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.

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

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.

Impact

Sustainability

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.

Reviews

Default avatar
Bridget
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Internship Course

I had an overall fantastic experience with IES abroad Madrid with the exception of the Internship course. The actual internship that I had was fantastic, the company was great and I benefitted greatly- however the weekly class, or "seminar" as they called it, might have been one of the biggest wastes of my classmates and I's time. The professor was outright rude to his students, and the actual content on the class was not useful or novel. For example, one of the assignments we had to complete was to create and submit a CV and cover letter in spanish. This sounds like a great idea in theory, except that all the students had to submit a CV and cover letter in english and spanish to even be admitted into the internship program- essentially wasting all of our time. It was also ridiculous that we spent 8-15 hours a week at our internships yet that only accounted for 15% of the grade, while the one hour of class where nothing new/not common sense was taught accounted for the other 85%.I also want to highlight that the seminar was on friday mornings, while no other IES classes were held on Fridays. While I truly believe that IES should be able to schedule classes on fridays if they would like, I also feel that if that is the case, the class needs to be a worthwhile expenditure of time. By having a professor that treated the students as if they had zero common sense or critical thinking skills, many students felt as if their time was completely wasted and the friday morning class was not only inconvenient, but pointless. I heard similar feedback from my peers who also were enrolled in the internship course, so I know my sentiments were shared among others in the program. So while I did have a great experience, this one aspect put a damper on the overall rating I would give the program.

Cons
  • Internship Seminar
Default avatar
Kate
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience!

Studying abroad through IES Study London was the best decision I've ever made! I had never thought about studying abroad because I was such a homebody growing up. Being away for 4 months felt like something I could never do. IES Abroad does a great job of helping you along the way, but gives you enough room to grow and to do things on your own. I would 100% recommend this program to anyone. London is also an amazing destination with SO much to offer. If you are hesitant about studying abroad, just do it! The memories you make will last a lifetime!

Default avatar
Hannah
1/5
No, I don't recommend this program

Worst academic program

The academic program at IES Barcelona was awful. To this day I am still fighting a grade appeal. One of my professors didn’t respond to any emails throughout the entire semester and didn’t put in any grades until three weeks after the program had ended. She provided absolutely no feedback throughout the entire semester and provided no feedback or comments whatsoever on any of the assignments. I was upset and complained to IES multiple times during the year and after the program ended. They denied my grade appeal decision with absolutely no valid basis. Apparently IES thinks it’s acceptable to have unresponsive professors who don’t respond to emails, cancel classes frequently, provide no feedback whatsoever and put in grades three weeks after the program ended. Horrible academic program and horrible IES academic advisors. I have never witnessed such an inadequate professor and even more inadequate academic advisors in my life. I am never recommending IES to anyone and instead I am encouraging all younger students in my clubs/organizations on campus to not apply to IES.

What would you improve about this program?
Hire better professors and academic advisors. Start by making sure Professor Laura Puertolas puts in grades within a reasonable amount of time and answers her emails. Hire a better academic committee that reviews the grade appeals. Have the professors and advisors specifically Lee L’Hote take accountability. Not answering any emails throughout an entire semester, providing no feedback, cancelling classes frequently, not entering any grades until three weeks after the program has ended, and STILL not allowing a student a grade appeal after this professors behavior is unacceptable. The academic resource center is a joke and the academic advisors do not care about students concerns. In addition, the housing safety is also another issue with this program. I was never given a physical key to my apartment, just a mobile app to buzz into the apartment. When my phone was dead I had no way of getting into my apartment and sometimes waited outside, alone, late at night hoping someone would let me in. Completely unsafe.
Pros
  • Friends I made
  • Good location
  • Liked the city
Cons
  • Horrible professors and academic advisors
  • Unsafe housing
  • Grading
Default avatar
Paige
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Best semester of my life

IES Abroad Madrid was by far the best experience I've ever had. I have not a single complaint. I met people that I'm confident I'll be close with for the rest of my life, learned more in a handful of months about other countries that I haven't throughout all my years of education at home, visited sights I never knew existed, and just had an overall unbelievable time. I have no regrets and strongly encourage everyone who is able to take the leap on the opportunity this is. It will change you and your perspectives on life in the most rewarding ways possible

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Writing it all down! I brought a journal abroad that was hard to keep up with amongst my busy traveling and schooling, but I wish I took just a few minutes out of my day to write about my experiences.
Default avatar
Alice
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Nantes

This program was so much more amazing than I could have ever imagined! I didn’t have much of any information about Nantes but I knew I wanted to go here for a language immersion experience. Everything from the host families to the professors to the IES staff were amazing and so helpful at every step of my semester. I made some of my closest friends on this program and created an incredibly close relationship with my host family. I genuinely enjoyed being around everyone in my program and consider all of them my good friends. Just being able to immerse myself into a different culture truly allowed me to see and experience different ways of life. The French that I learned here is nothing compared to any class I’ve ever taken. It is so fun to see how actual French speakers talk on a daily basis, including all of the fun French slang. In all, I would not trade this experience for anything!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I can out of this program loving so many more foods than I came in liking. With living in a host family your are constantly trying new things and adjusting to this new family’s lifestyle. I ended up eating many classically French foods such as oysters and clams, as well as duck and escargot. Now I can confidently say that I love eating all of these things!
Pros
  • Language immersion
  • New cultural understanding
  • Making the best relationships

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

The Forum on Education Abroad Logo
Institute of International Education Logo
NAFSA Logo