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CIS Abroad

Why choose CIS Abroad?

We provide innovative education programs that broaden academic perspectives, promote global awareness, and encourage personal development while laying the foundation for participants to become engaged world citizens. Our lives were transformed by international experiences. Every day we create a more connected and compassionate world, one person at a time.

We pitch in. From helping our colleagues with meals when a new baby is born, to working with students to make sure credit transfers back home, to consulting with US study abroad offices to help improve business processes, our staff go the extra mile for each other and for those we are serving. We have each others’ back.

More than 22,000 students have participated in our programs. They have come from all backgrounds and all types of institutions. It’s our job to expose students to amazing places, teach them new concepts and help them explore their boundaries. It’s their job to accept new ideas, change their perspective.

Scholarships

CISabroad Scholarships

CISabroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

70% of all CISabroad students receive scholarships, grants, or discounts to study abroad. We're unapologetically committed to increasing access to international education for all students.

Value
$250 - $500

Reviews

Default avatar
Margaret
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying in Barcelona

Truthfully, the experience of studying abroad was one I will never forget. I think everyone should have the opportunity to study outside of their realm to learn from others. I originally wanted to the program in hopes of meeting new people outside of my university while exploring a new part of the world, and CIS provided that experience for me and so much more! The staff was absolutely incredible to us and helped us find our way while navigating a new country and life. Gaining the experience I did was incredibly valuable and made for an excellent experience. I will absolutely be recommending the program to anyone interested!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My best piece of advice is don't limit yourself to the city you are staying it. Whether you take local trains, cross-country trains, boats, or planes, explore the region! I had the opportunity to visit a few other cities and countries on the weekends while studying and they are some of my most fun experiences.
Pros
  • Meeting new people
  • Trying different cuisines
  • Exploring historical sites
Cons
  • Finding the time for activities based on the length of my program
  • At times, a language barrier can be hard to navigate
Default avatar
Alicia
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Crossing Boarders: A Journey Abroad

Going to Italy was an amazing experience not only for the food and scenery but for the adventures and friends that were made along the way. When I first found out I would get the opportunity to go to Italy it was a surreal moment, and my experience abroad was one filled with many memories. While abroad I experienced culture shock because I had never been out of my home state, let alone the US. However, I learned to take it one day at a time and live in the present moment than trying to process everything all at once.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Here at my home university, we rarely have course where we get to travel and in the classes I took abroad, we did just this. The college I went to allowed be to see parts of the city that I never knew existed and places that are not in the history books. One of my fondest memories was when I went to the Roman Forum and got to see the different temples and city that once was alive.
Pros
  • There is plenty of sceneic place to observe, food to eat, and places to shop
  • Convenient base for exploring other places in Italy
  • First Sunday of the month free museums and Sunday markets
Cons
  • Lots of walking
  • Transportation can be tricky and language barriers
  • Very crowded especially if it is doing the peak seasons or on the weekends
Default avatar
Tara
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Fall in Florence

I spent the fall semester of my senior year with CIS Abroad in Florence, Italy. I had a fantastic time and would go back again in a heartbeat. I only took gen-eds, so my coursework was pretty light but I really enjoyed the "walking" classes that focused on seeing different parts of the city through an academic lens. The city is incredibly walkable, and you can find just about anything you need on the same block as you live. I stayed in the Social Hub, a hotel that hosts long-term students. I liked it because of security, utilities, and kitchenware was all provided. There is a restaurant in the hotel that you can get a prepaid meal plan for, but there is also kitchen space if you are more of a cook. Groceries were very inexpensive, so it was easy to get by without being an extraordinary cook. The hotel was also only a 10/15 minute walk from the train station, which made it super easy to travel on the weekends. The on-site staff were super responsive to outreach and had all of the resources you could possibly need.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
CIS provides a lot of spontaneous events and excursions. I highly suggest going to as many as you can as it often involves trying some yummy food! They tell you when/where to show up and everything is included. I was able to go to the Opera because of Romina and Martina!
Pros
  • Attentive and engaging on-site staff
  • Prime housing location and ammenities
Cons
  • very strict attendance policy for class, only 1 excused absence before impact on grade 4=fail
  • Social Hub sometimes hard to find privacy, especially if not besties with your roomate
Default avatar
Emily
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Semester in Barcelona

I recently returned from a semester abroad in Barcelona through CIS Abroad. This experience was truly one of a kind and I would highly suggest going through CIS Abroad if you are considering doing a semester overseas. From group dinners to cooking classes to excursions, there are so many memorable experiences that you will not only enjoy but that will also bond you with your fellow peers. Nicole, the site director for Barcelona, ensured that everyone had all of the tools needed to succeed and was always available to help beyond what was expected of her.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to any future travelers would be to get outside your comfort zone. Say yes to foods you have never tried before or visit a country that was not originally on your "must visit list" or invite your classmates to get lunch with you after class. The more you put yourself outside of your comfort zone, the more you will experience and grow as a person. At the end of your experience, you are not going to wish you did less, so say yes whenever you can.
Pros
  • Immersing myself into many different cultures
  • Learning a newfound sense of independence
  • Creating bonds that will last a lifetime
Cons
  • Tiring
  • Feeling stressed
  • Can be costly
Default avatar
Lilyana
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Wish I could have stayed longer!

I spent the January Term in Sorrento, Italy in 2023. This by far was my best experience in college! I was able to explore so many different parts of Italy, such as Rome or Positano. I also was able to attend beer tastings, cooking classes, & more. I met a couple friends on my trip that I still keep in touch with as well. There was no problems with transportations, safety, etc. I even had a counselor on site in Sorrento, Italy who I could get in touch with easily to ask questions or voice concerns. I truly loved my experience with CIS, & even decided to pick up an "International Business" minor at my college once I returned. If you're thinking about studying abroad, GO!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Most neve-racking moment for me was the bus trip to Positano! The road are so narrow & windy compared to roads in the USA. I overcame it by reminding myself roads like these are normal in Italian culture & if they were not safe, this destination wouldn't be so popular.
Pros
  • Experiencing another culture
  • Learning a new language
  • Meeting locals
Cons
  • Only stayed for less than a month, wish it was longer
  • A majority of bars & restaurants are closed in January in Sorrento, Italy

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Why did you choose this program?

I chose the CIS Abroad Newcastle program because, from the very beginning, it fits all of the things I was looking for in a study abroad program. I knew I wanted to be in Australia and, when I read the descriptions of Newcastle, I just knew it would be a place I could call home. I was close enough to big cities like Sydney and Melbourne that I could travel and experience the tourist attractions, while also creating a home for myself in the smaller community on and around campus.

CIS Abroad had preplanned excursions included in the program that allowed me to do even more traveling and check off some things that were already on my bucket list, without the hassle of planning more things by myself. Not to mention, the pre-departure support, day of traveling support, and on-site support allowed me to be confident in my safety and ability to endure so a large adventure all on my own!!

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

My program provider was incredible at always answering any questions I could possibly have, and helping me navigate the extensive requirements for a travel endeavor as large as studying abroad.

She helped me to coordinate transportation to and from airports during my time abroad, understand and finding my housing, and even prepared in advance linens and kitchenware to make my transition easy. She also gave clear instructions on how to apply for a Visa, travel grants, advice for booking flights, and so much more.

I could not be more grateful for the CIS program providers and on-site guides.

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

My biggest piece of advice for someone who is going abroad through CIS is to make sure that you pay attention to all the documentation and instructions that the program providers give you. If you do everything they recommend before departing on your adventure, your travel experience and stay abroad will be so smooth!!

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

An average week for me consisted of going to class, building relationships with new friends both inside and outside of the CIS Abroad program, as well as attending frequent hangouts and excursions planned and organized by my CIS Abroad on-site director. A few of these included a day hike at a nearby mountain overlook, as well as a winery tour, and beach picnics.

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

Growing up so close to my home university, I never really had the chance to gain a large amount of independence away from home. My biggest fear about going abroad was that I would be so far away from all of my family, friends, and those who care about me. Once arriving in Australia, I realized how exciting and freeing it is to be able to completely take care of myself.

I loved that I had complete control over everything that I did. It allowed me to form many great friendships and go on many adventures that otherwise I may have been too afraid to endure.

Staff Interviews

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

Helena Henare Coolen

Job Title
New Zealand Site Director
Helena lives in the “Coolest Little Capital in the World”. She is passionate about ensuring every student has a safe life-transformative experience whilst soaking up the unique and diverse culture and environment New Zealand has to offer. Based in Wellington, she is very connected with many people and is able to ensure every student has access to people and experiences personalized to their area of interests. She prides herself on being your New Zealand Aunty who you can trust and feel safe knowing she is there for you.

What is your favorite travel memory?

Learning to say hello in 52 different languages. The laughter when you mispronounce it but the respect and kindness from them that at least you tried. I remember using a word completely out of context and the raucous outburst of laughter from a group of elderly ladies. I love going out of my comfort zone and experiencing different world views.

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

I have been a student myself learning the diversity of cultures that come out of the United States of America. Learning all about life in the US College system which is very different to New Zealand. The accents of students from different states is often like listening to different languages. I have learned also from my colleagues about their experiences of what it takes to successfully study abroad.

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

Every student has told Helena they will return to New Zealand. One in particular said he would be returning with his future wife and children to introduce them to their Aunty Helena. Every student is captured by the natural beauty of the New Zealand environment and loves to go hiking and exploring all it has to offer.

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

I would choose Thailand as I have never been there and I love Thai food and find the people so warm and kind. I think having the opportunity to live in a country and having the authentic local experience is always more rewarding than just being a tourist. Knowing there is a local Site Director is what would make me feel safe.

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

The commitment to inclusion, especially the rainbow community of which I belong. I love that we identify as a family and, whenever I am dealing with a tough situation, I know I have a large wealth of experience to draw upon. I love that student wellbeing is critical to CIS leadership and the focus on continual learning about how we can always be better at working together to put our students at the heart of our business.

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

Putting the safety and well-being of every student at the heart of each program. I think offering unique and culturally rich program in countries around the globe at an affordable cost is what sets CISABROAD apart. I am super proud to do my work and feel it’s a privilege to be instrumental in supporting the future global leaders.

Professional Associations

The Forum on Education Abroad Logo
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