisor for USAC programs in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Ghana, New Zealand, South Africa, and Uruguay. Interested in studying abroad in one of these locations? Keep reading to learn more about your Program Advisor!
Where did you study abroad?
I was fortunate enough to study with USAC in both Santiago, Chile and London, England. I completed just over two months of my Chile program in-country before being called back to the U.S. at the height of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. I then decided to study in London during the spring of 2021 thanks to online courses and limited travel.
I also spent a few months traveling with Semester At Sea, which took me to multiple countries as we circumnavigated the globe (back in the fall of 2018.)
What is your favorite memory from your time abroad?
It’s hard to pick just one, but when it comes down to it, Pucón, Chile is always what comes to mind when I think of the ‘highlight reel’ of my time abroad.
I spent a weekend hiking and camping in the mountains of central Chile just a few weeks before COVID sent us home. It was one of the best, most present weekends I’ve ever had and it was made so special because of the people I got to share that time with.
Everything about both the mountain (Huerquehue National Park) and the town below felt like the perfect reprieve as Santiago began to feel extra hot in the midst of summer and the crowds began to return after families’ holidays had ended. That quintessentially Chilean experience, from the local vendors to meeting new people on the dock at the lake by our camp, reminded me that there is value in slowing down during international trips.
What is your favorite place you’ve traveled?
Chile is probably my favorite place overall due to the diverse landscape and the amount of time that I got to spend there so totally immersed.
However, in my travels, I got to visit Myanmar for a week. It was the most incredible experience for me personally, but it also really helped my understanding of how culture can lead to conflict in a more globalized sense. I spent time at a meditation retreat that helped change my internal view of self, but I also spoke to people and saw places that helped better my external understanding of the world.
What is your funniest travel memory?
Once, in India, we ordered a few Ubers at 2:30 a.m. to try and get to the Taj Mahal for sunrise. A brilliant plan that had no actual thought put into the fact that we were staying in a pretty residential area, hours from Agra, and wanted to leave in the dead of the night with no prior reservations.
A language barrier and tired driver led to us being convinced that we were being kidnapped as we drove nearly an hour in the opposite direction (so that the driver could trade-off with his brother.). In retrospect, it was a totally safe and okay situation but in the middle of the night driving North instead of South with little to no service, I’m sure you can imagine that we felt otherwise.
A good story now, it was also a great lesson on traveling in areas where English is not as commonly used, and preparing ahead of time for big plans.
If you could go on any USAC program, what would it be and why?
I would absolutely love to spend time in Thailand and, after watching all the USAC Youtube content I could find, I would have loved to somehow squeeze in a fourth semester abroad! It looks like Chiang Mai would be such a unique, enriching experience.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I am a writer by nature, but I also love creating and producing any sort of content I can, really! I have been lucky enough to write multiple pieces and produce some videos for USAC, but am a freelance writer in my spare time and run a personal blog/portfolio site for fun!
I try to do yoga and meditation practices at least once a day and also channel my love of writing through journaling before or after those practices.
I like to get into as much as I can manage at one time. Also, if it isn’t quite clear yet, I am a huge traveler and will hop on anything from a weekend road trip to a last-minute international flight (both COVID and work permitting, of course!)
What is a weird fact about you?
I spent a bit of time in Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost town in the world, in March of 2020. So, I was literally at what is known as ‘el fin del Mundo or ‘the end of the world’ as the whole world began to shut down. It was very bizarre to come back to the U.S. after being so isolated and in such a completely different environment (talk about reverse culture shock!).
What’s on your bucket list?
My goal is to get to every country possible, but I want to take time to really appreciate the places that I go.
So, I would love to take a ‘real’ backpacking trip at some point. I’ve backpacked before, and am no stranger to hostels, but I would love to experience more of the camping, hiking, and off-the-grid sort of locations that often are associated with the concept of backpacking a place and disconnecting.
What’s a meme that describes your life?
I love being around other people so much, but also: