USAC Netherlands: Business, European, and International Studies in Maastricht
The Maastricht program is ideal for students interested in earning credit toward their degree while engaging in hands-on, student-led learning in an international setting. Regardless of the term you choose, your coursework will be supplemented with experiences such as field trips, museum visits, and seminars on locations. Since the majority of Dutch citizens are fluent in English (and extremely welcoming!), connecting with locals couldn’t be easier.
One of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, Maastricht boasts picturesque architecture, medieval city walls, cobblestone alleys and streets, seventeenth-century facades, and a Roman bridge. Maastricht is conveniently located in the heart of Europe, with major capitals such as Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, and London only a short train ride away. However, once you arrive in Maastricht, you may not want to leave—with a historic city centre; countless numbers of inviting sidewalk cafés, pubs, and restaurants; sports facilities; shops; and numerous film, music, and theatre venues, Maastricht has everything a student could wish for!
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.
Viterbo is a medieval city with a lively university community and active art scene. It is about one and a half hours from Rome and three hours from Florence, with easy connections to the Mediterranean and mountain regions. Viterbo residents have retained the charm and leisurely quality of life of days gone by. They still retain, for the most part, the tradition of closing from 1 pm to 4 pm in order to enjoy a relaxing lunch at home with the family. Each Saturday, there is an outdoor market in the main piazza where people browse and shop for clothes and houseware items. Fresh produce from local farms is also sold every morning in outdoor markets around town.
Viterbo has kept a fascinating historical record of its past better than almost any place in Italy. Protected by a medieval wall, Viterbo’s fountains, palaces, quarters, and churches all exemplify its glorious and eventful heritage of art and culture. The San Pellegrino quarter is certainly the most characteristic and best preserved medieval quarter in Italy, a jewel of a thirteenth-century contrada with its small squares, houses, narrow lanes, arches, and characteristic profferli—the typical external stairs of the medieval houses of Viterbo. The thirteenth-century papal palace is evidence of Viterbo’s significant role as a place of refuge for medieval popes, and more recently as the film location for Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet.
Viterbo cuisine is some of the best in Italy thanks to the city's green surroundings, zero pollution, and the "art" of entertaining. Two local dishes not to miss are Lombrichelli alla viterbese and Acquacotta. Be sure to visit the Sagra festivals throughout the summer where one can sample pasta, gnocchi, and more.