IES Abroad

IES Abroad

About

IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student should have the opportunity to go abroad—especially in a fun, safe, and superior academic and cultural environment.

From our headquarters in Chicago to our 35 locations and the staff on-site, we all work toward the common goal of providing mind-bending, life-changing, opinion-altering study abroad opportunities.

We’re not ashamed to admit we’re a little bit obsessed with study abroad.

Founded
1950

Scholarships

IES Abroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

As far as we're concerned, financial limitations shouldn't prevent you from studying abroad with us. That's why we offer more than $5 million in scholarships and aid.

Value
$500 - $5,000

Reviews

Default avatar
Haley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I have been speaking Spanish for a long time and really wanted to take my skills to the next level. Not only did this program help me improve my Spanish abilities by both classes and immersive experiences, but it also provided me and the other students with awesome opportunities every week through pre-planned activities and trips. The academic aspect was challenging, but not too challenging and I still had plenty of time to travel, try new things, and hang out with the several new friends I made. The staff were also super helpful answering any questions any of us had. I loved this program!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
My connecting flight to Portugal was late and I missed my final flight to Madrid, and therefore the IES Abroad bus to Salamanca. Another student and I were running on less than 2 hours of sleep with no cell service when we had to navigate the Madrid airport in order to find where to purchase bus tickets to Salamanca--and then we had to find where the busses would pick us up. When we finally arrived in Salamanca, we had to catch a taxi to finally make it to our homestays. I never imagined I'd be navigating my own way from Madrid to Salamanca, but the fact that I did it (and almost alone) gave me so much confidence in myself and my ability to hold my own in a foreign country. It's not the start to my study abroad experience that I would've wanted, but it made me more confident and ready for whatever lie ahead.
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Genevieve
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Since I was younger, I have always wanted to study abroad in France (although originally I was thinking Paris). When I found out that my undergrad business program held a program on the French Riviera, there was no way I could go anywhere else. When I got there, I was greeted by the wonderful staff and they made me feel so comfortable and supported. Luckily, even though I signed up for random roommates, I became best friends with the people that I lived with and we had an amazing apartment that was only a 10 minute walk from the beach!

The program's planned trips were so much fun as we were able to get to know people from all over the US, and we ended up getting so close that we travelled separately from the program as well! Nice is such a central location that it is so easy to get anywhere by train or plane. Even with a somewhat low budget, I was still able to do everything I wanted to while being there!

My advice is study in Nice and take every opportunity to participate in the community while you are there. I promise you won't regret it!

What was your funniest moment?
While I was travelling with my friends to Milan and after a night of fun, we decided to get late night pizza. As my friend was walking out of the pizza shop, she tripped, fell, and dropped the entire pizza. We couldn't stop laughing for weeks!
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Jacqueline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I studied abroad in Spring 2020 and so my experience was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic but I wouldn't change it for the world. I was able to take classes and intern abroad and I still had the time to explore Sydney. I loved being directly enrolled in the University of Sydney because I felt like any other student on campus. My classes were with students from all around the world and the campus was beautiful, some relate it to Hogwarts! I was able to take interesting classes that got me more involved with Australia and learn more about their culture. One of the classes that I took as an elective had field trips to sports games! I also got to gain real-world experience at my internship on campus at the Sydney University of Fitness. Although I did not think that my classes would turn online in a few weeks, I am so grateful for my experience in Sydney. I miss the sunny weather, the city life and 'my mates!'

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
On a trip that we took with my program, we were able to go to this national park and see these beautiful views. At the end of the day our tour guide was grilling up some food and there was a meat that didn't look familiar. It was kangaroo... days before I saw my first kangaroo and now I was eating one.
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Caroline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was inspired to study abroad because of my love for the country of Australia! I have always loved the idea of moving away and experiencing a new culture and lifestyle! In high school, I was lucky enough to have the experience of being an exchange student there and had been dying to return since then. When it came time to begin the process, I looked for programs that offered experiences to Sydney and felt that IES University of Sydney offered the best experience for me!
My favorite part of Sydney was truly how big it was. There was so much to explore and learn about Sydney and the public transportation system in the city easily allowed my friends and I to experience all of it! I also was so lucky to have so many students from my home university in this program with me! While it was sad to be sent home so early due to COVID 19, I am so grateful to be able to see so many of those people frequently back here and further our experience!
The program director, Kate, was phenomenal and so helpful, especially with all of the COVID protocols and preparations!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I definitely recommend all of nature aspects of Sydney! There are loads of parks and nature walks that can definitely be overlooked in such a large city but they were amazing!
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Julia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I absolutely loved my time in the IES Study London program. We had a large group of students from so many different universities in the United States so we were able to make friends from all over the country with all different majors, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, passions, etc. If that scares you, the class sizes were nice and small where you could establish real relationships with fellow students and your professors. I absolutely loved the classes I took and the professors were truly so good at using your time in London to your advantage!

On top of that amazing aspect, we were in the hub of London and I personally stayed right up the street from Kings Cross Station at Chapter Kings Cross which I would recommend 10 out of 10 times to anyone doing this program. You could choose to take a quick tube ride to the IES Center (where classes were) or it was also an easy walk through some cute areas of London. I personally chose the walking route because that was more reliable in terms of time, plus I got to see the most adorable little streets. Chapter was such a great choice because so many other students in the program lived there (there are two other living options) and I loved seeing familiar faces in the lobby, elevators, halls and kitchens.

I have made some amazing friends through this program and I only got two months and had to leave somewhat abruptly due to COVID-19 shutting down the world. I wouldn't trade this experience or program for the world and mean it in the most sincere way that you should do IES Study London. From the super helpful staff to the amazing classes and professors and everything thing in between, DO IT and DO IT NOW!

What was your funniest moment?
I did IES Study London the year of the pandemic so that was fun! I would not regret a single moment of my time abroad, but man do I wish I had more time with this program because it was THAT life changing.

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 Auckland mainly because of the excitement of the unknown. Before this, I had never been so far away for such a long period of time. The farthest time zone I had been was three hours ahead, and so I decided to jump into an 18 hour change.

I have lived in a small town my entire life and New Zealand was the perfect way to open up and jump (quite possibly fall) out of my comfort zone. If beautiful nature isn't enough, I was lucky to find a program that fits my needs. The University of Auckland gave me so many course options that fit requirements for my home university. This was really important in deciding where to go and, fortunately, it worked out well.

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

Both my university and IES Abroad were very helpful throughout the application process. I had started looking for programs close to the deadlines, so my university was very useful in giving me the best options for the classes I needed, as well as programs that fit my skills and needs.

Once I was accepted to the program, I had many, many questions for my IES Abroad advisor. Mainly about the process. I wanted to make sure I was doing everything right to keep all of my forms and deadlines in check. The websites were very helpful in showing these deadlines as well. I did much of the application process myself because it was pretty step-by-step.

There was not much I had to do outside of filling out forms and sending in my deposit. Much of the trip was planned for me.

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

It is definitely a good idea to start early! I started very late, and there were times where the process felt very rushed. Don't be afraid to start searching way ahead of when you actually plan to go abroad. You'll feel a lot better knowing you have more time to sort things out.

I definitely do not regret my choice to go to Auckland. It was an amazing experience. But applying and paying for the deposit was more rushed than I would have liked it to be.

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

New Zealand universities are very similar to U.S. universities. I went to class during the week and did homework and studied as I would back home. After classes, I would often do things with my friends from the program as well as the friends I made while there. We would do simple things like go to the local grocery store and cook together, and we would study in the common area of the flat they lived in. But we would also spend a lot of time planning weekend trips.

I went on trips almost every weekend. We explored a lot of the country!

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

A lot of the time, when I tell people I went abroad alone, the first thing they ask is, "Were you terrified?" The more I think about it, the more I realized that I really wasn't that scared. I was too excited about the idea of going somewhere brand new with brand new people; going to a school that wasn't surrounded by cornfields. I was a little worried about meeting everyone in my program because the first weekend we all go to an island and stay together. I've never been much of an outgoing person, but I was welcomed so quickly by everyone.

Before I got there, I told myself I just gotta go for it. Now or never. And I would say it worked out pretty well. I have a lovely group of friends with all different kinds of stories. I learnt there's so much out there if I just go for it.

Is there any other advice for prospective travelers?

At my home university, there is not much to do. It's much too small for a crazy amount of adventure. Because of that, I don't often get to try new things or go to new places. Going abroad was the first jump in the right direction. I did so much that I had never done before: backpacking, sand surfing, Kapa Haka (pretty cool, check it out if you can), husking a coconut, zorbing (also really cool, highly recommend), and so many more activities that I didn't even know existed.

It is very cheesy to say but try as much as you can. If you even consider it for even a second, do it. You'll find things you love and have some pretty great stories.

Staff Interviews

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

Andrea Buidin-Ferrer

Job Title
Internship & Customized Program Coordinator
With a deep passion for the French language and culture and a goal to live and work in France, Andrea completed a Bachelor's and Master's degree in French (interwoven with multiple sojourns in France) and now calls Paris home (3.5 years and counting!).

She currently works at IES Abroad's French Studies Center as the internship and customized program coordinator.

What is your favorite travel memory?

When I was working as an English teaching assistant (with the TAPIF program) in Valence, France, two fellow assistants and I went on an impromptu week-long trip to Switzerland.

One of the fellow assistants had a family friend living in Zurich, so we were able to stay with her and her family, all the while learning about Swiss culture. We spent time sight-seeing in Zurich, hiked to the summit of Mount Pilatus, biked through the Emmental region, and took a day-trip to Lake Como, Italy.

To this day, this trip remains one of my top travel memories. All three of us had a fabulous "go with the flow" attitude throughout the week as we said "yes" to many opportunities that simply popped up along the way.

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

When I first came to IES, I was an intern finishing up the final year of my Master's program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and everything was new to me. I arrived with the knowledge of study abroad that I had acquired during my own experiences in addition to what I had learned in the classroom and had gathered from talking with professionals in the field.

Now, after four years I have seen, first and foremost, how much study abroad has changed since I was in college--the exponential increase in the number of students going abroad, the diversification of those students abroad and the incredible strides made by companies like IES to provide the study abroad opportunity to as many students as possible.

Students today have grown up in a different world than I did--a world where social media and technology have greatly changed their experience abroad. I am constantly learning how to better understand students which, in turn, challenges how I think.

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

I recently had an alumnus of our program contact me after having been back in the United States for a year. She was back in France participating in the TAPIF program and was spending a weekend in Paris. While chatting over some cappuccinos, it was inspiring seeing how this student had taken her study abroad experience and built upon it. She had matured enormously since her time in our program and it was fantastic to see her setting new goals and going for them.

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

I would have to say the IES Christchurch program in New Zealand is the most enticing to me. I have never been to the southern hemisphere and the natural beauty that I have seen in pictures and videos of New Zealand give me the travel bug. I would love being able to take courses at the university there and have that fully immersive experience while also having the opportunity to explore the outdoors.

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

IES Abroad is unique in that it has been around since the dawn of study abroad...1950! They have the hindsight to understand where study abroad has been as well as drive to understand where it is going. Their initiatives in diversity and inclusion have made studying in a different country available and feasible for hundreds of students who would not have otherwise had the opportunity.

Our team in Paris is an awesome group of individuals who are truly passionate about intercultural learning and sharing that with our students.

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

For me, a successful company is one that places the satisfaction of their employees at the same level as the satisfaction of its customers. In a field like a study abroad where employees are in such direct, close contact with our university partners and students, it is crucial that we are being nurtured in an environment that places our professional and personal well-being as a priority. This then trickles down and through students who then receive the same care as we do.

Professional Associations