At USAC we send students to more than 50 program locations across 27 countries. A common question we receive is if there is any on-site staff support with our programs.
The short answer is, yes! Staff support will vary depending on which USAC program location you study at. USAC has two types of programs, specialty and partnership and they’re a little different.
- Specialty programs: USAC has 30 Specialty program locations across 18 countries. Specialty programs are run by on-site USAC Resident Directors, staff, and faculty who are hired and employed by USAC. Approximately 84 percent of USAC students attend a Specialty program. A Specialty program provides a great deal of individualized support and attention prior to departure and throughout the program term.
- Partnership programs: USAC has 24 Partnership program locations across 13 countries. Partnership programs are exchange-based agreements in which USAC functions as the intermediary between the students and our partner university abroad. The international office and staff at the foreign university run these programs. Students take classes mostly in English and earn foreign university credit from the partner university. At many sites, students will have access to the full university curriculum in addition to courses taught specifically for visiting students. At the end of the program abroad, USAC will deliver the foreign university transcript to the student’s home university along with recommendations for converting the foreign university credits and grades to US equivalencies.
There are some additional differences between the two program models that you can read about here. But in today’s article we’re focusing on the 30 specialty programs and the on-site staff, or Resident Directors, that run these programs.
What is the role of a Resident Director?
Your Resident Director is there for you from the moment your plane lands to when you leave your program and beyond. They’re available day and night to assist with anything you could possibly need, or to just hang out. Many of them also lead the field trips and group activities, and all will play an integral role in your time abroad.
The Resident Director is a great resource for things to do in the city and how to make the most of your time abroad. Don’t be surprised if the Resident Directors become your counselors, stand-in mom/dad, and a great friend that you keep in touch with the rest of your life. They also work alongside a small team that is there to assist with your time abroad as well.
We wanted to get to know the USAC Resident Directors a little better, so we asked them to share some information about themselves, their favorite thing about their host country as well as why you should study abroad with them!
Resident Director: Renato Carvalho
Renato Carvalho has worked for USAC Brazil since its first program in Spring 2013, first as the program assistant and now the RD. Previously, he worked three years in management consulting and internal audits for Ernst and Young in Brazil. He holds a degree in business administration from UFSC (where our program is based) and is completing his MBA in education at UDESC. Renato speaks Portuguese and English fluently, as well as some Spanish and French.
Resident Director: Jorge Molina
Jorge Molina Zuñiga studied English teaching and earned his master’s degree in English and Educational Administration, as well as Organizational Leadership. Jorge has been with USAC since 2013 when he started as a program assistant, but in his early 20s, he spent time in Argentina working and collaborating on social projects. He speaks Spanish, English, and is currently studying Portuguese.
Resident Director: Wentao Song
Wentao Song, a Chinese native, is a 20 year veteran of USAC. She earned a master’s degree from Sichuan University and is fluent in Chinese and English. Before USAC, Wentao worked as an International Program Coordinator and Chinese Language Instructor at Sichuan University and spent a year in Hochschule Bremen, Germany, teaching Economic Chinese and Advanced Chinese.
Resident Director: Jessica Wang
Jessica holds an MA degree in English, Foreign Linguistics and Applied linguistics, and a BA degree in teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. She has been program assistant and Chinese language instructor for USAC Shanghai since 2013 and was promoted to the role of Resident Director in 2019. She also spent one semester as a Chinese history teaching assistant at the
USAC Chengdu program in 2012.
Heredia, Costa Rica
Resident Director: Carlitos Oviedo
Carlos “Carlitos” Oviedo has been working with USAC since 1999. He is a Costa Rican native who holds a master’s degree in Educational Administration and completed graduate work at Universidad Nacional in Exercise Physiology. He is currently furthering his education by working toward a Ph.D. in Education. Carlitos is fluent in Spanish, English, and speaks basic Italian.
Puntarenas & San Ramón, Costa Rica
Resident Director: Carlos Salas
Carlos Salas, a Costa Rican native, has been with USAC since 1995. Carlos earned his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas and is fluent in Spanish and English. Carlos helped develop USAC’s three programs in Costa Rica, and Cuba, and helped USAC shape our program in Uruguay.
Montevideo, Uruguay & La Habana, Cuba
Resident Director: Sebastián Bombi
Sebastián Bombi, a native of Uruguay, is the Resident Director for the La Habana and Montevideo Programs and previously worked for USAC for several years in Costa Rica. Sebastián is a computer engineer by training and holds an MBA. He is fluent in both Spanish and English.
Prague, Czech Republic
Resident Director: Jan Stodola
Jan Stodola, a native of Prague, has been with USAC since 2001. He earned his master’s degree from Charles University and is fluent in Czech and English. Jan spent one semester abroad at the American University in Washington, D.C., where he interned at the Voice of America.
Brighton, Bristol, London, Reading, England
Resident Director: Jeremy Doughty
Jeremy Doughty, a Wisconsin native, joined USAC in April 2019. He earned his doctorate in higher education administration from Bowling Green State University. Prior to his role as the Resident Director in London, Jeremy worked in the fields of international education and community engagement in the U.S., South Africa, and Ukraine.
Resident Director: Stefano Pizzetti
Stefano Pizzetti, and Italian native, has been with USAC since 1997 (first as Torino Program Assistant and then as Viterbo Resident Director in 2006). As the Resident Director in Lyon since summer 2016, he holds a degree in business administration from the University of Torino and is fluent in Italian, English, French and Spanish.
Resident Director: Stefanie Seewald
Dr. Stefanie Seewald is a native German and has worked with USAC since 2001. She earned her doctorate degree in Intercultural Learning from Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and has taught courses in Political Science, German language, and Intercultural Communication on the program. Stefanie is fluent in English and German.
Resident Director: Abigail M Opong Tetteh
Abigail M Opong Tetteh, a native of Ghana, is the Resident Director for the Accra program and is a 12-year veteran of USAC. She earned a master’s degree from the University of Twente in The Netherlands and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology at the University of Education, Winneba, Ghana. Abigail is fluent in Twi, Fanti, Ga, and English.
Resident Director: Smriti Chhabra
Smriti has an undergraduate degree in math, statistics, and computer science; as well as a graduate degree in advertisement and communications, marketing management, and consumer behavior. She has over eight years of experience in international, cultural, and education exchange supporting students in an academic environment. Smriti is originally from Hyderabad and lived in Mumbai for over a decade.
Resident Director: Mary Steele
Mary Steele is the Resident Director of USAC Cork, working on both the Partnership and Specialty Programs. Mary has over 20 years’ experience in study abroad at University College Cork. She is a Cork native, but she lived abroad for several years in Oxford, UK.
Resident Director: Eliana Silvestro
Eliana Silvestro has been with USAC since 2004 and has been the Resident Director of the Torino Program since 2017. She holds a master’s degree in Political Science and an advanced master’s degree in Globalization and Development from the University of Torino. She is fluent in Italian, English, French, and Piemontese dialect.
Reggio Emilia, Italy
Resident Director: Simona Lai
Simona has been with USAC since 2009 (first in Torino) and has been the Resident Director of the Reggio Emilia Program since 2016. She holds a degree in Foreign Languages for Linguistic and Cultural Mediation, a master’s degree in Foreign Language for International Communication, and advanced graduate certification in Foreign Language Teaching. She speaks Italian, English, and German.
Resident Director: Francesca del Guidice
Francesca del Giudice is originally from Tuscany and started as the Viterbo Program coordinator in 2006, when the program opened. She holds a degree in Foreign Languages and a MA in Communication and Organization of International Management both from Università della Tuscia. Francesca is fluent in English and German and speaks some French.
Resident Director: Irene Fanini
Irene Fanini, a Verona native, is the Resident Director in Verona. She has an undergraduate degree in education, and two master’s degrees in International Relations and Cultural Mediation. She studied abroad in the Netherlands and Brazil and has professional work experience in both Brazil and Cambodia. She in fluent in Italian, English, and Portuguese.
Resident Director: Anna Lisiecka
Anna has been the USAC program assistant since the program opened in 2018 and has recently been promoted to resident director. Previously, Anna was the Studies in English Coordinator for the Crakow University of Economics, where the USAC program is based. She holds an undergraduate degree in ethnology and two graduate degrees in ethnology and public relations. Anna speaks Polish, English, German, and Czech.
Resident Director: Luis Fernández
Luis Fernández, a native of Galicia, Spain, has been the Resident Director for the Alicante Program since 2001. Luis earned his master’s degree from the University of Stirling, Scotland, and is fluent in Spanish, Galician, and English.
Resident Director: Ibon Zamanillo Elguezabal
Ibon Zamanillo has been with USAC since he started teaching for the program in 2002 and became the Resident Director in 2008. Ibon holds an MS in Industrial Engineering from the Engineering School of Bilbao and graduated Cum Laude with a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of the Basque Country.
Resident Director: Álvaro Carredano
Álvaro Carredano, a native of San Sebastián, Spain, is a 30 year veteran of USAC. Before Madrid, Álvaro was the Resident Director in Chile for nine years, started the Heredia, Costa Rica Program, and has been the RD in Madrid since 2001. He did his graduate work at the University of Oviedo and speaks Spanish, English, and Basque.
San Sebastián, Spain
Resident Director: Patricia O’Connor
Patricia O’Connor, a native of the United States, is the Resident Director of the San Sebastián Program and has worked with USAC for many years. Patricia holds a Ph.D. in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s in Counseling. She is fluent in Spanish and English.
Resident Director: Sara Elso
Sara Elso, a native of Spain, has worked with USAC since 1997. During her time with USAC, Sara has worked as a Resident Director in Lyon and as a Spanish Language and Culture professor at four USAC program sites: San Sebastián, Alicante, Madrid and Puebla (México). She did her graduate work at the Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea and is fluent in French, Spanish, Basque, and English.
Chiang Mai & Khon Kaen, Thailand
Resident Director: Chaidarun “Jum” Tippawan
Chaidarun “Jum” Tippawan has been the Resident Director for Chiang Mai since 2013 and is now the Resident Director for our newest program in Khon Kaen. She received her master’s degree from Uppsala University in Sweden, and her professional experience was mainly in higher education and research before she came to USAC. Jum speaks English and Thai fluently and was a certified UN simultaneous translator in Thai-English.