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Meet Your Advisor - Brandon Benny

Learn all about USAC Program Advisor, Brandon!

Where did you study abroad?

Brandon standing next to a camel.

I studied abroad in Bengaluru, India in Fall 2016.

What is your favorite memory from your time abroad?

Brandon overlooking the city in Bengaluru, India.It is hard to narrow down my amazing experiences into one, so I will say that one of my favorite memories in India was the time my friends and I toured North India. The cultural landscape of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur are stunning and rich with a deep history. It was the time of our lives having the opportunity to roam the countryside, hop in and out of jeeps, trek up the mountains, and find ourselves within the ancient confines of Rajasthani forts, castles, and Mughal ruins. North/Northwest India is famous for being the crossroads of empires, and when walking on the ‘land of kings’ (the literal meaning of Rajasthan), you could feel the centuries of religion and intense conflict that the land endured. It was this memory from my time abroad that I would not compare to anything else!

What is your favorite place you've traveled?

Bali, Indonesia!

What is your funniest travel memory?

Hands creating a heart shape with the Taj Mahal on the inside.My funniest travel story would have to be my sojourn through Ubud, Bali in Indonesia. I slept in an open bamboo bird-nest in the middle of the jungle’s rice patty fields at an Eco-Lodge. I had just seen a few wild snakes and cobras as well as wild monkeys and 2-foot-long lizards throughout my day. I woke up one night at 3 am to a vibrating/rattling feeling on my backside (inside this bird-nest hut). I instantly thought I would die thinking it was a cobra or other venomous snake. I slowly grabbed my phone, turned on the flashlight and flipped over ready to scream. It was a cat. I was so annoyed that I threw him out (he landed on his feet I made sure). Turns out the owners have a few cats to keep mice away and they get friendly with the lodge guests. Later that day I was jumped by 6 monkeys in the ancient monkey forest.

If you could go on any USAC program, what would it be and why?

I love South/Southeast Asia so I would probably choose Chiang Mai or Chengdu for a year! Being South Asian myself, I have come to know that Asia is a massive melting pot of diversity. It makes me excited to think of visiting a land so stratified with abundant layers of people, culture, history, food, social systems, religion and countless more.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Catching up on sleep or my Netflix shows sounds very accurate! I also love coffeeshops, eating different ethnic foods around Reno, as well as spending time with mom and my amazing friends!

What is a weird fact about you?

I love drinking the infamous Luwak coffee. It is a well noted and expensive coffee beverage in which its beans are eaten, digested, and excreted by the Asian Palm Civet (Toddy Cat). It is a jungle dwelling omnivore who loves eating berries, fruits, and well … coffee beans. Only its body cannot digest them, so out it goes! In trying to digest it, the civet’s intestines remove the coffee bean’s acid. It all yields a very strong, but not bitter, black coffee to drink once the beans are foraged, treated, and made safe to ingest.

What's on your bucket list?

Brandon sitting in front of the Taj Mahal.To further visit the world wonders! So far, I have only done the Taj Mahal.

What's a meme that describes your life?

Bernie Sanders sitting in a chair with a coat and mask on.