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

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


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Yes, I recommend this program

Semester Full of Memories

I am so glad I studied abroad through IES London. I had the opportunity to take classes both at the IES Center and at the City University of London, where I had a course with local students. My classes were just the right amount challenging while still being engaging and leaving time for exploring the city and having fun! I got to live in a flat with other study abroad students in a great location right next to a tube stop and multiple grocery stores and coffee shops. The public transportation in London allows you the freedom to explore the city without worrying about how to get back home, and the endless things to do mean that you will never be bored!

  • Great support from IES
  • Lots to do
  • Great classes with engaged professors
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Yes, I recommend this program

Great Time in Italy w/ lots of Growth

I took up an internship with IES Abroad in Rome to study SEO with WordLift. I also took the time to improve my Italian skills and do a little bit of travelling on the side. I got along well with staff & the Italian student companions that were there.

My only real issue was not with the program itself, but the other participants. I was the only person among my group (and maybe at all) that really went out of the way to focus on learning Italian. Other students were outright hostile if I spoke it.

  • Great support, teaching staff, & italian students
  • Tutition much lower as it's just an internship
  • Lessons, housing, etc. were all great
  • Internships are unpaid, so save up before coming
  • Students actively opposed trying to learn Italian (despite being in Italy)
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Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic Experience - 100% Recommend!

I loved my time in Granada with IES Abroad! The IES programme staff were so welcoming and supportive in all aspects. I feel like they really understood the challenges that can come with study abroad and were well-equipped to address them and help us deal with them. At one point I contracted COVID-19 and struggled a little with my mental health; IES immediately organised for me to visit a mental health specialist and continually checked up on me to ensure I was okay. I felt safe and happy with them!

  • Amazing physical, emotional, and intellectual support
  • Good quality education
  • Nice way to make friends from different backgrounds
  • Granada is a great historic city catered towards students but it's pretty small
  • I'd have liked more opportunities to interact with people from all over the world
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Yes, I recommend this program

Thankful for this program!

I studied through IES Abroad in Madrid, and I had a wonderful time, learning a lot along the way! As it was a short term, I took two classes - both of which gave me extra insight on the city and were taught by fantastic profes. In addition to mini "field trips" to notable museums or locations in the city via my history class, the larger program offered day trip excursions and events in the community, such as attending a Flamenco show, learning how to make paella and torte de Santiago, and regular meetings with Spanish students for conversation and fun. I experienced a great balance of coursework/guided activities and time to explore Madrid on my own. I got to tour castles, swim in the mountains, and learn a Spanish card game. I also got to shop local markets, see outdoor concerts, and even play pickup soccer in the park. By the end of the program, I felt that I knew Madrid's city center and a few outskirts extremely well. I'm grateful for my time studying abroad...and I look forward to an opportunity to go back!

  • Time to explore the vibrant, active city
  • Guided tours and day trips
  • Great public transport and other services
  • Some administrative issues difficult to navigate
  • Originally unexpected heatwave
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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing summer!!

I loved my study abroad experience with IES! I studied in Arles, France, summer 2022. IES made studying abroad such an easy process with clear instructions and tons of information provided on their website. My times in Arles was dream-like. Just during my daily walk to class, I’d pass my favorite coffeeshop and bakery, ancient Roman buildings, and so many cute cats. I also really enjoyed our schedule excursions through the program: we visited a lavender field; Gordes, France; an old Roman aqueduct as well as the foundation for an entire Roman city; and so, so much more. It was a truly amazing summer.

  • amazing Roman architecture
  • very walkable city
  • fun shopping options
  • the heat


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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.

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