Heredia is a quaint, colonial city nestled in the foothills above San José‚ the capital of Costa Rica. The city is surrounded by coffee plantations and ranches and is one of the gateways to the majestic Poás Volcano. The climate is temperate, with average year-round temperatures of 70°-80°F. Rainfall is spread throughout the year, but the rainiest period is May to October. Only 12 kilometers from the international airport and 25 minutes by bus from downtown San José and its one million inhabitants, Heredia offers the peace and rural beauty of a smaller city, while providing easy access to the activities of the capital. There is always something to do in Heredia, and it allows the benefit of a college city while offering a short, affordable bus ride to beautiful places such as INBIO Parque (a small local zoo), Monte de la Cruz (a hike to a beautiful lookout), and La Paz waterfall gardens. Heredia is central enough that it is an easy bus ride to all corners and coasts of the country. Heredia was founded in 1705 and is known as the Ciudad de las Flores (City of Flowers). Beautiful mountain scenery, lush vegetation, and gardens are abundant, as are a variety of Farmer’s Markets bustling with local Ticos and full of fresh vegetable and fruit. Heredia Central is where shops, restaurants, and cafes are located; Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, where USAC courses are held, is situated only a few blocks from downtown Heredia. It’s surrounded by different neighborhoods, each with their own festivals, schools, and rhythms. Parque Central is the main historic square, surrounded by superb colonial architecture, and full of the downtown activity of cafes, restaurants, ice cream shops, and stores. It is common for the locals to sit in the park and enjoy the nice weather that Costa Rica offers. Most students in homestays will live in a neighborhood surrounding Heredia Central. Landmarks including Heredia’s historic La Immaculada Conception church, a music temple, and El Fortin—a wonderful colonial tower of the old Spanish fort. The Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica (USAC’s host university), as well as two other universities, create the feel of a college town in which you are typically surrounded by Costa Rican college students. The UNA campus is only a few blocks away from downtown Heredia. This campus allows USAC students to interact with locals and experience the culture. Here USAC students are invited to participate in classes with locals, take dance classes, play exciting games of soccer, and even have the opportunity to volunteer at local sites around Heredia.
Località Casette di Cupigliolo, 06034 Foligno PG, Italy
Study and live in Verona, a modern, medium-sized city with a larger than life history, located near Venice, Lake Garda, the Dolomite Mountains, and the borders of Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia. The city straddles the beautiful Adige River in the Veneto region of Italy and is home to layers of historical palaces, bridges, squares, and churches. Three Shakespearean plays are set in Verona: Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Taming of the Shrew. While visitors come throughout the year to experience its literary and artistic heritage, annual fairs, shows, operas, and historic sights, the city retains its elegant, authentic atmosphere. As a student here you will have plenty of school and entertainment activities, local and international food, and multiple transportation options. Choose from courses in international management, business, and Italian studies, and more and stay for semester or a year. All students are required to take an intensive Italian language course during the first six weeks of the semester to help them integrate into their surroundings. The Verona program combines academic coursework with practical learning, tours, and field trips to create an integrated cultural experience. Your studies will extend outside the classroom into business visits, field trips, optional tours, local festivals and traditions, and other activities around the city. The city was named an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 for its urban structure and architectural masterpieces. The Arena, an ancient amphitheatre built by the Romans in the first century, is still in active use today, hosting concerts, operas, and theatre performances. The quality and preservation of Roman sites in Verona are second only to Rome itself. The city is home to three professional soccer teams and regularly hosts stages of the annual Giro d’Italia cycle race. The city has regular public bus routes, an airport, and is located on both high-speed and commuter rail lines.
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.