Written by: Génesis Ventura and Amanda Blake
The director of Adventist Colleges Abroad (ACA) and four program coordinators, representing schools from France, Italy, Spain and Lebanon, visited Southern Adventist University last week. Southern was the group’s first stop on a promotional tour to several Adventist universities in the United States.
On Thursday, the directors promoted their schools to students and parents in Lynn Wood Chapel. Sandra Esteves, director of ACA, began the event by explaining the benefits of studying abroad and how students can initiate the application process. She emphasized the value of being bilingual in the United States but also listed benefits like developing power skills, immersing oneself in another culture, deepening one’s spiritual life and meeting the love of one’s life.
“ACA is better than eHarmony,” Esteves said to a laughing audience. “ACA has existed for over 60 years, and I can assure you that many happy couples have been made.”
She added that studying abroad through ACA is not financially stressful.
“When you go abroad, we don’t want finances to be a source of stress,” Esteves said. “ … [Studying through ACA] is even cheaper than if you were to spend a year here [at Southern].”
Juan Antonio López, ACA program coordinator for Escuela Superior de Español de Sagunto in Spain, explained that due to the euro decreasing in value and U.S. currency increasing in value, studying through ACA is cheaper than ever.
The most expensive ACA year session is in Italy and will cost $17,735, according to ACA’s 2023-2024 student magazine. The cheapest is in Spain and will cost $15,850.
The group’s next stop is Oakwood University, as can be seen on ACA’s website. The promotional tour circles the country and ends on March 6 at Washington Adventist University in Maryland.
Some Southern students who have studied through ACA spoke with the Accent about their experiences.
Lizbeth Rodriguez-Diep, junior public relations major, attended the ACA school in Italy for a summer session.
“I really loved it,” Rodriguez-Diep said. “I loved eating fresh Italian food every day and seeing beautiful sights. I really enjoyed our Italian classes and getting to know students from other parts of the world. It was a really rich experience.”
Lesieli Savelio, junior public relations major, is currently studying in Argentina.
“ACA has been an amazing experience. I have been able to learn so much, meet wonderful people, practice Spanish, and travel and see new places,” Savelio said. “I am so glad I took this year to try a new experience and go out of my comfort zone. I would recommend it to any student, truly.”
Meg Ermer, senior computer science and Spanish major, spent a year in Spain.
“Studying abroad was the best decision I’ve made. The opportunity to learn a new language while being immersed in a different culture pushed me to grow in ways I never had before,” Ermer wrote via text to the Accent. “I would definitely encourage everyone to consider going abroad — college is short, and now is the best time to travel [and] experience life in a new culture.”