CET Academic Programs

Why choose CET Academic Programs?

CET Academic Programs is a study abroad organization that has been developing and delivering innovative educational programs abroad since 1982. Originally “China Educational Tours,” CET began operations in Beijing, and today offers a varied portfolio of semester, summer, and short-term customized programs for college, high school, pre-college, and gap year students around the world. Known for strong academics, professional program management, and supportive student services, CET strives to integrate students into their host communities, adopt environmentally conscientious practices, and promote diversity and inclusion across all programs.


CET Academic Programs Scholarships

CET is a study abroad provider with locations in Brazil, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Jordan, and Taiwan.

CET offers scholarships and financial assistance for their high school abroad, gap year abroad, and college study abroad programs. Financial assistance and scholarships are need and merit based.

Upon applying to any CET program, you'll gain access to CET's scholarships application.

$500 - $2,000

Diversity & Inclusion

BIPOC Support

CET believes in making study abroad accessible to students of all races, religions, origins, abilities, gender identities, and sexual orientations. We’ve gathered experiences from BIPOC students to share as resources such as the Identity Abroad pages, Perspective Pieces, and Identity Abroad Support Networks. We are also dedicated to becoming a more anti-racist organization by transforming our workplace, programs, and industry with our Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (JEDI) Action Plan.

LGBTQIA+ Support

CET supports and welcomes students of all identities on our programs. We provide program-specific information under the cultural climate section of our Identity Abroad webpages for LGBTQ individuals in each of our program locations.

Neurodivergent Support

CET makes every effort to offer accommodations comparable to that of the students’ home institution. Disclosing early helps us to make proper preparations. The accommodations offered at each program can be found on each program location's Identity Abroad page. These pages can provide a good idea about what classes are like in terms of workload and class time. Initiating one-on-one conversations with Student Service Coordinators can also help inform students' decisions and determine if a program will be a good fit.

Accessibility Support

CET makes every effort to offer accommodations comparable to that of the students’ home institution. The levels of accessibility, from wheelchair accessibility to extra time on exams, are under each program location’s Identity Abroad page. Initiating one-on-one conversations with Student Service Coordinators can help inform students' decisions and determine if a program will be a good fit.



CET is an environmentally conscientious organization at our headquarters in DC and programs all around the world. In each of our centers, we adopt local measures to reduce our carbon footprint and contribute to sustainable practices. As part of our ongoing efforts towards sustainability, we’ve partnered with Cool Effect, a nonprofit focused on reducing carbon emissions through scientifically-proven, hand-selected carbon projects worldwide. For each trip taken by one of our staff members, travelers, or students, we donate to support three carbon projects chosen by staff volunteers every year.

Ethical Impact

When we set up a program overseas, we become a part of that local community. And as a community member, we are responsible for contributing to local initiatives in meaningful ways. Our website lists some local philanthropic organizations that help us fulfill this responsibility—they host our students, and we support their missions.


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Yes, I recommend this program
CET Italy

CET Siena Spring '24: Had An Amazing Time!!

I loved my experience in Siena with CET. I think that Siena is the perfect city/program for people who are looking to really connect with the local community and experience Italian culture. My classes were all really enjoyable, not as difficult as my classes at my school, but I also am not a CS major. My favorite class was Sienese art history where we did tours around the city or went to museums almost every class. The staff are all lovely and were very supportive. Siena is a small but gorgeous city and there always seem to be new things to explore despite its size- you really start to feel like you are more than just a tourist here.

My homestay was one of the highlights of my time here, I was able to really feel immersed in the local culture, improve my Italian a ton (I did already speak some Italian though), and have the support of a family. I will say that it seems like not every homestay family made people feel like a real member of their family as much as mine did, but overall my friends' homestay experiences seem to have been positive. Would definitely recommend for those who want to practice their Italian. I also got to go to events at my host family's contrada which was a super cool experience most visitors don't have access to.

I genuinely do not have anything bad to say about my own experience in Siena- I met lots of wonderful people, learned a lot, and overall had a really incredible time abroad.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Put effort into learning your Italian and using it in the community, it will pay off and people appreciate it immensely. The more you know of the language, the easier it is to put yourself out there in new situations, which is my real advice- keep putting yourself out there even after you've gotten comfortable in your routine.
  • Excellent program staff and wonderful professors
  • Experience Italian culture on deeper level in smaller city
  • Not as well connected for travel as bigger cities (but well enough)
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Yes, I recommend this program
CET Italy

Review of CET Florence

CET Florence has hands down been one of the best experiences of my life. When envisioning my study abroad experience, I expected that the best moments would be traveling during the weekends. However, I found that the weekdays with the CET staff and professors has made my overall study abroad experience all the better. The staff members were so accessible and friendly; I felt like I can go to them with any problem or concern comfortably and I knew that I would get help immediately. Moreover, every single professor I had were all so wonderful. Not only did they try their best to make the classes engaging and exciting, but they also were so personable. I felt like I knew my professors very well by the end of the program, and that they now know me very well as well. All my classes were also very thought provoking, challenging, yet interesting. Two classes, Food and Culture and Wine Studies, were both so amazing that I felt excited to go to class every day! The enoteca visits and the food tastings for the classes are so unique to CET and Italy as a whole, and this was an experience I know I will not be able to get back at my university in America. Although the housing was not as amazing as the rest of the program, I know that this is because Florence is an older city. Living in city center was perfect as well, and CET did a great job with the location because everything is walkable from our classrooms and our apartments. This entire semester I felt so supported and cared for, making this study abroad experience so personal and unique. I will miss all my friends that I made here who come from different universities, and I will cherish my new friends that I would not have known if it weren't for CET Florence. Moreover, I will wholeheartedly miss the wonderful CET staff and professors who made learning so enjoyable and exciting. I would without a doubt recommend CET Italy / Florence to anyone who is considering studying abroad. I would not have wanted my study abroad experience to go or be with any other program!

What was your funniest moment?
The funniest moment of this program was the rafting on the Arno River experience that was provided by CET Florence. We were given the opportunity to raft in the Arno River with our friends and go down a waterslide and race against the other rafts. This was an amazing way to explore the city, especially since it has gotten warmer towards the end of our program. It was so funny when we were racing against the other boats because we were all splashing each other and having a very joyful time and experience.
  • No class on Friday's
  • Incredibly friendly and helpful professors / staff members who I felt very comfortable around. I will miss them a lot when the program ends!
  • Amazing activities that they offer for free (gelato tour, hiking and apertivo, rafting in the Arno)
  • Old apartment with a broken washing machine for the first 2 weeks
  • Poor air circulation in the apartment
  • Long class times with short breaks, making it difficult to plan meals
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Yes, I recommend this program
CET Italy

CET Florence Study Abroad Spring 2024

My study abroad experience on CET in Florence was something I will never forget. I went into this experience leaving a lot of my close friends behind, whether they were studying in other European countries, cities, or back at Cornell. I worried about being able to make friends and have people to travel with, but I quickly made so many new friends and was traveling the world with them. Choosing Florence as a home city was an amazing decision. Over the course of my time abroad, I really immersed myself in the culture and can call this place my home. I knew how to get around without Google Maps by the end and have tried many incredible restaurants. The food is seriously to die for in Florence. I also loved how walkable the city was making it so easy to get around. I would highly suggest anyone considering studying abroad in the future to go to Florence. I am going to miss it so much!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take risks! You are only abroad once so definitely do things you wouldn't normally do because it will make for the best memories and stories. I went ziplining in Croatia and I was so nervous, but it was so worth it.
  • Made a ton of friends
  • Flexibility to travel on weekends
  • Cool teachers
  • Short times in between classes
  • Absence policy is strict
  • Lots of problems with the apartment
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Yes, I recommend this program
CET Italy

Great Program, Difficult Academics

Being in Florence was great and the apartments were in wonderful locations in the city. Sometimes a bit noisy because of how close they were to the city center, but certainly well worth it. The teachers were all great, though some were difficult to understand.

I will also say that the attendance policy was very harsh. There were only three absences allowed per class, otherwise, your grade would drop a whole letter grade (at 5 absences) and and failure after 8 absences. There were no exceptions for illness, death in the family, personal circumstances, etc. even if you could document these incidences.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Overall Experience

I have to say that I overall I had a great experience. I have never before felt more like a University Student in my life. My courses has been challenging, but has been helpful in improving my Mandarin Chinese. Living and Getting Around the city of Taipei has been extremely convenient with the recommendations to purchase the T-Pass etc. What I like especially is how easy it is really to find things to do that are free or relatively low price as well. I am never bored here, but able to appreciate moments of relaxations as well.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The most unfamiliar thing I ate was that I ate stinky tofu.
  • Ease of transportation
  • Reimbursements
  • The food
  • Changing classes
  • Unpredictable weather
  • Lots of housing maintenance issues


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Alumni Interviews

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

Isabel McLaughlin

Isabel McLaughlin

Why did you choose this program?

I chose the CET Brazil study abroad program because I was intrigued by the radical art movements and street art in São Paulo.

I am drawn to big cities, and São Paulo seemed to offer a wide variety of opportunities and activities. Additionally, every aspect of the program supported an immersive and authentic experience. The most important for me was living in an apartment with other Brazilian students my age. I was extremely excited about meeting new people and building lasting relationships.

I was also intrigued by the Volunteering and Social Justice opportunities that were advertised in this program.

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

Kalamazoo College assisted me throughout the application process, both inside the University and the process with CET. Obtaining the Student Visa was long and complicated, but all of my questions were answered by CET.

I was in the first group of students to participate in the program. This meant I did not receive information from past participants.

When arriving in São Paulo, the CET team was amazing at assisting students. However, we also had the freedom to make our own decisions and find new opportunities.

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

I believe that everybody needs to shape and accept their own study abroad experience. Although we all have expectations about future travels, I think it is important to acknowledge these expectations before, during, and after your trip.

Don't compare your travels to others! Social media and stories don't fully communicate the everyday reality of studying abroad, so don't use social media to compare and criticize.

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

I participated in 5 classes during my semester in São Paulo. My Portuguese class met 3 times a week in the morning and the other classes occurred once a week in the afternoons.

Half of my classes were located at the CET office (2 blocks from my apartment) and the others were at Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (6 blocks from my apartment).

Reading assignments were common, but homework and projects were not overwhelming. This allowed me to use my nights and 3 day weekends to go to museums, adventure to new neighborhoods, experience night-life, and explore parks.

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

I was incredibly afraid that I would not feel welcomed and accepted by friends, colleagues, and professors in São Paulo. I did not speak Portuguese before arriving in Brazil, and I was afraid this language barrier would inhibit others from understanding my intentions and actions.

Overcoming this barrier was a long process.

My friends and professors always encouraged me to speak confidently. Their support helped significantly; however, it wasn't until I accepted my abilities and took pride in my growth that I lost my fear.

What did you learn on your program that will stay with you?

I learned how to incorporate attitudes of community and sharing into all aspects of my life. Most of my experiences in Brazil showed how eating, cleaning, talking, studying, exploring, drinking, and dancing are meant to be enjoyed with others.

Before studying abroad, I had a mindset of independent strength and productivity. This mindset changed dramatically and I now find more joy in relaxation, conversation, and collaborative work.

Staff Interviews

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

Nova Shao

Job Title
Resident Director, CET Shanghai
Nova started to work for US-based study abroad programs in Shanghai in 2007 and joined CET Shanghai in 2013. Nova holds a BA in Sociology from East China Normal University and a MPhil in Social Anthropology from the University of Bergen in Norway. As a native Shanghainese, Nova leads walking tours in Shanghai herself. She loves introducing her native city of many faces to students, and enjoys helping students get most out of their Shanghai experience and proudly being a responsible global citizen.

What is your favorite travel memory?

I am most interested in experiencing and exploring a culture that is very different from mine. I have traveled to many places in Europe and also within China, but my favorite travel memory goes back to the first year of my college life.

I traveled to Harbin, the capital city of Heilongjiang Province in North China, with a few friends. It was right before the Chinese New year when almost all the Chinese people working outside were heading back to their hometown to celebrate the New Year with families, and we could only get a ticket for a hard seat on the train.

The painful 23-hour ride on the train was paid off by extraordinary experience in Harbin. The nature shaped by the freezing weather, the way the local people prepared and sold food, the fun of playing in thick snow and ice, and the interaction between north China and Russia are all deeply rooted in my memory.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I had been working for other study abroad programs in Shanghai before I joined CET Shanghai in early 2013. The biggest change for me is to grow from a “baby-sitter” to an educator.

An educator’s responsibility is to guide and train students to get the most out of the study abroad experience instead of taking away the challenges (especially the cultural aspect) from students.

It is certainly harder but much more meaningful than being a “baby-sitter”. Effective communication skills, good judgment, from experience, understanding of student’s background and patience are all needed to make it happen.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Students often say that the Shanghai experience has been a life-changing experience for them. It has an impact on student’s life choices in different ways.

I know a student who planned to establish a student club to promote Chinese language and culture creatively after she returned; a student who changed her mind to study public health instead of molecular biology after she was inspired by the person she met in China; a student who got his dream internship in New York City which owes a lot to the internship experience he had in Shanghai; and more and more students who fell in love with Shanghai and China and couldn’t wait to come back to start a career.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

As a Shanghai local employee, I am proud of my company and my supervisor who trusts local employees and offers many opportunities for local employees to grow.

CET is an organization which actively supports academically qualified students of all races, religions, origins, abilities, gender identities, and sexual orientations. I proudly found such diversity and inclusiveness in our office in Shanghai too.

It is just amazing that every staff member in our office is trusted to be a “manager” of certain job divisions and we are all indeed committed to CET’s mission of equipping students with new skills, broader perspectives, and an appreciation of difference.

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