IES Abroad

IES Abroad

Why choose 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

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.

$500 - $5,000

Diversity & Inclusion

LGBTQIA+ Support

Today, and every day, we celebrate who you are and who you will become. We take pride in simply getting to know you, and look forward to adventuring through this incredible world with you.

Studying abroad as part of the LGBTQIA+ community can present unique opportunities and challenges in exploring a new culture, so we have compiled resources on sexual orientation, gender identity, and allyship to help prepare you and support you along the way.

Neurodivergent Support

Going abroad, whether this is your first time or your umpteenth, can be a trip both literally and figuratively. Seeing something new or being someplace unfamiliar has its own challenges, especially when it comes to mental health and physical accessibility. With IES Abroad, you won't handle these concerns on your own.

We have not only compiled resources on mental health, physical health, and self-care to help prepare you and support you along the way, but we also have a dedicated Student Affairs staff that are available for you to contact from the United States and once in your host country.

Accessibility Support

Going abroad, whether this is your first time or your umpteenth, can be a trip both literally and figuratively. Seeing something new or being someplace unfamiliar has its own challenges, especially when it comes to mental health and physical accessibility. With IES Abroad, you won't handle these concerns on your own.

We have not only compiled resources on mental health, physical health, and self-care to help prepare you and support you along the way, but we also have a dedicated Student Affairs staff that are available for you to contact from the United States and once in your host country.



As part of IES Abroad's Global Good Commitment, IES Abroad employs sustainability measures in the following ways:
-Moving toward more sustainable Headquarters and Centers abroad
-Producing printed materials mindfully
-Hosting events and conferences in LEED-certified buildings
-Purchasing carbon offsets for staff air travel
-The formation of the IES Abroad Sustainability Team - a dedicated group of volunteers responsible for implementing sustainable practices across our organization. The team comprises of members across our Centers, departments, teams. It is truly a global effort, and we are better for it.


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Yes, I recommend this program

Best summer ever

I had an amazing time interning abroad through IES! I studied and worked as a healthcare management consulting summer intern in Milan, Italy during the summer of 2023. It was truly one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only did I gain an incredible amount of work experience, I also got to travel the world and meet some really incredible people. I am forever grateful for the memories, knowledge, and insight I gained during my time abroad. For future participants - be sure to mentally prepare for all of the challenges that come with studying abroad, but also get excited for how much you will grow from them!!

  • Internship quality
  • Amazing housing
  • Helpful staff
  • Busy city
  • Homesickness
  • Language Barriers
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Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful Study Abroad Experience

I had an incredible experience with the IES Freiburg program! The academics were strong, with passionate professors and a well-rounded curriculum that deepened my understanding of Freiburg and taught in German. I was able to also take a course at the local university. Cultural immersion was a highlight, from city tours to staying in German student housing. The support system was excellent, and I formed lifelong friendships. The program's flexibility allowed me to explore Europe. Overall, it was a life-changing adventure that enriched my education and worldview. Highly recommended!

  • Small program
  • Beautiful city
  • German-language focus
  • Far from airport
  • Medical care limitations
  • Typically one semester
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Yes, I recommend this program

IES Abroad Cape Town - Health, Culture, and Development

My time in Cape Town, South Africa through IES Abroad was by far one of the best experiences of my life. The structured program and support system that the IES Center and staff provided students allowed them to feel comfort and support in a new home away from home. The culture of South Africa was engaging and welcoming to each of us. The coursework was interesting and very applicable to daily experiences and course related trips. I definitely recommend to study abroad in South Africa through IES!

  • Welcoming and Friendly People
  • Financially Accessible
  • Beautiful Nature
  • A lot of petty theft
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Yes, I recommend this program

Life-Changing Experience

Studying abroad in Nantes with IES Abroad was nothing short of a life-altering adventure, an experience that has profoundly impacted my personal and academic growth. From the moment I set foot in this picturesque French city until my bittersweet farewell, IES Abroad orchestrated a study abroad program that was both intellectually stimulating and culturally enriching.

Academic Excellence (5/5):
The academic facet of the program in Nantes exceeded my expectations. The curriculum seamlessly interwove the French language and culture, enabling us to not only master the language but also deeply understand the local way of life. The professors demonstrated an unwavering commitment to our success, ensuring that we were intellectually challenged and engaged throughout our studies.

Cultural Immersion (5/5):
Residing with a host family was undoubtedly one of the program's highlights. It granted me a unique opportunity to interact with Nantais locals, refine my French language skills, and gain profound insights into the fabric of French culture. IES Abroad thoughtfully organized cultural excursions and activities that allowed us to explore Nantes and the surrounding regions, providing us with an authentic taste of France's rich heritage.

Supportive Staff (5/5):
The dedicated IES Abroad staff in Nantes were our pillars of support throughout our journey. From guiding us through administrative processes to offering invaluable advice on adjusting to a new environment, they demonstrated an unwavering commitment to our well-being. Their warm and caring approach fostered a sense of belonging within our diverse student community.

Safe and Inclusive Environment (5/5):
Nantes proved to be a safe and welcoming city, known for its amicable residents and secure surroundings. IES Abroad took additional measures to enhance our security, ensuring that we could focus on our studies and exploration without concerns. The program's dedication to inclusivity created an environment where diversity was celebrated, and all students felt valued and respected.

Life-altering Experience (5/5):
My time in Nantes with IES Abroad has indelibly changed me. Beyond linguistic proficiency, I gained a global perspective, forged lasting bonds with locals and fellow students, and underwent significant personal growth. The memories and lessons from this transformative journey will forever shape my life.

In conclusion, the opportunity to study abroad in Nantes with IES Abroad was truly a dream come true. I wholeheartedly recommend this program to anyone seeking to discover France, deepen their language skills, and embark on a voyage of self-discovery. It is an experience that not only enriches your academic and cultural horizons but also leaves an indelible mark on your personal growth. My heartfelt gratitude to IES Abroad for crafting an unforgettable study abroad experience in Nantes!

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Yes, I recommend this program

A fantastic and worthwhile experience

The European Union semester that IES Abroad offers is very much worth the time, money, and energy spent to get there. The IES staff was extremely helpful in making us feel welcome, heard, and understood as students and as people in a wholly new area. The courses offered were enlightening and brought such an amazing perspective on the European Union and European politics/history in general. It has enabled us to think critically of what's in front of us, which is wholly important when you are speaking with a staff member within the European Union's institutions. Most of all, the trips that IES Abroad offered were simply amazing. It has offered us a healthy mixture of studying and actually immersing yourself in the new environment you're in. I have no regrets choosing IES Abroad for my study abroad experience.

  • Field trips - IES Abroad's European Union Semester offers around 22 days worth of trips as a group
  • Wellness Walks - The staff in Freiburg really do make sure to include you and make the program feel like a community
  • The classes - The professors were very informative and personable
  • At first, the work was somewhat difficult in terms of magnitude. This was quickly resolved when we shared our concerns with the Academic Dean, however
  • Field Trip activities - Sometimes you are put into something you don't originally want to do, yet everything planned serves a purpose!


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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

The Forum on Education Abroad Logo
Institute of International Education Logo