San Ramón is situated about halfway between San José and Puntarenas, in the beautiful Central Valley of Costa Rica. Set against a dramatic backdrop of mountains, San Ramón is truly the heart of Costa Rica, where you will encounter friendly people and a peaceful, relaxed lifestyle. It is an ideal location for students interested in ecology and biology. Manuel Brenes, one of the richest forest reserves in Costa Rica, is located just outside the city. It offers a number of hiking trails and canopy tours where one can explore the cloud forest and spot rare quetzals, hummingbirds, monkeys, coatis, deer, and sloths. Within the city, you will find an impressive church, many excellent restaurants and shops, a variety of banks, a mall, and theatres. Just north of the main square is the Museo de San Ramón, which showcases the important role the city has played in Costa Rican history and culture. Known as "the city of presidents and poets," San Ramón has been home to many of Costa Rica’s great political and literary figures, such as former President Jose Figueres Ferrer, who abolished the country’s army and granted women the right to vote. Most San Ramón residents are involved in farming and agriculture, so the weekly Saturday morning farmers markets, or "ferias del agricultor," are not to be missed. You will find a delicious variety of locally grown fruits, vegetables and coffee. Another festive San Ramón tradition occurs in August: San Ramón Day is a day of citywide celebration that includes music, dancing and parades of saints.
The Florianópolis program offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the incredibly diverse and dynamic culture of Brazil while living on a beautiful sub-tropical island and studying at one South America's most prestigious universities. The program is ideal for students who want to learn about the world's fifth-largest country, one of the fastest-growing economies, and its diverse mix of European, African, and indigenous cultures. Learn an old European language with a unique modern twist while soaking up the beautiful weather and sandy white beaches of the southeastern Brazilian coast. Influences from centuries of immigration collide and are reborn on this island which has retained and developed a culture that is different from the mainland and unique to Brazil. Locals mingle with visitors from Europe and the Americas who choose the island's charms and almost perpetually warm climate. Near the thriving old colonial center, you will study Portuguese and a range of optional courses at Brazil's third largest university. All of these factors create a fascinating learning and social atmosphere for USAC students. This program focuses on academic areas in which Brazil is a world leader: Cultural Studies, Global Economy, and Natural Resource Management. You will have the opportunity to study the complexities of contemporary Brazilian society through a wide selection of courses in English, as well as through your own interactions with the host culture. In addition, an intensive Portuguese language course is offered to all students to create an essential base with which to better understand the country. The intensive approach will allow you to complete up to two years of university foreign language coursework in only one semester or one year of language coursework in one summer. You may stay for one semester or a full year. The summer Florianópolis program offers one 3-week session (Session I) and one 5-week session (Session II) which can be taken individually or combined for an 8-week session. The academic courses are only one part of the intended value of your study abroad experience. Participation in formal and informal activities, such as field trips and visits to cultural events and local festivals, constitute an integral and enriching part of your stay. During each semester you will also have the opportunity to join an optional tour to the stunning destinations of Iguaçu Falls and Buenos Aires (Fall) and Minas Gerais (Spring or Summer).
Haifa is a beautiful city, set on the Mediterranean Sea on the slope of Mount Carmel. Israel’s foremost port city, it plays a major role in the nation’s economy and is a center for high tech research and industry. Its 17 kilometers of beaches host excellent surfing and sailing conditions and nature trails, bicycle paths, wildlife reserves, and Carmel National Park beckon for outdoor enthusiasts. The city’s historical and cultural riches include museums, film and music festivals, an internationally acclaimed symphony orchestra, theatre, and numerous cinemas, discos, restaurants, and pubs. It provides easy access to other parts of Israel, with Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Ben-Gurion Airport all less than two hours away. In addition to Haifa’s vibrant Jewish community, its cultural and religious mosaic includes many churches and mosques. Haifa is also host to the center for the Baha’i faith and to Israel’s only Ahmadi Muslim community. The Ahmadiyya is an Indian sect of Islam, founded in the late nineteenth century, which promotes peace among nations and opposes religious coercion. Their large mosque houses a prayer hall and a first-floor exhibit of their history and significant contributions. An UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Baha’i World Centre is an expansive complex of gardens centered around the gold-domed Shrine of the Bab. Other sights in Haifa include Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery, home to a cave considered by Christian tradition to be the grave of the Prophet Elijah, the nineteenth-century German colony, Paris Square, Carmel National Forest, Ein Hod artist’s colony, the Haifa Theatre and numerous museums.