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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Yes, I recommend this program

The classes were difficult but I know I am walking away with a lot more knowledge not only from the university, but from all over South Africa in general. Of course studying at UCT was the most irritating thing because nobody wants to study and do school work when you are in such a beautiful place like this! There is always something to do here in Cape town, the list is never ending (good thing you have a lot of time to fit it all in!). What really made it the best time was the CIEE staff. They supported us from day one and always had the best advice on what to eat, where to go, and were extremely helpful in providing all of the information we need to stay safe in South Africa. I would definitely recommend this program for everyone who is looking for adventures of all sorts!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
One thing I would change is getting to really know the CIEE staff sooner because they are so amazing and helpful, even if you just want to talk about life.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I loved my time in Cape Town with CIEE! I spent a semester studying at UCT. The classes were challenging but I learned a lot. UCT is one of the best ranked universities in Africa, and is known worldwide. The CIEE staff in Cape Town were so helpful and kind, they supported us from beginning to end and I made some great connections with them. Additionally, the staff were extremely helpful in providing all of the information we need to stay safe in South Africa. Cape Town is beautiful and had so much to do. You have a city, mountains and the beach all in one! I came to South Africa alone, without knowing anyone here, and left with lifelong friends who were also on this program. I would definitely recommend this program for someone who is looking to get out of their comfort zone!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Arriving in Cape Town for CIEE's "Fall Block I Open Campus," I was unsure what to expect. I felt ready to experience a new part of the continent (my family is from Kenya and I lived there for 10 years, but was born in the US) in a new light. After staying in an AirBnB the first night, I arrived in Rondebosch from an Uber across from the CIEE building. The first day there was great. Meeting everyone, from the staff to the other students excited me for the next 6 weeks. The first week was a learning curve with orientation and getting to know the 4 other roommates in my apartment. There were only 5 guys out of 18 in the program which is one thing I can say I was surprised about - but I suppose guys are less likely to do study abroad programs.

I took two classes, "Poverty, Development, & Human Rights," with the amazing Professor Nompilo, and, "Intercultural Communication and Leadership," with Akisha. Both courses were excellent, and all very discussion based. The only true busy weeks were week 3 and 5-6 as our midterm essays and finals commenced. Other than that, they were a good balance of work and experiential learning as we went out on excursions nearly every Thursday or Friday. It so happened that my classes were scheduled the same day, which was good and bad. The con was that it made for very long days with each class being three hours a piece with an hour or so in between, and the pro being the fact since classes were only on Monday and Wednesday, I had the ability to plan full day trips, events, and experiences without having to worry about coming back to CIEE on time for class. The other class offered, "Atlantic Crossings," I heard was excellent as well, with many saying it was one of the best classes they had ever taken during their time in college.

During our amazing study tour we embarked on to Muizenberg, Cape Point (Cape of Good Hope), Boulder Beach (African Penguins). Besides that, we also had numerous excursions to places such as Khayelitsha, Zeitz MOCAA, and others, and of course - we made sure to go out and have fun on our own. With the South African Rand trading in favor of the dollar (about 15.5 - 16 Rand = 1 USD during our time there), we were able to truly capitalize on all Cape Town had to offer. From Long Street to Sea Point, we visited many clubs, bars, and restaurants, with one of our staples being Stones in Observatory due to its laid back conversational nature. Personally, I was able to go skydiving with Skydive Cape Town (about $300 USD with the video/pictures - beyond worth it), visit the historic Robben Island, hike up Table Mountain via Skeleton Gorge (if you truly want to experience the mountain, this is the way - great day trip, but hard hike if you don't usually hike. There are easier routes like Platteklip) and Lion's Head, spend many days at the beach at Camp's Bay or Clifton, venture to Stellenbosch for an amazing full-day wine tour, and so much more. I did all of this and much more during six weeks, actually staying under budget.

Overall, I would do CIEE again if I could. It was so worth it. I made lifelong friends of whom I am already planning to meet up with early next year, was able to reconnect with myself in a way I didn't think I would, and was able to learn so much about a country that has been so successful but faced so much hardship. Even though I only did one block as I had to return to Seattle, I must say 6 weeks is just enough to fully immerse yourself in this amazing city and country. If you want to learn more about my personal experience, we sure to check out my 5 part VLOG series I made during my time there on my Youtube channel, Alfred Mugho - the link is below!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would try to meet more locals earlier in the program. One of my goals was to meet entrepreneurs while I was there, and even though I did meet a few, I feel like I should have ventured out more into UCT to meet just people my age, from different places in South Africa.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I always knew I wanted to study abroad. The problem was, how could I pick just one location? Then I heard about CIEE's Design Your Semester Program. With this Open Campus program, I able to switch to three different locations during one semester. For me, six weeks in a city is the perfect amount of time to study in a new city. CIEE also has weekend study tours to nearby cities. The tours always provide a well rounded cultural experience. I would highly recommend the Open Campus program if you want to see and experience more when abroad. They offer many cities around the world, but mainly across Europe. I picked Madrid, Berlin, and London for my semester. Each city, in its own special way, had so much to offer. I would highly recommend the open campus program if you can't decide where you want to study abroad.

What would you improve about this program?
The course schedule includes some Friday classes. I would recommend a more condenses course schedule from Monday to Thursday only.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I loved everything about my abroad experience with ALA Barcelona. This program does a fantastic job of balancing academic challenge with fun cultural activities. I had an amazing semester spent exploring Barcelona and traveling on weekends, and I improved my Spanish a lot. I think the biggest advantage that ALA offers is being able to take classes at the University of Barcelona. Unlike most Americans that study in Barcelona, I and the rest of ALA students interacted much more with locals. The level of linguistic and cultural emersion is much higher for this program compared to most others, and CIEE provides constant personal support to ensure that their students succeed academically. I think ALA students have the opportunity to really get to know Barcelona beyond a surface/ tourist-y level. In terms of logistics, ALA provides three housing options (residencia dorm among local students, apartment with other Americans, or homestay). The vast majority of students love their living situation, and each option has different advantages. I personally stayed in the residencia, and loved the central city location/ proximity to UB. Looking back, I would not change anything about my time in Barcelona!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do NOT spend all of your time in Barcelona socializing with Americans. Branch out and build friendships with Spaniards! I am still in contact with some of my friends I met through UB.


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Alumni Interviews

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

Megan Troutman

Megan is a current senior at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, studying Mathematics, Secondary Education, and Teaching English as a Foreign Language. She plays soccer on the club team, is a tour guide, and loves hiking / exploring / backpacking with her friends in her free time!

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program first and foremost because it has always been my dream to study abroad in Australia. I love the outdoors, animals, and nature, so I wanted a program that provided lots of opportunities for that. I also did not want to go to a program where anyone from Vanderbilt was also going, so I chose a less common program (there are SO many people who go to Sydney). Finally, having grown up outside of New York City, I did not want to be living in a huge city like Sydney! Perth looked like it was a perfect size, and I learned we would be living in a little suburb right on campus, which was absolutely perfect for me.

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

My university helped me with application questions/deadlines, scholarships, etc., but a lot of it I figured out on my own! I did have to submit my classes for approval to my school, but on my own, I researched different classes and options.

My university provided a rough outline of expected costs for the semester so that my family could have an idea of it, but I created my own breakdown as well. Between my university, CIEE (my program provider), and the advisor from Murdoch University, the process was extremely easy!!!

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

I would highly recommend choosing a program that is not with all of your best friends. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, and look for a program/country that YOU want, regardless of where your friends are going. My program was the best because none of us came into it knowing anyone else, so we very quickly became best friends. They also all shared my love of the outdoors (which was very obvious in the fact that we all chose a less-common program), so we made the most amazing memories.

I would recommend deciding whether you want a program that is more outdoorsy/exploratory, or whether you want something that is more city-oriented!

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

I specifically chose to have full days of classes on Tuesday-Thursday, freeing myself up for 4 day weekends every weekend! I spent a lot of time going to the beach with my friends because we loved to snorkel and explore. We would typically cook our own food at our houses and eat together, or we would explore Fremantle (this ADORABLE town) to find restaurants/bars. I spent almost every weekend traveling, whether it be renting a camper van and driving up or down the coast of Western Australia, flying across the country to eastern Australia / New Zealand (Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmania), or flying to Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore).

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 slightly nervous about making meaningful friendships, because I have such wonderful friends at my home university, but I wanted to meet all the new people so I was also very excited!!

I was hoping that the others in my program would also want to branch out and form new, very intentional friendships -- and wow was I right!!! I made the most amazing friends, who shared a lot of the same values/passions as me, but who also had such wonderful differing opinions I could learn from.

I soon realized that Perth was a program where students didn't typically travel with a friend group, so everyone was looking for new friendships just as I was!

What is the best way to see/do the most for the cheapest?

I would highly recommend saving money when it comes to food, alcohol, and "lavish" living. I was able to stretch my savings and travel SO much because I rarely spent money on things that weren't travel!!

Whenever my friends and I traveled, we either rented a camper van to sleep in, or we rented airbnb's and fit as many of us in it as were allowed! On one trip, my friends and I even slept in our car, because it was such a great price!! We never stayed in hotels / any expensive places, but we were also able to stay at SUPER fancy places in countries like Indonesia and Thailand.

While we were traveling and at home, I always grocery-shopped, with occasionally treating myself to a dinner out! I also NEVER bought alcohol at clubs/bars. If I wanted a nice drink with dinner I would get one, but it is SO expensive to buy drinks out. It is worth it to just buy bulk food/alcohol, so that you can spend all of your money on traveling!!!!

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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.

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Professional Associations

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