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Meet Your Institutional Relations Officer - Jonathan Hakim

Learn all about USAC Senior Lead Institutional Relations Officer, Jonathan!

The Institutional Relations team works with universities, colleges, and other institutions around the country and travels to many study abroad fairs. The team is ready to answer any questions you may have about USAC and a current or prospective partnership with your institution.

Schedule an appointment with Jonathan

Where did you study abroad?

Jonathan exploring the beauty of Tasmania, Australia.

I spent my junior year at the University of Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia.

How did you get into the field of International Education?

Jonathan standing on a bridge with the city skyline of Sao Paulo, Brazil in the background.I knew I wanted to study abroad in college so when I needed a work study job my freshman year, I applied to work in my school’s study abroad office. I worked there throughout undergrad and when it came time for graduation, there happened to be a full-time position open in the office so I applied and have been in the field ever since.

What's your favorite thing about working for USAC?

I love working for an organization that is truly committed to offering affordable quality academic study abroad programs. It never gets old seeing students faces light up when you share all the various possibilities with them through USAC or when a study abroad advisor comes up to me and says that they always recommend USAC programs to their students because they know how affordable and enriching our programs are.

What is your favorite memory from your time abroad?

Jonathan helping care for an elephant in Chiang Mai, Thailand.Camping overnight near Uluru when I studied abroad in Australia. To this day, I’ve never seen so many stars. Absolutely breathtaking!

Also, visiting an elephant sanctuary in Thailand was really eye-opening because you witness how gentle and caring these huge animals are while also learning about how often they’re mistreated. It definitely made me think more about ethical and sustainable tourism.

What is your favorite place you have traveled to and why?

When I turned 30, a couple childhood friends and I traveled to Tanzania for two weeks, spending a week on mainland Tanzania and then a week in Zanzibar. It was an incredible experience, primarily because it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. It really forced us out of our comfort zones.

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

I’ve never been to South Asia before, so I think I’d choose our Bengaluru program. Hearing from the Resident Director about all the out-of-the-classroom experiences students get to participate in when they attend the program (both non-credit and for-credit) makes it really a unique opportunity for students. Plus, there are some really great trips to explore other parts of India.

What is your funniest travel memory?

Several years ago, I was visiting Italy for work and got to a restaurant that only had handwritten menus in Italian. As someone who knows absolutely no Italian, I could only make out a few words on the menu so decided to order some ravioli and risotto. The waitress looked really concerned and brought back her manager who spoke English to let me know that I had ordered two pasta dishes and was I 100% sure I wanted that much pasta. Too embarrassed to order anything else, I said yes and let’s just say that it was more pasta than any one person should eat in a meal.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Jonathan relaxing in Mexico City, Mexico.

Traveling, reading (always open to new book suggestions!), being outdoors, binging TV, and trying to keep my 20+ plants alive.

What’s on your bucket list?

Right now, the top of my list is Morocco and Turkey.