University Studies Abroad Consortium

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4.2 / 10 after 6 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

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First off, I 110% recommend attending a study abroad program in Italy, especially in Turin. It is the ideal immersive mix between academics and travel, has many renowned universities, a strong culture and is practically located in the center of Europe. HOWEVER, I STRONGLY caution against attending any USAC study abroad program, and I will outline why below.

Firstly, the program is rather costly, and costs more than a typical semester at any regular university, with very little opportunity for study or financial aid, especially if you go on a program outside your main university.

Secondly, you never know which staff members you will receive based on a certain location, but typically, the highest-ranking of the staff and of the entire consortium tend to be dry, unhelpful, and needlessly and excessively punitive. Your entire academic performance and transcripts for the semesters attended are essentially in the hands of a very strict, indignant, and ultimately unreasonable group of people. For example, if you happen to get sick (as I did, after coming down with a terrible illness) and miss more than one day in any given class, you can expect to get -2% OFF YOUR ENTIRE GRADE! That's right - 2% off the ENTIRE grade, not simply for "attendance" or any other percentage of the grade - this is even including a doctor's note. That's right, you could practically get hit by a bus, not be able to walk, and if you were in the hospital abroad and didn't happen to waddle your way over to class on crutches for an elective course, you can kiss any chance of getting a good grade in that class goodbye.

This example might seem excessive, however, they firmly ensure that there are no exceptions. Beyond that, I personally was denied any recommendation of a grade appeal, actually, the staff told me that there is nothing I can do, and the decision was final. This was ultimately a lie - there was a grade appeal process, and the window for it can close rather quickly, depending on what semester you are attending. USAC wants to put your academic career at risk and are the opposite of advocates for students, simply so they won't have to deal with your complaints. These transcripts go through American universities, so if you were hypothetically a diligent student otherwise, you can expect USAC to absolutely ruin/tarnish your transcript with their draconian policies. Do you really want to pay over $8000 to be treated like this by a place that isn't even a real university?

My main contention is that this type of punishment is practically unheard of in real, reputed universities. I have attended a few universities by way of transfer, and some community colleges. Typically, if ever there is a punishment for attendance, typically it only factors into a portion of the grade (let's say a weight of 10-20% at most). Beyond that, real, reputable universities accept medical forms and other official documents for excused absences. USAC is a consortium, meaning they are their own separate subgroup with their own strange academic system, however, they override any administrative decision made in the universities they contract, so they are the ones who determine the outcome of your grades.

As a caveat, the vast majority of professors I had in this program were amazing and knowledgable. Most of them were highly cultured and educated locals, and I am excluding them from this review. Some staff members are also local, and many are increasingly kind and helpful. This is primarily to warn you about how you will be treated institutionally by USAC.

I went on this program primarily because it was the only one available in this location that was relevant to my line of study. Hopefully, more competition will be created to allow foreigners to travel and study in main hubs in Italy like Turin and Milan, but for now, I would really recommend a program that at least has accountability with a university. That way, if you run into any issues abroad, you are not at the mercy of a consortium with increasingly uncommon academic procedures and a lack of common sense.

I encourage you to deeply research the policies of any study abroad program before attending, and if you really want to be taken care of and represented in a foreign country, choose another program.

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Posted: December 20, 2019
Overall:
4
Support:
2
Value:
4
By: TTina
Age:
26

Avoid USAC at all costs! Unprofessional and untrustworthy, these "advisors" will say anything over the phone, but will not support their statements in writing. They "lost" our child's background check information, then after they lied about how it was shipped, they encouraged her to "use a tourist visa, just don't tell anyone you're a student or you'll be deported" REALLY! It wasn't the advice of using a tourist visa that horrified us, it was the morally reprehensible way it was presented, along with the total lack of willingness to provide any support or apology for their incompetence. Their "solution" to dropping the ball on her student visa was to advise her to enter a foreign country under false pretenses, putting her in a position where mid-term she would need to leave the country, then re-enter it. Their own web-site advises against this, but they will say and do anything to get you in the program. After multiple lies, I started doing everything in e-mail just to have it in writing. I have tremendous respect for the person who tells me "I don't know, let me check" - you will not find that person at USAC. You will find bright minds that make up exactly what you want to hear - until you call them on it.Just don't ask them to exert an effort on your behalf, support their students, or be honest. If you are ok with those criteria, then by all means, enroll with USAC, who knows, your child may get to star in the next installment of "Locked up Abroad".

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Posted: November 28, 2012
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1
Age:
46

USAC is a partner program at my university, these people are sales persons only want your money and do not help you at all through the process. I spent months chasing them for information, their answers were vague and not at all helpful, some even insulting. I am an immigrant in this country with a permanent residency and needed different documentation to get my visa, I asked them several times for 6 months in advance, since it takes 3 to get the visa for the czech republic.. the so called program advisor, a disrespectful, careless LAZY woman emailed me yesterday... 3 months on the dot before leaving for prague saying "I need a criminal background check from Argentina that needs to be picked up in person" Even if I were to have the money to throw around to incompetent people such as this person, and her team, if we can even call it that, by the time I got these documents and back it would be too late to get my visa. I had to cancel my trip yesterday, they refuse to give me all my money back, they want to keep $300 of a fee and extra money from other fees, I now have no housing, no classes, and no motivation to go back to school (I will be a senior next year) thank you USAC FOR RUINING MY EXPERIENCE AND MY SENIOR YEAR. I now how to pay extra to fix their mess. spent an extra $600 in NYC getting documents for this program in a hurry, INVAIN since these people didn't give a *** about timing. I am still waiting on the official letter they were supposed to send me to send in my visa papers anyway.. never happened. I am traveling europe on my own next semester since im out of school now thanks to their irresponsibility carelessness and dehumanizing mistreat. I am so sorry for anyone else who had an awful experience with this bull*** lier company full of business people who call themselves advisors... give me a friking break! I am an advisor, and I know how to tell people when I don't know the answer and will get back at them through email, I do not LIE to them and mess up their finances and experiences and future. I hope this review saves a few from making the mistake I made. I am ***ed beyond compare if you cant tell by this review. USAC should stand for USELESS SIMPLY *** CRIME or something of that sort.

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Posted: May 12, 2011
Overall:
0 (worst)
Support:
0
Value:
0
By: nblds
Age:
New User

The USAC people have demonstrated being lazy and having a lazy work ethic. They hit on the women. There always late and change where your classroom is being held. They dont care about you and tell you to take a taxi. They lie and are out for themselves.

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Location:
Posted: January 27, 2011
Overall:
5
Support:
3
Value:
2
By: goat
Age:
New User

I studied in Heredia, Costa Rica with USAC for one full academic year. First off, the application process was very simple and both the advisors at my school and at USAC were very helpful in answering any questions I had. I like the catalog that is available to students, so they can look through each study location and choose what is best for them based off course listings, price, location, language,etc. I found that USAC was the cheapest way for me to study in Costa Rica, especially because of the scholarships offered by USAC. I liked the credit transfer from USAC to my university, Boise State. I had no troubles finding the classes I needed and every credit transferred back as BSU credit towards my major. After being in Costa Rica one year I earned 4 years worth of Spanish credit.
The trips that were included in the USAC fees were very fun, and I also participated in the optional weeklong tour to Panama, which was amazing. The USAC staff in Heredia was very helpful. Any question I had for them was answered very rapidly and the staff was very concerned about the happiness of their students. Whenever I wanted to travel, I would ask the USAC staff if they had any advice for me. Most of the time they would tell me the best way to get there and the most inexpensive places to stay. Every other week USAC planned a "tico-friend" event where USAC students met up with Costa Rican students to practice Spanish, eat food, and dance. I met most of my friends at the "tico-friend" events and still keep in contact with them.
The housing was very nice. I lived with a Costa Rican host-family and each day they cooked me three meals, did my laundry and taught me about the life in Costa Rica. Also, my host-family took me on family vacations. I was treated like a member of the family and loved every moment of it.
Costa Rica was a great place to study Spanish and travel. The food was cheap and the transportation was cheaper. Heredia is nice because it is not a tourist location, so finding locals to talk to is easy. The capital, San Jose, is just five miles from Heredia, so in just 30 minutes by bus, I was at the bus terminal to go to whichever part of Costa Rica or Central America I wanted.

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Location:
Posted: December 12, 2010
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9
By: masonshaw
Age:
New User

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