Located on Spain’s southeast coast, Valencia is a Mediterranean city in all aspects. Locals embrace outdoor living and recreation by taking advantage of the area’s temperate climate (average temperatures range between 48-77°F). Popular activities include strolling on one of the city’s seaside promenades (the longest of which stretches 7 km, or over 4 miles), swimming at beaches that have received the highest environmental awards, or using ‘pedal-power’ to visit Valencia’s key cultural and historic sites—Valencia has been recognized as a bike-friendly city by the Cities by Bike Network, and has over 120 km (75 miles) of bike lanes and garden causeways that allow you to explore the city at your leisure. Valencia is home to a multitude of museums and cultural center, but this port city is perhaps best well-known for its innovative City of Arts and Sciences, a “unique complex dedicated to scientific and cultural dissemination”. This complex comprises 5 main elements: an interactive science center (Principe Felipe Science Musuem), l’Oceanografico (Europe’s largest aquarium), a performing arts venue focusing on opera (the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia), an IMAX theater and planetarium (the Hemisferic), and a large outdoor exhibition zone (the Umbracle). The city hosts festivals throughout the year, but students studying abroad in the spring will have the unique opportunity to experience Las Fallas, a two-week long regional festival that combines historic, religious, and comedic processions and events and culminates with pyrotechnic displays. Ninots, large and often satirical puppets, are created during the year and displayed during giant parades. One ninot is voted as the favorite and spared; the others are destroyed in large bonfires accompanied by impressive firework displays that light up the night sky and make this festival one that many people travel across the globe to attend.
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.
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).