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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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.
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Meredith
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best semester with the best company. AIFS gave me the support I needed from day one to day ninety-nine. I will never be able to repay them for the love and kindness they shared toward me. The program in Rome was safe, supportive, and so much fun! There was always something to do and I will never forget the memories made. My apartment was perfecta and we made friends with the barista underneath us! The school provided us with professors that were so kind, they really wanted us to succeed. It was so easy to travel.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Tessa Kirk

I am a junior at California Lutheran University! I am studying both psychology and Spanish at my university and studied abroad the spring semester of my sophomore year!

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program for the language acquisition aspect. I was advised that Granada would be one of the better locations to learn the Spanish language. I honestly didn’t know much about the location before I left and I wish I would have cause I would have wanted to go there even more so. I always knew i wanted to go to Spain, but didn’t know where, but I am completely happy with my decision to go to Granada because I have a piece of my heart forever over there!

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

My school and program were both extremely helpful! My school’s study abroad office helps you with all the steps along the way and handle your financial aid for you so you don’t have to be the middle man. My program was very available before I left and also on location. Our resident directors on site were super helpful and answered and questions we had! They even took us to the doctor if we got sick! All I did on my own was plan my trips when I was in Granada the rest was planned by AIFS!

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

I wish I would have known more about the culture and history in Granada and Spain in general. I knew nothing about Spain or the different places and I wish I would have done more research about the country before I left. I would recommend for people going overseas to be open minded about different cultures and try different foods!

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

An average week in this program is class Monday through Thursday and Friday classes once a month. Living in a homestay, you will enjoy every meal with your josh family, so you will go back for each meal!

Breakfast is usually before you head to school, then you’ll come home around 2:30-3:00pm for lunch, then dinner can be anywhere from 8-10pm! There is siesta from 3-5pm, so during that time stores are closed, so it is best to nap, go out for tapas, go for a hike or do homework during that time!

After dinner, is a good time or tapas as well and hangout with friends! You will have quite a bit of free time so make the best of it and see what the city has to offer!

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

A few of my fears were traveling outside of the country and being so far away from my family. I had never left the country before heading to Spain so that was something unknown and unfamiliar to me. As i traveled more and more, I became less and less nervous about traveling and I felt more comfortable traveling.

I am also extremely close with my family, so I was nervous about being away from them for so long. I realized as time went on that being away from my family was a good thing. I appreciated them a lot more when I got back and didn’t feel as dependent on them anymore.

What happens if i miss home?

Do not stay home and wallow! It will not make you miss home less; in fact, it’ll do the opposite. I recommend going out with your friends, talk out your homesickness with them and enjoy some time doing something you won’t be able to do when you go home, because you are going to miss this new place even more when you get home.

Is reverse culture shock really a thing? Yes, yes and yes! I suffered from reverse culture shock when I got back and it helped to have my friends from abroad to talk to and reminisce with them.

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

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