Why choose IAU?

Institute for American Universities (IAU), an American style education institution located in France, Spain, Italy, and Morocco, offers semester, summer, January term academic year study abroad and full degree-granting options. IAU has study options in over 15 countries with a wide range of disciplines to choose from. Students can select courses taught in English or can opt for the language immersive option. IAU has been providing study abroad opportunities for U.S. college and university students for over 65 years. IAU offers homestays, field studies (excursions), for-credit internships, and site-specific learning!



Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

IAU Was An Amazing Experience

Studying in Aix-en-Provence this past Spring Semester was an absolutely amazing experience. Through the homestay program, I learned so much more about the day-to-day French culture, while being able to speak the language daily in a comfortable environment. Living in Aix for four months was the perfect amount of time, as I was able to fully immerse myself in the culture. My friends and I quickly felt like locals, finding our "regular spots" in the town and getting to know the staff and workers. The town of Aix is in a great location, close to beaches, hikes, the Marseille airport and a TGV train station, there is always something to do or somewhere to go. Studying abroad with IAU has been one of the most fulfilling and life-giving experiences I have had so far. The professors and staff always went above and beyond to make sure that we were doing well. The classes were also fairly engaging, with field studies planned throughout the semester. I would recommend this program to anyone interested in studying abroad in France, no matter your French language-level. This program has truly helped me further develop my appreciation for language and culture, and has helped me to foster friendships I hope to keep for a lifetime.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

My 1.5 Semesters at IAU Aix

Just a quick note, my time in Aix may be a bit different from most people's, as I was a student at the art school, which is outside of town. The walk between IAU, my host house, and the art school never felt too long, and I never considered getting a bike or a bus pass. My experience at Marchutz turned out far better than I expected. I wanted to try a full semester of heavy focus in the arts, and I was finally able to do that at IAU, as well as improve my French greatly and study regional art history at the source. The program was mostly full of juniors and seniors in college, but also a few adult students, a retiree, and a few people with families of their own. It was a pretty good mix of personalities and interests. Everything went so well that I decided halfway through that there was no way one semester was going to be enough, and I applied for a second semester in the spring.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would definitely go to more school events and take advantage of all the things they offered. I missed out on quite a bit the first semester, but I went to things for the part of the second semester that I was able to stay for.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

12 Weeks in Barcelona - IAU

Studying abroad is one of the greatest investments I have ever made for myself. There’s not much I can say to compare, but studying through IAU is in large part what made it all possible. In high school, we had the opportunity to study two years of Spanish. While I am thankful, this is all we had. I grew up speaking one language but seeking more.

If it wasn’t for IAU, me being given the opportunity to immerse myself in a country that speaks a different language than my own, studying and interning, would have been slim. I wouldn’t have had the capacity to communicate. IAU found professors willing to meet me and my colleagues where we were at in terms of language and provided me with an internship understanding and willing to speak English. IAU pushed me to try my best at immersing myself with the locals through practicing my Spanish and steering me to where locals acquaint.

At every moment, I was treated with respect. There was never a moment where I felt like a burden to faculty; full attention would be granted to me if there was something needed to be followed by additional half-hour 1:1 conversation about cultural differences. IAU pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I am confident saying that I have grown tremendously as a person through studying abroad.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Many speak Catalan but try and speak Spanish over English!
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

IAU Barcelona summer internship

Taking a summer course through IAU along with completing an internship for credit has helped me grow academically, professionally and personally. Throughout the duration of my stay in Spain, the staff continuously offered support and guidance that I may have needed, making me feel apart of their community. Their willingness to accommodate what was best for me specifically helped individualize my experience for optimal growth. IAU genuinely cared about my experience outside of the classroom as well. Although our weekends were free for us to travel and explore, there was one weekend excursion, already planned and paid for. Each weekend the staff extended invitations to give tours throughout the city and suggested many activities for our free time.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
After meeting local college students in the apartments we stayed at, we were invited to one of their favorite restaurants. They introduced me to snails, or escargot. I was not huge fan, but it definitely added to my cultural experiences!
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Say "Yes"

Jump out of your comfort box and go abroad to Aix-en provence France. The school is amazing and offers you lots of resources. I recommend taking French and getting to know your professors. The community is beautiful and very easy to get around. I found the french residents to be very kind. I live with a host family, who took care of me and gave me love away from home. My overall trip was incredible. I felt safe and very free to do what I wanted. I highly recommend going on the bus tours that the school plans for you. IAU will not disappoint you take the leap and go!

What would you improve about this program?
It was perfect!
Read my full story


Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

Alumni Interviews

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

Why did you choose this program?

I chose Aix-en Provence because of the location and culture. I was excited to live with a loving host family who would teach me the language and tell me stories. The school, community, and residents surpassed all my expectations. This is one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Studying abroad introduces you to students/faculty who have similar interests as you, allows you to expand your learning, and opens your mind to new cultures.

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

IAU was very accommodating with living situation, classes, and knowledge to thrive away from home. I was lucky to have built a relationship with the IAU staff. They showed interest in me and cared for me as a student. IAU offered me a scholarship that helped me budget my experiences. Before leaving the USA, IAU sent all of the necessary information for arriving safely.

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

I would advise you to take Beginner French language as a class. This will help you experience the culture and people better. Don't worry about seeing the world all at one time; enjoy what France has to offer. Lastly, get to know the students/faculty; learn to network across the global. Most importantly, have fun!

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

Each day, I spent about 2 to 5 hours studying and going to class, then I would explore the streets of Aix. Some days, I would meet with students for gelato or coffee before going home for dinner with my host family. I loved sitting down at a table at the same time everyday to eat and be with my host family. This is where you make genuine connections and learn about the French culture.

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 having problems with the airlines, which I did experience. At the beginning, I was close to missing a flight, which resulted in losing my luggage. Traveling got easier with experience. I was also concerned about having personal items stolen, but that never happened as long as you are responsible.

What is your advice to prospective students?

Believe in yourself, be positive, and have an open mind. Studying abroad gave me the confidence I needed to pursue my career dreams. I hope one day to return for my Master’s degree. Don't worry about the small things when you are there, relax and enjoy your time in a new environment.

Staff Interviews

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

Arianna Zabriskie

Job Title
Student Advisor
Arianna is a 2013 graduate from Colorado State University with a passion for travel and education. She is the current student advisor at IAU College and also an alumna of IAU College from 2013.

female headshot

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory would be my first visit to Rome. I was in awe of the culture and loved the cuisine. This trip was after I graduated college when I was teaching English in Paris, France. I took a weekend trip with some other American English teachers I met in Paris. We stumbled upon this random restaurant where we met locals who showed us all around Rome after lunch and even took us out to dinner that evening. I will never forget how hospitable and kind the Italians are!

Which destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

I would say the most underrated destination is Cagliari, Sardinia (Italy). This gem is on an island west of the Italian main land. Take a drive along the southern coast of Sardinia and I promise you will not believe your eyes. The most overrated is Madrid, Spain. I found this city to be a very fast moving city and very Americanized. I personally prefer the village feel in Europe.

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

A successful company is made up of two qualities. One is curiosity and remaining curious about the needs of students, staff and employees. The second is being a "yes" person to make these accommodations happen. At IAU, we pride ourselves in our flexibility and how often we get to say "yes" to the needs of our students, staff and employees.

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

Yes! I learn something new every single day. I work with a very supportive team that challenge me in the best ways each day. It has been an amazing growth experience so far!

What unique qualities does your company possess?

We are unique because we are flexible in our programs and our options for students in general. We love to ask our selves how we can make the student experience that much better.

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of your current team.

I have felt so much pride in IAU when I attended our first alumni reunion. It was incredible to meet alumni from the 60's who described similar experiences and memories that I had attending IAU in 2013. IAU is timeless.

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

The best story I have heard so far was of a student's first experience at the Marchutz School of Fine Arts. They said they felt "home" for the first time. They said they couldn't believe how at home they felt in a town so far away from everything they knew but they did. They said it was love at first site when they stepped foot at the Marchutz studio.

Professional Associations

The Forum on Education Abroad Logo