CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange



A nonprofit, non-governmental organization, CIEE is the world leader in international study and exchange programs. For 65 years, CIEE has helped thousands of students, professionals, and educators gain the knowledge and skills necessary to live and work in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world by offering the most comprehensive, relevant, and valuable exchange programs available.


300 Fore St.
Portland, ME 04101
United States


CIEE Scholarships
CIEE Offers More Than $8 Million in Scholarships Every Year!

We know cost is one of the biggest barriers to studying abroad. At CIEE, we dedicate real resources to help break down the cost barriers so every student who wants to study abroad, can do so.

$500 - $2,500

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Put “study abroad” on your 2020 calendar! Enter the Seize the Season Sweepstakes for a chance to be one of eight lucky students who will share up to $24,000 in study abroad scholarships with CIEE. Choose your prize: $1,500 toward any of 80+ summer study abroad programs or $3,000 toward any of 100+ fall study abroad programs. The sweepstakes ends on April 15, 2020. Enter today!


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Yes, I recommend this program

I had the privilege of attending CIEE's Sydney block at its premiere. It was a new location for the well-established program- with new staff, new teachers, new *everything*. But even still I can not speak highly enough about my experience. The classes are informative- and the assignments inspire true research and learning which gives one a more global perspective (I took the course on Development, Poverty, and Human Rights with Keshab). But aside from that the staff consistently facilitates extracurricular activities which help one take full advantage of a trip to Sydney, Australia! Various local excursions have included the Fish Market, the Art Museum, and the Zoo, among countless others! I highly recommend spending at least six weeks abroad in Sydney with CIEE. Not only will you earn academic credits, but you will gain an experience unique to anything else available by any other study abroad program! Personally, I'd always wanted to study in Sydney (following my Dad's footsteps) but there were so many other places I wanted to study in as well! CIEE proved to be the perfect program for me, as it allowed me to experience multiple places during one semester. If you're from the US (like me!) I cannot recommend this program enough! And if you have any questions please email me at! I'm happy to answer any questions!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Plan excursions! I never did so, as both my parents and I considered this trip to be an excursion in and of itself! However, it is 100% worth it to plan trips to New Zealand, Melbourne, and especially Caines (or anywhere else nearby!). You will not regret it! This is your best opportunity to visit anywhere near Australia!
Also (and this is a personal note!) I highly recommend a wine tour in Hunter Valley! As long as you make SURE that you're safe, take advantage of the drinking age here. Learn how to drink responsibly (I don't mean you shouldnt get drunk. Just make sure you'll be safe considering how much you've drinken that night!). And NEVER go out alone or drink more than you're comfortable with! If you're not comfortable with drinking that is totally okay! There is NO SHAME! But if you do drink, I'll say that drinking is fun and all but please... I beg you... be safe!!!!

And last one... go to Manly! Its soooo worth the day trip!
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Yes, I recommend this program

While I stand by the notion that there is really no way to prepare for this program, that leap of faith is very much caught by the CIEE staff in Hyderabad. They are very much there to help you through every step of the way with kindness and expertise. If you are looking for a program filled with many unexpected challenges, CIEE Hyderabad staff are there to make sure you can have an adventure in and out of the classroom. Especially because life in South Asia follows a different pace and initially ambiguous social rules, having experienced advisors really makes this program logistically manageable and emotionally rich.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Read the blogs from the field posts on the CIEE website! They give a really great overview of what you might expect as an incoming student.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I have absolutely nothing but positive memories with CIEE Barcelona. I did the homestay option and studied at the Facultat de Filología and loved both! The program naturally forces you out of your comfort zone and rewards you with a wealth of rich knowledge, fond memories, and friends of a lifetime. At times, the program was difficult, but CIEE Barcelona provides undivided, personal support for challenges in-and-out of the classroom. Alberto and the rest of the program staff are transparent with their students from day one, and they push you to dive into Spanish culture.

I would highly recommend this program to anybody looking to contextualize their understanding of the Spanish language and take fantastic classes at the Universitat de Barcelona. The memories I share with my program friends are ones I will never forget. Take advantage of everything Barcelona, Spain, and Europe has to offer! Alberto and the staff are just the best--I wish I could return to CIEE Barcelona!

What would you improve about this program?
I would perhaps add activities or shorten the duration of orientation. I found myself without much to do the first 2 weeks because I still hadn't known the other program participants.
When selecting UB classes, I wish the program had been a little bit more transparent with the level of the classes. It seemed that I and a couple of others felt really behind in certain classes because we lacked the background in certain topics.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Ciee Yucatan is based in Merida which is an incredible city. There are cultural events in the centro every weekend and during the week there are so many museums and things to see in the city. I constantly felt like I had something to do. I also felt completely safe in the city and would love to go back. It is in close proximity to many Mayan Ruins and there is an awesome beach named Progreso forty minutes from the city. I loved my experience and am so thankful to ciee for such a great experience. The staff was incredible at Yucatan and my host family was amazing. I can’t wait to go back!

What would you improve about this program?
A Spanish advanced class would be awesome. With that being said, I learned a lot in the intermediate course offered.
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Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE ALA is the best program you can choose if you want to immerse yourself in Spanish language and culture. It is a unique study abroad program because it allows its participants to take classes at the University of Barcelona in Spanish, which is the best way to get to know other Spanish students and dramatically improve your language skills. The program attracts students who are eager to get out of their comfort zone and learn lots. The small size means that everyone becomes really close, and the leaders of the program are always there for one-on-one help. Would definitely recommend this program to anyone who wants to challenge themselves and have a fulfilling experience studying abroad.


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Alumni Interviews

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

Shannon Parness

Shannon studies at UNCW and is planning to graduate with a biology and Spanish degree in May 2022. She chose to study abroad while at college because she loves to travel and see the world. Her dream is to become a surgeon, hoping to go to medical school after graduating in 2022.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose CIEE because it had a program completely in Spanish and I wanted to be fully immersed in the Spanish culture. Also, they were one of the only programs that would let me take a science course while in Spain. CIEE was also very helpful in showing past reviews of their program and it had amazing reviews so I knew that it would be the right fit.

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

My program provider assisted me with familiarizing myself with the Spanish culture and what to expect while I was there. They also went through multiple safety procedures with us so that we knew what our resources would be while there.

I had to get my student visa alone, although that is not the case for everyone, but UNCW and CIEE gave me a full outline of everything I needed to do within a certain time period.

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

Do not waste your time doing nothing or doing the same things over and over again. My favorite part about Barcelona was that there was a new place I could go to every day. For me, that mainly means restaurants and cafes, but there are so many parks and different city attractions that were so fun to see.

Also, travel as much as you can if you want to! Try to plan those trips in advance so that it is less expensive, but I had the greatest trips while in Spain and I wish I would have traveled more.

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

Most programs have Fridays off, which is really nice. The class hours in Spain are very different - be ready to have some classes late at night (7-9 was my latest class).

Most of my friends and I took 5 classes, although I know a few who took 4. For me, an average day was class in the morning, a cafe or new restaurant for lunch, class in the evening, and then I would go back to my home-stay for dinner.

I was mainly traveling over the weekends; there's a lot of fun program trips to participate in as well!

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 the language aspect.

I have been studying Spanish for about 6 years or so now, but I still always have my doubts about my capabilities because I don't use it that much while I am home. I overcame that fear by just being confident when I spoke, and when I didn't know a word, I would just ask. The people there are always willing to help and actually enjoy sometimes to practice their English. All in all, they will appreciate the effort if you try to speak in Spanish first, then end up switching to English.

How did you plan your trips and how did you decide where you wanted to go?

Before I even got to Spain, I had places all throughout Europe that I had to go to no matter what.

When I got to Spain, I found out that many people wanted to go to the same places, or they wanted to go to places I hadn't even thought of before. It was so much fun planning trips with new friends, and I got to go to all of my top places while joining friends and going to even more places! I had friends that traveled alone as well and loved it.

In my opinion, if you are dead-set on going to a specific place, tell it to the people in your program. I am sure someone would love to go with you!

Staff Interviews

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

Katherine MacColl

Job Title
Teach Abroad Senior Coordinator
Katy taught abroad for 4 years in Turkey and then in Thailand. She is dedicated to helping others experience all that teaching abroad has to offer.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory is from Myanmar. My friend and I did a guided hike through the countryside. We spent our nights above temples and the days wandering through another world. I remember being in awe of the differences, even between Thailand and Myanmar, and in the attitude of the people. They were the happiest people I had ever been around, even with the limited access they had to things that we feel that we "need".

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

CIEE has been a great place to work and has really motivated me to stay in the education industry. I love helping others and CIEE strives to give amazing customer service, always putting the teacher first. I have learned more about the process and how to best help others through it. I think, whatever you are doing in education, it is a place where there is always room to grow and continue to make an impact that has amazing ripple effects.

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

The best stories are those when the students or teachers feel they have made an impact. However, maybe more than what we think we impact, the impact that others make on us is what truly inspires me. Travel and living abroad changes you, it demands growth and patience. Students that feel that impact from their students and communities reminds me why I love helping them get started.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would choose our program in Chile. Santiago is such an incredible city and the chance to work in a college setting has always been enticing to me. You are able to be the lead teacher and have amazing experiences to grow as a teacher and of a Spanish speaker. The program feels so tight knit, and you create an amazing group of friends right when you arrive.

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

CIEE goes above and beyond to encourage education on all levels. The Teach Abroad programs gives people the knowledge and confidence to go abroad, changing their lives forever and being able to change others lives through teaching. We work to break down stereotypes and we are upfront and honest about the challenges that we all have to face when we go abroad, but we make sure that participants have the tools to overcome these.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

The biggest factor in being a successful company is to truly care. We all care about our participants and the experiences that await them. I hope that all of our participants feel like and feel connected to a great support system before and after their arrival in their new home. Without heart, what we do doesn't mean anything.

Professional Associations

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