AIFS: Study Abroad

AIFS Study Abroad

About

AIFS is a leading provider of study abroad programs. Since 1964, more than 1.5 million students have traveled abroad with AIFS. Comprehensive program fees make it convenient for students to study abroad and experience all that the world has to offer.

With over half a century in the industry, AIFS has the resources and experience to provide what students want and need in a study abroad program combined with the institutional strength to safeguard their welfare around the globe. Unlike many other study abroad programs or independent study options, AIFS program fees are guaranteed in U.S. dollars.

AIFS offers a wide range of unique programs in Asia, Australia, Europe, South Africa and the Americas. AIFS campuses typically offer courses in English and/or in foreign languages from beginner to advanced levels, so you don’t even need to know a foreign language to have the opportunity to study abroad.

Founded
1964
Headquarters

College Division
1 High Ridge Park
Stamford, CT 06905
United States

Scholarships

AIFS Study Abroad Scholarships
AIFS Study Abroad Scholarships, Grants & Financial Support

We believe a study abroad experience is an essential component of well-rounded university education and we are committed to providing financial assistance to as many students as possible in support of their goal to study abroad.

Value
$500 - $5,000

Reviews

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Casey
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This experience was one of the best ones in my entire life. This program met all of my study abroad expectations. The location itself was perfect, Cannes is absolutely amazing. The campus provided dorms for its students with all accommodations needed. The campus is located right next to the beach, which was a huge plus. The campus is an international campus, meaning there are students from all over the world staying there. One of the best parts of the program was the residential director, Sandrine. She helped us adjust to life in France, and provided us with many unique opportunities. We went on several amazing excursions that allowed us to practice our French with French natives. These excursions also allowed us to enrich our knowledge of French culture. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone looking to study abroad in France.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Speaking French to French people was at first very nerve-wracking. I managed to overcome it by practicing as much as I possibly could. The teachers on campus, as well as my director also helped me strengthen my language skills.
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Emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was such an incredible and enriching learning experience. Everyone in the program was by my side helping me succeed in my academics, as well as helping me learn about and see the world. I loved my teachers; the staff; our director, Sandrine; the school; the locals; everyone that I came into contact with. I feel very grateful that I was able to enroll in this program because it allowed me to see more of France through the different excursions, while still being able to have my own travel and keep up with my studies.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Ask questions, talk to everyone, have fun, go see what you want to see, and make sure you say yes to every experience that comes your way.
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Cayley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I studied abroad in Viña del Mar, Chile in Spring 2019. I attended Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez and took four classes: Human Rights in Chile, Latin America on Film, Intermediate Spanish Grammar, and Advanced Chilean Culture. All of my classes were taken with other international students. I lived with a host family and really loved this cultural immersion. Living with the family helped my Spanish skills immensely. I went on several excursions, including to Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas, Pucon, and San Pedro de Atacama, and with AIFS I travelled on day trips to Santiago, Valparaiso, Casablanca, and Pomaire.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
While in the Atacama Desert, we stopped in a little village where we ate llama kabobs!
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Dmitry
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I've always known that I wanted to study abroad in Russia while in college. Choosing to go to St. Petersburg with AIFS was hands down the best decision I could've made! I got to live in a beautiful city with a rich history, took some extremely interesting courses, and had incredible on-site support. I strongly feel like I would not have enjoyed my semester as much as I had if I hadn't gone with AIFS. The cultural immersion activities that were organized by the incredible AIFS staff were fantastic and allowed me to see some great areas of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Tallinn, and Helsinki! Not to forget that all of the excursions were included!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The most unique thing I ate was at actually at a museum (with a restaurant) where I ate frozen raw Siberian fish covered in salt and served with bone marrow on rye bread! I didn't expect to like it, but LOVED it!
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Abigail
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

AIFS made my semester abroad incredible. I had never left the country before but felt totally comfortable with the on-site and remote support. We went on great excursions and had incredible experiences around the city. Our resident director was a perfect tour guide and had amazing connections in the other cities that we visited so we always got an authentic, local experience. My classes were a super interesting look at local business practices taught by foreign teachers with experience all over the world. Learning with international and local students brought perspectives to learning I had never before experienced. I would go back in a second and wish I was still there!

What was your funniest moment?
My funniest moment of was the first time we went out as a program trying to figure out the currency exchange. We kept calling the money Monopoly money because it didn’t seem real. Eventually we learned and budgeted but it was a fun transition the first few weeks.

Programs

This provider no longer has any active programs. Visit our homepage to continue your search.

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Abby Barr

Abby is an accounting and finance double major at the University of Alabama. She spent spring 2019 abroad in Budapest, Hungary. Going abroad was an incredible experience for her and she is passionate about sharing it with others!

Why did you choose this program?

I chose AIFS because of the incredible resources and great pricing. With the all-inclusive pricing model, I knew what I could expect to spend prior to going abroad.

I also knew that I would have a resident director in Hungary for all of my needs and that made both myself and my parents feel confident in the choice of AIFS. AIFS is also one of the few programs offering courses in Hungary and I knew I wanted to study there.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

My program provider organized housing, weekend excursions, class options, transportation to Hungary, a meal plan and on-site assistance. You had to register for your classes, plan additional excursions, and manage your finances above the allowance they gave you. With the pricing in Hungary, you could manage pretty well with the meal plan provided.

The excursions were the best I went on offering unique and informative visits by locals in each place we visited. The housing was also very safe and conveniently located.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Have an open mind.

I was a picky eater and very frugal and still am, but when I was abroad, I told myself that I needed to make the purchase and try the weird food because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You will never regret trying all of the tapas, the herring, etc., even if it is disgusting and you never want to eat it again it will be a story.

When people tell you later something was great and you know you intentionally missed out on it, you will regret it. My goal going abroad was to have no regrets and I succeeded and if I did it all over again I wouldn't change a thing.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The average day/week varied from participant to participant.

Students had anywhere from 2-5 days of classes per week. Some students traveled every weekend, some once a month and some only on program excursions (2-3 times the semester).

Classes were really interesting and a large variety were offered. All of my classes were business-related taught by people with real-life experience. I also was required to take a Hungarian class, which made getting around the city so much more fun, though English is very frequently spoken in Hungary.

Other people in my program took walking tours of Hungary, the history of Hungary, and the film of Hungary. All of these were great because they were learning about the place they were living in, which makes it so much better to learn about as you can see where things happened.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was safety. In order to combat this, I made sure to be extra safe when traveling alone.

As a solo female traveler, I knew I was going to be a target. I made sure to stay in safe areas of cities, not be out late at night and when I was out, to stay in heavily populated areas.

As I got more into my time abroad, I realized that eastern Europe is very safe. I never felt in danger of walking home from school from my night class or walking home from dinner with friends. People really left you alone if you kept to yourself and weren't very obviously a loud and obnoxious person. Now I feel much more confident in my ability to avoid trouble, but I also know that I can never ignore my safety and must always prioritize it.

Is there any other advice for prospective travelers?

Make the most of your experience.

It seems obvious but there is never a time in your life when you will have fewer responsibilities, more flexibility and more time to do this. Studying abroad was the greatest experience of my life and I would do it again in a heartbeat. If you have the opportunity to study abroad, grab it and don't let go. Make the most of your college experience and enhance it with this incredible way to go outside your comfort zone.

You will never regret it.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

What position do you hold at AIFS and what has been your career path?

I am the AIFS RD at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. I studied at Stellenbosch University and received both a BA (Hons) degree in Psychology and a Post Graduate diploma in Education. I taught English at an all-girls school in Stellenbosch for five years.

In addition, I had my own bookshop called Anchorage Book Gallery in Stellenbosch. I then turned my attention toward sports traveling to Europe from 1992 – 1995 every few months playing field hockey. In January of 2003 I started my position at AIFS.

Do you think study abroad will change?

I think that there will be a fundamental shift in thinking how study abroad realizes its educational potential. It may to find other ways of internationalizing the way Americans think which does not necessary means the mobilization of them across the waters. There has been huge growth in Service Providers, but it would be interesting to see where the participation lies.

To me, the student who currently studies abroad is the same student who studied abroad 20 years ago. We just have more of “’them”’ in the States! The fundamental shift will have to be to go back to the basics of what it means to interact across difference and how this achieves learning outcome.

Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?

I am passionate about the complexity of our cultures. Living in my country the last 40 years with 11 official languages, where at any given time, almost everybody can speak 2 or 3 languages fluently makes me passionate about the possibility in successful interactions across huge dimensions and differences. I want my students to experience this…but they must be willing to work hard and bring themselves to the table.

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of the AIFS team.

A proud moment was when Alumni from years 2003 – 2011 organized an event in New York where we could all celebrate the amazing shared experiences they were all part of during their times with AIFS in South Africa. This initiative showed me how they really felt about being here.

What does your home-country's culture value that is taught in your program?

Because of our complex political history and all the mistakes we have made through generations and generations, the people of our country have a unique way of dealing with our past. Setting up a Truth and Reconciliation committee is one such example where a value of “’take responsibility for your actions”; has been engrained in our nation. American Study abroad students are often silent when they are challenged to always take responsibility for their actions, to always own their actions and to move forward and grow. They are challenged until they actually own it, even if it takes months.

Professional Associations