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CIS Abroad

About

At CIS Abroad, we're committed to providing the best overall value in study and internship abroad opportunities for every student! CIS Abroad programs are affordable and specialize in providing quality education and support throughout your study or internship abroad experience. Experiences are innovative and focused on cultural immersion through our La Vida Local activities.

All of the CIS Abroad staff members have studied and lived abroad. They provide first-hand insight and feedback so that you are fully prepared for your trip overseas! Browse the program listings below to find one that fits you best. We're here to answer ALL of your questions!

Founded
2000
Headquarters

17 New South St
#301
Northampton, MA 01060
United States

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
Cassandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

During my four months in Cusco, Peru, I was able to gain experiences and memories I never thought possible. I studied abroad with CISabroad as my program, and the support I received was amazing. Every question I had before leaving for my trip was thoroughly answered, and I felt more than prepared. While in Peru, I loved being able to take courses that were drastically different from those that are traditionally offered here in the U.S., such as Healing and Shamanism. I was able to travel all over the country and experience different ecosystems including the desert in Huacachina, the Amazon rain forest in Puerto Maldonado, the coast in Paracas, the cloud forest at Machu Picchu, and various Incan ruins throughout the country. We also hiked (all the way up to 14,000 feet!), went horseback riding, and volunteered at schools, an animal shelter and an orphanage. I think the best part about studying abroad is learning to love the culture shock and being in new situations you may never have thought you’d be in but are so glad you had the privilege to experience. Overall, studying abroad was one of the best experiences of my life.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
If I were to do this all over again, I would spend more time truly experiencing moments rather than taking photos. I feel as though we are sometimes overly concerned about taking pictures so we can remember our travels, but I think there is also something to be said about looking around, without a phone in our hands, and thinking about where we are and why we are there.
Default avatar
Tara
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I did the CISabroad Semester in Limerick program during the Fall 2019 semester. It was an incredible experience and I loved it so much that I am hoping to go back for graduate school. Some of the positive aspects of going to the University of Limerick through CISabroad was the assistance with pre-departure stuff, advising throughout the semester and after, and having a separate orientation with just CISabroad students. CISabroad made preparing to leave for Ireland so easy. They emailed you many times with detailed instructions and made sure you understood everything that was required before leaving to study abroad. They gave you specific times to book flights, took care of health insurance, paid your deposit, and got on campus housing for you. This was all so helpful and I felt like it made departure a lot less stressful and allowed me to worry less about leaving my home country. They even arranged for a bus to pick us up from Shannon airport and drop us off at our accommodation. I am thankful that we had CISabroad staff available for help throughout the semester as well to help with any questions. It was nice to know I always had a point of contact. The separate orientation was helpful as well, because although it felt like we had learned most of the information at University of Limerick's orientation, it was nice to hear it again in a smaller group setting. Meeting with other CISabroad students also allowed me to quickly find friends and to have more people to contact if I had questions. Where I felt CISabroad fell flat was with the planned excursions. Although the program did provide us with a few free meals and CISabroad dinners, the students in my program were under the impression that CISabroad would plan trips for us. We were told that there were 2 students in Dublin who would come on these trips with us, but that never happened. Granted, our on site advisor got another job, and we can't blame her for accepting a great opportunity, we felt that CISabroad didn't offer a good solution to this. We were provided a new advisor, however, they did not work for CISabroad and were instead a member of the University of Limerick staff. There solution for providing trips for us, was to cover the cost of any trips we went on through the University of Limerick's Student Life. While it was nice that these costs were being covered, it didn't add up to much. Trips typically were around 30 euros and we usually had to pay for our own meals while on these trips. The cost of food wasn't covered so, overall, we didn't feel we got our money's worth. Plus, these trips were open to the entire school, so we didn't feel like CISabroad followed through with planning trips just for us. Aside from the planned excursions, I feel CISabroad did their best in trying to come up with a solution to a problem that arose so quickly. It was an unfortunate situation, and we felt a little cheated out of excursions. That being said, I still was able to travel a lot and saw plenty of places on my own. The planned excursions would've been nice, but sometimes you just have to roll with the punches and adapt. Me and a few CISabroad students ended up planning trips amongst ourselves. It wasn't ideal but it turned out to be very fun. I will always be grateful for my time abroad and I have found a new love for travel. There are so many more countries I want to go to and I don't think I'll want to ever want to stop seeing new places. I didn't get everything I wanted out of CISabroad, but I do think it is a great program. They help a lot with advising, planning, and answering questions. I felt much more comfortable using a third party program than planning on my own. I'm sure excursions have been better in the past and will be better in the future. CISabroad did what they could given the challenges of trying to find a new advisor last minute. Things happen and they tried to offer a solution. I would recommend CISabroad for someone looking to study abroad because of how helpful they were and how easy they made transitioning into life in Ireland. Overall, whatever way you end up studying abroad, you'll have an amazing experience regardless.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Get phone plan in Ireland, it's cheaper than an international plan.
Default avatar
Krista
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My study abroad experience was more than I could have ever hoped for. It really challenged me and taught me to be independent, while allowing me to see so much of Australia and form so many lifelong friendships. CIS Abroad made everything so easy and stress free. The pre-planned excursions gave me something to look forward too and allowed me to truly experience Australia without all the stress of planning every single thing I wanted to do. I cannot express enough how grateful I am for the CIS Abroad staff and for the program as a whole for facilitating so many incredible friendships and memories. Newcastle itself was a dream and being only a short train ride from Sydney, I was never bored. Now i'm just trying to figure out how I can get myself back there!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
My roomates had me try Australian "fairy bread" which is essentially an untoasted piece of bread with butter and sprinkles on it... lets just say it wasn't my favorite meal while abroad. hahahaha
Default avatar
Brooke
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Going abroad in Scotland was the time of my life. I was so nervous to leave the normalcy of my life, but I am glad that I was able to push myself out of my comfort zone and go for it. I was able to have amazing experiences that I could never have dreamed of doing, and was able to travel all over Europe, even on a college student budget. I felt safe and comfortable in Edinburgh, and was able to navigate the city very easily even though I am not used to being in cities. I made amazing friends that will last a lifetime. I hope that everyone takes the opportunity to go abroad as it was the most amazing time of my life!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take advantage of all the opportunities that will be thrown your way and step out of your comfort zone whenever possible!
Default avatar
Lauren
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This experience was unique because of the location. Sorrento is a small town unlike any other with the breathtaking views, and the community is supportive. I could walk to the beach every day before or after class and easily walk to the grocery store. It was my best pick to have the easiest transition from home to abroad. I felt safe as a woman even walking alone at night. The professors loved the classes they taught, and I got to take an Elementary Italian course which really helped me learn more of the language. One of the best moments of the semester was finally learning enough Italian to be able to order at a restaurant. I could tell the locals were happy that I was trying to fit into their culture. It was AWESOME! This program is great because it checked off all of my boxes. It is very easy to get around and had all the benefits of a big school with a small town authentic Italian feel.

What would you improve about this program?
More (diverse) students attending the school. There were only Americans at the Sant'Anna Institute and I wish there were more international students. In addition, there were only 28 students at the school in total. I wish there were more people from different cultures and more students in general. This would lead to a greater sense of community and allowing for different cultural perspectives. There were few people and this created a sense of loneliness at times.

Programs

Displaying 19 - 27 of 60

Alumni Interviews

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

Gabriella Swartz

Gabby is a senior at Valparaiso University majoring in Spanish and Secondary Education.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose CISAbroad because it was recommended to me at my Study Abroad office on my campus. I decided to do a program outside of my university because I knew I wanted to go to Spain and my university didn't have an option to Spain, so I went through CISAbroad instead.

After applying for the program, I had no help from my university office, but the CISAbroad staff were so helpful and supportive, I'm so glad we were able to go through CIS.

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

The only things I needed to organize were my flight to Spain and my transportation to the airport to leave and my flight home. When I arrived, there was a driver waiting to take me to my homestay. CISAbroad organized my homestay and university enrollment.

Once I arrived, I was more in control. I did change my classes and decided what included excursions I wanted to go, but nothing was required.

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

The biggest thing for me is that they do NOT split checks. If you ask your server nicely, they may try and accommodate you, but typically they do not split checks. It is a cultural thing for them. I know it's small, but that is the one thing that shocked me the most and caused the most shock because you are going to be mostly eating with others if you go out to eat.

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

In the summer program, a typical week included daily class which depends on your schedule. For me, I had class from 8:30-1:15 Monday-Thursday and on Friday classes were from 8:30-11:15 for everyone. After class, you were free to do as you wish! The university I attended offered excursions and visits to the big museums and sites in Madrid that were free for students, those were typically on Wednesdays.

On the weekends, you were free to do as you wished. The program I was in included 2 of the weekend excursion trips to other cities in Spain outside of Madrid on Saturdays. These trips were day trips leaving around 8:30 AM and returning about 5/6 PM.

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 going alone. Since I went through a non-university program, I did not know anyone else going to Madrid. I wouldn't say there's a way to get over going alone other than just having faith in yourself and being confident. You will meet people and you will make friends!

My view on going abroad alone now is DO IT! It is so much fun and you learn so much about yourself that you may not have learned if you weren't put in that situation.

What is your favorite memory of this trip?

My favorite memory abroad was my last weekend in Madrid. I decided to stay in Madrid and not travel because there were still things I hadn't done that I wanted to in the city. That weekend, I went to the amusement park in Madrid (Parque de Atracciones) with some friends. We had a blast!

The next day, I went to the Madrid Zoo by myself for the day. Going alone was awesome! I could take my time looking at all the animals and seeing all of the shows offered. It was great last weekend!

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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