IES Abroad

IES Abroad


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.



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.

$500 - $5,000


Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Overall experience was good. My homestay mom was awesome, and Paris is such a cool city. As for academics, there were lots of marketing classes as well as other assorted business and history classes. Take an art history class if you can - mine was my favorite. Grading was a joke in general, hard to get lower than a B. The program is small; when I attended, it was just over 150 students. The social scene cliqued up really fast, but that's usually good for making lifelong friends. Which I did make.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
There's a metro line called the 6. In the spring, around midday, get on near the Sèvres-Lecourbe station (which relatively close to the IES station) and head towards Etoile (the Arc de Triomphe). Be sure to have a window seat.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

My study abroad experience with IES Barcelona will be a memory I will forever cherish! I am happy that I was able to explore a vibrant city rich with culture, amazing sites, delicious food, and warm hospitality. I was pleased with the classes I took with my program because I found them all relevant and engaging. By the end of the program, my Spanish speaking skills had improved drastically, and I have my Spanish class and my host family to thank for that. I feel very happy to have been matched with an incredibly welcoming host family. My host parents shared with me delicious food, recommendations, important information and helpful advice. I was very comfortable going to them for help if I ever needed anything and although my study abroad experience is over, I still keep in contact with them. Overall, I was very pleased with how my study abroad experience turned out and would definitely recommend it.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice is to be open to making new connections and navigating the culture and city. Reflect on your experience, challenge yourself to try something new and grow from the little mishaps and mistakes that may happen along the way.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience at IES Barcelona was nothing short of amazing. I tremendously improved my Spanish and took courses I always wanted to explore. IES made it easy for students like myself to explore the city. This immersive program has taught me a lot about myself and I am forever grateful for having had the opportunity to study in such a dynamic city. It is worth mentioning that transportation in Barcelona is AWESOME! The bus runs 24/7 and generally very safe. The only thing to be mindful of is pickpockets but for what it's worth, I was extremely careful and managed to get by without any issues.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take the time to interact with locals! People are so friendly and you'll learn so much more about the city!
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying abroad in Santiago, Chile was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I feel extremely privileged and humbled to have been able to travel and live in another country for a full semester. I lived with an incredible host family that gave me cultural lessons every night during "Once" and reminded me of those universal family values that unite each and every one of us as human beings. I was able to explore the beautiful array of geographical wonders that Chile has to offer as well. I went sandboarding in the Atacama Desert, hiking in Patagonia, and surfing in Pichilemu. Those these sights were truly breathtaking, the thing I enjoyed most were the small moments with the various people I met in Chile. I met an amazing friend who worked in the IES building where I had my classes. Though I was still working on my Spanish, she was patient and so welcoming. We talked about our families, our pets, and our hopes and dreams. I also met my host-family's extended family who took me in like I was one of their own. We sat around all Saturday afternoon playing cards as I listened to old family memories and moments they had all shared together. Though I was in a country far from home, there was not much of a difference between the conversations at my dinner table in New Jersey and theirs that day in Val Paraíso. If anyone has the opportunity to study abroad in Santiago, I would 100% recommend it. I was challenged in the best way possible in daring to make relationships with different people from all walks of life and it made me realize how communication can really open up a whole new world.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice would be to just be open to all the new places and people you encounter. No one's experience is going to be exactly the same and that's what's so beautiful about living and just plain being in another country. Don't compare your experience to someone else's because every moment, good or bad, is so valuable. Take pictures of all the beautiful things but don't forget to be present with the people around you. Lastly, relax as best you can and take it all in. It's a beautiful place filled with a lot of beautiful people!
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Being on this program has really changed me as a person. As a result of studying abroad in this dream location, I was able to experience many different types of environments in one location! From the mountains, to the beaches, to the many plazas and cultural festivities, I was happily immersed in my host city. Barcelona is such an amazing location to study abroad and I would highly recommend doing it with IES Abroad. They made sure from pre-departure to the last day in my host city, that all students were informed and prepared for anything. The staff were extremely helpful, welcoming and always open to sharing their favorite recommendable local gems for students to visit! IES helped students get on their feet and understand how and what types of things they could get themselves immersed in. Whether that was introducing us to tapas, encouraging us to take free dance classes, planning brunch at a beach restaurant, planning hikes, and taking us on trips to other cities outside of Catalonia such as Madrid, IES ensured that we were able to take advantage of such offered opportunities all while preparing us to create our own memories with our own desires to visit other destinations.

For housing, I lived in a homestay with a very welcoming woman and other study abroad students from my program. Each night we all had dinner and talked about the upcoming weekend and things happening in the city, all in Spanish! She was always there to help us with any concerns we had regarding where to go, what to see, and how to get there in the best way. She encouraged us to hang out with friends and explore the city and its amazing culture!

For classes, we had a good variety of options. We also had the option to take courses at a local university, which I took advantage of. I took some of my classes at and extension of UAB. By doing this, I was able to be in another neighborhood for classes, take the metro to class and really understand how to get in and around Barcelona. Unfortunately, my classes did not have local university students but it was still a valuable chance to get outside of the program classes.


Displaying 1 - 9 of 130

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