Whether it’s, snorkeling, dirt biking, or roller coasters, adventure junkies are always seeking the next best adrenaline-rush producing activity. Studying abroad with USAC provides students with amazing opportunities to discover culture, meet new people, and travel to new cities, mountain ranges, and oceans – the perfect playground to discover adventure. If you find yourself craving an outing that’s destined to be your next social media profile picture, check out these awe-inspiring destinations, all of which can be experienced through USAC study abroad programs.
New Zealand – North and South Island
Just a skip and a hop away from Australia, New Zealand offers visitors with countless activities not for the faint of heart adventurer. These islands are dabbled with mountains, volcanoes, and glacial regions; depending on the time of year, every adventure seeker will find the thrill they need.
Popular activities for locals and foreigners alike include skiing, snorkeling, surfing, hiking/backpacking, rafting, caving and more. Be sure to check out the famous Waitomo caves filled with bio-luminescent glowworms and the Flying Fox zip-line at Mokai Gravity Canyon. USAC has a total of four programs in NZ and Australia: The Gold Coast, Melbourne, Auckland/Palmerston North/Wellington, and Hawke’s Bay… Better start packing!
If you’re all about fresh powder, then perhaps the Alps are for you. While summertime tourism is growing, winter sports still reign supreme on these mountains. Luckily for visitors, the Alps are the most extensive mountain range in Europe, traversing eight countries and former hosts of five separate Winter Olympic Games.
These mountains are so distinguished that the name Alps has been given to other ranges in Japan and New Zealand. The multi-country coverage means that over 15 USAC programs are available to please as many snow-birds as possible. If you hope to find yourself on a ski lift, shredding down a mountain, in snow shoes, or backpacking with a view, this is the place to be.
3. South Africa
For those of us who love to travel, and perhaps have faith in bucket lists, South Africa is mentioned time and time again. From the stunning coastline with iSimangaliso Wetland Park, the home to eight interlinking ecosystems, to the mountains of Drakensberg (both UNESCO World Heritage sites), this African country is a growing hub to adventure chasers from around the world.
Go on a safari trip and come to face to face with the diverse wildlife in Kruger National Park, visit iconic Table Mountain, hike or boat through Blyde River Canyon (the largest green canyon in the world) and take in the view from the lighthouse at the Cape of Storms. You can even swim with sharks or paraglide over the majestic terrain. If the outdoors isn’t a top priority for the day, check out a beautiful winery in the Cape Winelands or the booming nightlife in the university town of Stellenbosch – USAC has a program here!
4. Costa Rica
A thrifty option (and for many Westerners, closer to home) is the beautiful country of Costa Rica. With pristine beaches, decadent rainforests, and sky high mountains, this Central American gem is not one to look over. Experience the rush-inducing zip lines, some nearly two miles long! Snorkel in the crystal waters and learn about the local reef culture on a weekend adventure. Also, if you’re up to something world class, check out the record-setting white water rapids strewn about the country’s landscape. USAC’s three locations each offer special experiences, all with access to the mountains and the sea: Heredia, Puntarenas, and San Ramón
5. The Patagonia Region – South America
Carved by centuries of geological movement, Patagonia offers visitors an eclectic geographic expanse that stretches over 400,000 square miles in Argentina and Chile. The region lies southeast of Santiago and borders the Andes Mountains and is the home to the Perito Moreno Glacier, over 19 miles in length, the Valdes Peninsula, Ushuaia (the southernmost city in the world) and the Cirque de las Altares Mountains.
For the voyager seeking out a unique, rough, bold terrain, Patagonia may be the adventure awaiting your arrival. Jutting mountain peaks, steep cliffs, volcanoes and steppes come together to form a majestic landscape of rugged beauty. Depending on the season, courageous travelers can rock climb, participate in snow sports, mountaineer, trek across glaciers, raft, mountain bike, and ride horses on the beautiful terrain of South America.
Do any of these destinations speak to your inner Adventure Junkie? Tell us about it below!