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.


33 W. Monroe St.
Suite 2300
Chicago, IL 60603-5405
United States


IES Abroad Scholarships
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


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Yes, I recommend this program

My time in Barcelona was very fun and a great learning experience. I spent a lot more time in class and doing homework than I had expected, however, I loved the content that I was learning about in the courses that I was taking. The classes that IES offered were very diverse and interesting and no matter what your major is, there is a class for you. My favorite class was "Science and Society" and "Mediterranean Environment," both taught by the same, amazing professor. These classes helped me understand more about Spain, Europe, specifically the Mediterranean.
I was able to spend a lot of time relaxing in my room and exploring the city. IES allows you to have as much downtime as you want but they also offer a lot of programs that you can get involved with so the entire experience is really what you make of it. The experiences that I had with IES were very memorable and personal. I felt like most of the staff knew who I was and the things that I was involved in. Everyone has the same opportunities through IES and you will get the most out of your experience if you partake in these opportunities or make some of your own. I would go back and do it all over again if I could.

What would you improve about this program?
Pre-departure information about what to expect while abroad. Housing situation expectations.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I had a great time in Madrid with IES Abroad. This program was perfect for me because my focus of my abroad semester was immersing myself in a different language and a new culture. IES paired me with an amazing host family, who I am still in contact with. Additionally, they did a great job making sure that I continued studying hard but also exploring the city and country that I was in. Additionally, the group of students studying under IES was big enough that I felt as though I could meet many people like me, but not too large to the point where I didn't know everyone.

What would you improve about this program?
At some times, the program felt a little unorganized. Many pieces of information were relayed to the students closer to the date that I'm typically comfortable with, but it was overall fine.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Berlin is a fantastic city, and with the proper courage and support, most anyone can have an amazing experience there. IES Berlin did a great job providing this support and helping us students step out of their comfort zone to have the best experience that we could. IES made sure we had the basic familiarity with Berlin and German culture so that we could safely and productively explore. Regular trips and activities around the city and the country encouraging me to see important parts of the culture and history that I might have missed out on otherwise. (Mostly) excellent professors pushed our German language abilities so that I was able to interact more effectively with our surroundings and get the most value out of our time. The classes encouraged me to engage with Berlin, taking me on walking tours and making me interview Berliners. I had plenty of time to explore the things that attracted me once class got out too. Tinder, Facebook, and the like are alive and well for getting to know locals and finding out about events. The student assistants employed by the program were incredibly friendly and had tons of great recommendations and advice as we went out to find our own favorite bars, sports teams, and activities. Whenever I was in Berlin, I felt supported. Staff members were accessible around the clock, and we regularly received emails with notifications about events that might interest students feeling lost or isolated. The program also fostered a friendly environment around the center, so even if we were having trouble, there was someplace comfortable to go. I had to seek out the things I wanted to get out of my time abroad, but IES was there to help and support me the entire way.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish IES had been more clear about what a homestay meant - I was not living with a family, I essentially had an elderly roommate who kept mostly to himself and wanted someone to pay rent.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I studied abroad this Fall with IES Abroad in Granada and loved every second of it! I was nervous to study abroad and the IES staff was very supportive and helped ease the stress of being in a new country. We spent a lot of time with the staff and I found they genuinely cared about getting to know each one of us. Granada was an amazing location as well. Not too big of a city, or too small and was super affordable and there was a ton to do as well. The classes I took were unique and engaging and I learned a ton while also improving my Spanish. I would 100% recommend studying abroad in Spain with IES and I hope you have as wonderful of an experience as I did abroad! As basic as it sounds, it will change your life!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Migas! Migas is a traditional Andalusian dish that Spaniards eat when it rains. It is made of toasted bread crumbs from day-old bread with some type of dried sausage and topped with fresh melon. Kinda an odd mix of textures and flavors but was fun to try!
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Yes, I recommend this program

When I say that this program is the best thing that has ever happened to me, that would be an understatement. Paris, first of all, is the most beautiful city in the world. With such a depth of culture at your very fingertips and an incredible variety of food, how can you not fall in love? The program I participated in was so much fun and I was very lucky to be able to meet many other students from across the United States. I still talk to my abroad friends every day! I stayed with a host family which really helped my language skills and I am almost fluent in French now. I was so lucky to be able to have this experience and I highly recommend it!

What would you improve about this program?
I would add more mental health resources for students.


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Alumni Interviews

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

Emily Manasian

Emily is currently a Junior at Miami University of Ohio studying Psychology and Neuroscience. She studied abroad in Auckland, New Zealand and hopes to keep exploring by doing graduate school abroad!

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

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