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.

Scholarships

IES Abroad Scholarships

IES Abroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

Financial limitations shouldn't prevent you from studying abroad with us. That's why IES Abroad offers more than $6 million in scholarships and aid. IES Abroad offers a number of diversity scholarships and grants to provide opportunities for traditionally underrepresented communities in study abroad.

Value
$500 - $5,000

Reviews

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

Could not recommend enough!

I studied abroad with IES Nice in the fall of 2021 after the spring program was canceled because of COVID, and I am so glad that I went during the fall. The sunny weather and laidback Nicoise attitude make the experience feel like a 4-month vacation, especially in early fall.

The classes were moderately difficult, especially if you take a few at SKEMA Business School, but none were too hard. The IES classes are located in the city center, and SKEMA is about a 45 min bus ride away in Sophia Antipolis—a bit of a trek but it's hard to complain when you get to ride along the Mediterranean Sea during your commute.

Nice is a train away from Italy (you can go for dinner and be back by 11 pm), so the cuisine and architecture are beautifully Italian-influenced. Traveling to other European countries is easy since the tram leads directly to Nice's own airport, so no need for an expensive Uber ride. As for housing, IES found me a top-floor apartment with a terrace, a 25 min walk from the beach.

The staff is very helpful as well! When I got sick and let the program director know, she quickly dropped off a COVID test at my apartment and the student affairs coordinator helped me schedule a doctor's visit with an English-speaking doctor. The student affairs coordinator also plans the excursions such as visiting local historical villages with a tour guide, meeting with French students our age, and attending a cooking class to learn how to make Nicoise dishes.

My advice: go on as many excursions as possible and practice your French with locals! :) It's easy to stick with the Americans in your group, but Nice is a very international city so don't be afraid to meet new people.

Pros
  • Beautiful city with warm weather
  • Helpful staff and awesome excursions
  • Easy to travel to other countries (close airport)
Cons
  • Long commute if you take classes at local university (SKEMA)
Default avatar
Hannah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Beautiful country and second home

My semester in Dublin was definitely the most memorable of my time in college. IES kept in regular contact with us to make sure that everything was going well, gave us lots of information at orientation, and sent out activity & travel suggestions throughout the semester. They also led a few group outings for us. I was at Trinity, and the campus is beautiful (I was drawn to the program from seeing photos of the Old Library!) and right in city centre so you're exposed to local culture; I loved stopping at shops on the way home to get a hot chocolate or some fries with garlic sauce (they're the best). The apartment was nice and modern with plenty of space, privacy, and common areas to socialize, and was pretty close to campus. Most everyone in all of the IES Dublin programs lived in the same building, so we made a group chat and had a big extended group of friends to go out with.

Classes are a lot different than in the United States. Instead of multiple shorter classes a day on alternating days like at my home school, I had two one-hour sessions or one two-hour session of each class a week. Depending on the class (I took English modules), grades are based significantly or even 100% on the final exam. This was an adjustment in the sense that I felt a bit less engaged with school overall, since it was less in-class time and fewer assignments throughout the semester, until finals came and then it was a lot of work all at once. You just have to make sure to genuinely care about your studies and keep up with your work, though, and it’ll be fine. This is also a good thing to learn since plenty of other things in life require self-motivation and accountability. This more open schedule was a great way to have things structured during study abroad, however, because it left a LOT of time to explore locally and travel on long weekends! I definitely recommend joining a couple of clubs to truly feel connected to campus; they have a lot of fun events both on campus and at local venues.

Studying in Dublin was not only fun for a short time, but allowed me to realize how much I really want to live abroad long-term. You also learn so many things living in a new culture and how to adapt to them. Public transport is really convenient within the city, and trains are great for traveling across the country. You have to ask for the check at a restaurant, but tax is all included so the total is nice and even and easy to add up in your head. Even going to the grocery store at first is a whole experience on its own—a lot more people bring their own bags (which is great!), some "staple" foods are a bit different, and Irish dairy has a totally different taste. And when you finally leave, you feel a bit homesick in reverse, because what you consider "home" has been split into more pieces, both of them always in the back of your mind. Overall, my semester abroad in Dublin with IES really bridged that gap of apprehension between the expected and the unknown, and it helped prepare me to travel and live abroad once I graduate.

Pros
  • Teaches you new things & how to adapt to them
  • Lots of opportunity to travel locally and elsewhere in Europe
  • Apartment was really nice and close to city centre
Cons
  • Class schedule was very different
  • Complicated paperwork due to COVID
Default avatar
Bridget
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IES Abroad London

This abroad experience was unique for me because this was my first time traveling abroad. England could not have been a more welcoming experience and IES Abroad exceeded my expectations both connecting education with cultural exploration. For further students, I want it to be known how helpful and committed IES Abroad was at making sure you personally felt comfortable in every situation. They are there to help! IES Abroad staff is like a new little family away from your home. I would also give the advice to go on the organized trips with IES. It is a great way to see more of England with the trip already planned for you, so that it is not as stressful as it may seem to plan a trip solo while abroad. Overall, take advantage of all of the new and exciting aspects of this country.

Pros
  • New cultural exposure
  • Academic diversity that differs from the United States
  • Pushing myself to step outside of my comfort zone and gaining independence
Cons
  • Academic time management
  • At first, the time zone change
  • It can be expensive, but nothing you cannot manage
Default avatar
Cali
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Finding a New Home Abroad

One fear I had was not making friends with classes being online, but I had many group projects with friendly students that were eager to help me with anything and everything. Balancing schoolwork and fun was difficult at times, but I was surrounded by amazing resources. My experience was entirely shaped by my own ability to create opportunities for myself and make time to travel independently. What helped me the most was setting goals before I went abroad to orient myself and provide direction.

Pros
  • World-class academics that challenged my worldview
  • I got to be independent, but know I always had a support system
  • I got to meet students from all over the world who made me reflect on my privileges and life experiences
Cons
  • Biggest complaint I hear from people is that good food is difficult to find
  • Navigating the grading system was hard and there were times I felt I wasn't as successful as I could be even though I was working incredibly hard.
  • imposter syndrome at times
Default avatar
Corena
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fell in love with Germany during my first time abroad

Berlin is an incredible city, so filled with history and culture! I felt at home very quickly at the start of my program, and I have to attribute much of that to the lovely staff at IES's Berlin Center. They welcomed us in with much care and support, and the faculty were really knowledgeable. My courses were striking and very relevant to my degree in International Affairs. I feel I've returned with a better understanding of the relationship between America and Europe, and how my identity fit as an American in Germany. The staff took us on day trips to Hamburg, Potsdam and Dresden, which were very enjoyable! They also provided opportunities to attend cultural events and visit local museums. Our pre-departure information meetings with the Center staff were very informative; learning about grocery stores and prepaid cellular providers beforehand saved me time during our first week of adjustment. The neighborhood our student apartments were in is a very cool area, and public transport across the city is great. I became really close with the other students in the program, and we bonded more because we lived in the same building. I'd highly recommend Berlin to anyone looking to visit Europe for the first time, and I'd advocate for any of IES's other programs in Germany as well!

Pros
  • Fantastic location with easy transportation methods for urban, national, and regional travel
  • Solid academic engagement that nicely blended German culture within it
  • Great opportunities to build relationships with students, faculty and staff
Cons
  • Wished the excursions outside of the city were longer
  • I felt more academic stress than I expected to at times, but perhaps that was influenced by personal performance standards

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Autumn Paone

Autumn is from Pennsylvania and studies neuroscience at Lafayette College ('22). She studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, during her sophomore spring with IES Abroad.

Why did you choose this program?

IES Abroad was exactly what I needed! I knew I wanted to study in Madrid to improve my Spanish, but I also wanted to take STEM courses. Most of the pre-approved programs at my college were based in arts and history, so I did a lot of my own research on science-based opportunities. I came across IES's Engineering, Math, & Science program that allowed me to attend a local university for STEM courses, as well as take cultural courses with the program. It was the best of both worlds! I had to petition for my program at Lafayette which was some extra work, but it was 100% worth it.

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

Before departure, my IES advisor was very attentive and available for any questions I had; I typically received email responses or returned phone calls within 24 hours. They organized housing/roommates, class registration, and even medical appointments while in Spain. The biggest thing I had to organize on my own was the flight. I had to be at the Barajas airport during a specific time period on a certain day, otherwise, I would be responsible for getting to my living arrangements on my own. Acquiring a student visa was made easy through their ACCeSS program, but the convenience was due to the state I live in. I know this experience can vary!

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

Unlock your phone! This is very specific, but I had a bad phone experience. I bought a new phone a few weeks before traveling (which apparently is a terrible idea unless you buy it unlocked). I had heard of people having trouble with this, but I was clueless as to what exactly a locked vs. unlocked phone meant (and the man who activated my new phone shrugged it off). After wrestling with the company for a month, I ended up having to buy the cheapest possible phone while in Madrid. My overall experience was amazing, but if I could do something different, I definitely would have figured out how to unlock my phone well before I traveled!

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

Madrid has a multitude of new experiences, so each day/week is different and exciting! I had a fairly long commute, so most weekdays would consist of traveling to and from class which provided a great time to do some work. I lived in an apartment, so I would also walk to the supermarket during the week to buy groceries. On the weekends, I would travel or explore the city's museums, parks, and shopping. I also went to church every week in a beautiful cathedral which I highly recommend if you're religious! It also gave me an opportunity to practice more Spanish. The nightlife is also something to note. It thrived essentially every night, not just the weekends. There are an endless amount of restaurants, clubs, and bars to explore! On one of my favorite nights, my friends and I did a pub crawl; it was affordable and took us all around the center of the city. In summary, Madrid will never bore you!

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 fears were mostly outweighed by excitement before traveling abroad; it was when I arrived that things started to set in. My first day in Spain, everything hit me. I was overwhelmed with jet lag and emotions, and I started to fear that I would get too homesick or that I wasn't cut out for an abroad experience. This took me by surprise because I was never on the fence about studying abroad. I knew since high school that I wanted to be in Europe for a semester. When all these emotions hit, I felt lost and completely unprepared for them. Funnily enough, I overcame them by going to the supermarket! It was something so normal and manageable compared to the big picture (which appeared very unmanageable at the time). I got some groceries, made myself a nice dinner, and had a completely new mindset for the next day. I went into orientation with a clear head and an excited attitude. Of course, homesickness persists and that is completely normal, but I just reminded myself of the short time I had in Europe and that I needed to make the most of it!

Write and answer your own question.

If you're ballin' on a budget, figure out your priorities before departure! Obviously, you don't want to be stressed and hardcore budgeting while trying to have fun abroad, but there are a few things you can straighten out in your head beforehand. My main expenses (other than tuition and housing fees) consisted of food, nightlife, and travel. The coronavirus prohibited me from traveling as much as I wanted to (definitely don't wait to start planning your trips), but that was very important to me. If I had ingredients in my fridge for dinner, I would eat at home and then go with friends to hang out and maybe get something small. I was still able to have a great time, bond with new people, and not feel left out, while still saving expenses for plane tickets and Airbnbs in new cities!

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

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