Meet Victoria, the newest member of the USAC Advising team. Victoria is here to help you learn more about USAC programs and plan your study abroad.
Where did you study abroad?
I studied abroad in Pau, France and Mérida, Mexico.
What is your favorite memory from your time abroad?
Some of my favorite memories from study abroad were evenings spent with my host family in Pau. My host mom was a phenomenal cook and every evening felt like I was dining at a restaurant. We always had some sort of appetizer or salad, main course, cheese, and dessert, and my host dad always had different types of wine and ciders for me to try. There was also a French-to-English dictionary at the table in case either of us got stuck in conversation. On my final night before I returned home, we sat at the table talking for hours. At the end of the night, he gave me a bottle of 2005 Bordeaux wine that his father had specially bottled for his family and friends. I still have it — I’m waiting for the perfect occasion to open it!
What is your favorite place you’ve traveled? Why?
Pisac, Peru. I was backpacking through Peru with the goal of reaching Machu Picchu. On the way to the iconic ruins, you must pass through the Sacred Valley and Pisac is a tiny town on the way. I was able to hike the Inca Trail for miles while only running into a handful of people. The ruins were incredibly preserved and the sights from the top of the temples were breathtaking. I also met a Peruvian woman at the temples. She told me she was on a spiritual journey, reconnecting to her ancestors by hiking the trail. We chatted and walked along it together until I tuned toward the town center, and she continued her journey. It’s a conversation and person I will never forget.
What is your funniest travel memory?
I went to an “interactive” zoo in Cuenca, Ecuador where the animals were up close and personal, if not just roaming around. I came across an escaped monkey while there, and eventually, found my way to the bird exhibit. There, I stumbled upon a flock of the scariest and angriest birds (Pava Ala de Hoz) I’ve ever seen. I ended up being chased across the exhibit, as they bit my ankles, until I got away by shutting myself inside an empty cage. With no employees or other visitors around, I spent quite a bit of time there until they lost interest.
If you could go on any USAC program, what would it be and why?
I would love to go on the Prague program! The castles, history, architecture, and food look amazing, and I’m always interested in learning about a new language and culture. I like that the program offers a two-week intensive Czech language course and the neighboring countries have always been on my bucket list to visit.
What do you like to do outside of work?
When I’m feeling active, I really enjoy hiking and walking around local lakes. But I also love to explore new restaurants, coffee shops, farmers markets, and watch Netflix shows for hours on end when I need to decompress.
What is a weird fact about you?
I once hula hooped for 2.5 hours straight to win a bike with a built-in radio.
What’s on your bucket list?
As of right now, I have a top three. I would love to go to Croatia and explore the beaches, islands, and lakes and see the historic streets and churches. I would also love to visit Mont Saint Michel in France and Mendoza, Argentina.