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

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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Yes, I recommend this program

The opportunities and memories I made in the CIEE program in Sevilla are going to stay with me forever. I made amazing friends, traveled to many locations, and even had an awesome internship with a very cool boss that I still talk to. One part of this program that I found really unique was the Morocco trip. There was concern that the trip was going to be cancelled due to high winds making the ferry ride impossible. With a stroke of luck and very bad sea sickness (totally worth it though), we finally arrived there. I am going to be honest here, I started doubting the trip before we went because it was such a daunting experience that I did not feel ready for. After the trip, I did not want to leave. CIEE had the perfect itinerary and we got to know a variety of people who lived there. I would not trade that experience for anything. To this day, it is one of the most eye opening experiences I have ever had. It brings a whole new life to what my mind thought Morocco was due to movies and other media. Morocco has such a beautiful culture and life to it that I wish I could share with others. It is one of those, you have to see to believe. If you are debating on CIEE, I say just go for it. I loved my program and it is worth it to take those leaps. If studying abroad taught me anything, it is that nothing is as it seems. Life is meant for you to push yourself into become more than you could have ever imagined.

What would you improve about this program?
I guess, I would warn students that they will need time to adjust to their homestays because not only are these strangers to you, but it is an entirely new culture that you will be living in. It will take time to adjust, but it will happen and be an amazing experience.
Yes, I recommend this program

I loved everything about my study abroad experience. I came in as a Spanish major wanting to make friends and become fluent and did exactly that. CIEE placed me with a welcoming Catalan family who had a brother my age I am close with to this day. Between my homestay experience, and classes with the University of Barcelona and CIEE, I had so many opportunities to learn and I am proud to say I am fluent today. I also made so many friends and not just with the students, but professors as well! The CIEE program had many opportunities for us to hang out with the students and professors alike, my favorite of which being a weekend excursion to Collioure. Overall, I had the best time in Barcelona and miss the city, friends and program so much!! I would highly recommend this experience to anyone hoping to improve their Spanish or simply immerse themselves in a young and vibrant city!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Hi! I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here in Berlin with CIEE Open Campus. I have enjoyed my classes thus far, especially my Post War Monuments and Memorials Class. Not only did this class challenge my thinking, helped me gain an understanding, touched my emotions, but also provided me with a worldly insight that I didn't think was possible. As for the institute, all of the staff from the RA's to the Faculty/Student Life Team to the Security they have always been great at helping me (and always with a smile). I think it is hard for me because I do wish this program was a bit bigger, but at the same time I like the small community of it. As for Berlin as a whole, this city is one that is so rich in history and also has a melting pot of cultures. There is never not something to explore and experience.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't be afraid to venture down a street you haven't been down. There is always something new and exciting in this city.
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Yes, I recommend this program

During my study abroad, I'd eat street crawfish for lunch and juicy steak in high-rise buildings for dinner--at the same price. Shanghai's fast modernization has resulted in massive economic wealth and consumption, allowing denizens to live like kings, queens, and jesters all at once. Walking along the street, you'd pass the massive construction of a hundred-story building right after a row of run-down shacks. A local friend of mine commented that the polarization of Shanghai's urban/rural feeling was nothing new--but to me, it seemed the most alluring part of the city. I once ate street snake and frog-on-stick during a food tour, then later that week wandered into a secret hideaway up-scale speakeasy behind a Coca-Cola vending machine. Being able to experience life in all of its many forms is what made my experience truly educational, complimenting my studies of 'China in a Global Context' all the more. If you're looking for adventurous thrills and a thought-provoking representation of modern China, look no further than Shanghai.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
For my Chinese class, we had to produce a music video on our favorite location in the city. I am not a great singer--let alone in another language--nor am I an extrovert amongst strangers. I saw this as an opportunity to embrace my status as 'lao-wai' (foreigner) and push myself out of my comfort zone. Headed by my determination, our group chose our favorite location as the street we lived on--where we'd shopped at local stores, learned how to use the subway, sung late-night karaoke, and ordered all of our dumplings. Filming day was my most nerve-wracking moment. I had written the song (poorly), and directed my teammates to lip-sync in our favorite various spots. When it came to be my turn, the lyrics became a jumbled mess in my head, but I persisted, knowing that even though all the passers-by thought I was an odd lao-wai, at least I was trying to learn. Today, I still remember the lyrics of our song, and it holds a special place for me to remember all of my amazing times along that street. And someone will have to do a lot of convincing before I show them the video.


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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!

Megan Troutman

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.
Katherine MacColl

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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