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Institute for Field Education

About

IFE is a European not-for-profit institute founded in 1988 committed to trans-Atlantic understanding through exploration of European perspectives. IFE provides credit-bearing education abroad programming to US colleges and universities, as well as Gap Year programs for students who have graduated high school. IFE’s vision for international education has language at its core and uses experiential education in an international setting to build not only comparative knowledge but also students’ engagement, curiosity, and self-reliance.

Website
www.ife-edu.eu
Founded
1988

Reviews

Default avatar
Tia
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Best experience a student could have!!!

While it's hard to speak of IFE's other programs, studying in Strasbourg was one of the best decisions I've made.

IFE sets you up with a preparatory period, and a 12-week internship. Unlike other programs, I felt completely immersed in the culture. However, there is always support around, so you never need to feel alone. This program is especially great for those studying Politics, History, and Sociology, but it was also accommodating for those in different subjects.

I came into the program as someone who was book smart but had great difficulties in speaking French. Differently from other programs, IFE avoids traditional French classes and treats you like a student in France. After the courses and the internship period, I felt fully immersed, and my language skills developed better than they would have a different way. The combination of classes and the internship made me feel like I was able to fully immerse into the culture, while also having an IFE community to fall back on.

IFE provides students with cultural activities. In the first few weeks, we had tours with our incredible advisor, Tarek, where he showed us the gorgeous city. It helped us to break the ice with each other while getting better acquainted with the surroundings. Other tours included visiting the European Counsel, a guided castle tour, and a wine route.

Strasbourg is an amazing city to live in as a student. It's incredibly easy to navigate, and there was never need to take any forms of transportation besides going to neighboring cities, like Colmar. Despite its quaintness, it still has a city feel with its popping student life. It was also surprisingly inexpensive! I would highly recommend this city over the others, especially during Fall semester.

While challenging at times, I could not recommend this program enough to students who are interested in immersing and learning about the culture that they're in. If you are not studying abroad to learn, this might not be the program for you, but I truly believe that IFE is the best program on the market.

Pros
  • Immersive
  • Cultural
  • Accommodating
Default avatar
Lily
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

The best professional, educational and personal experience you could ask for

If I could have done IFE for every semester of university I would have! The experience challenged me intellectually, personally, and, of course, linguistically. But this challenge coupled with the incredible support of the IFE staff created a learning environment that allowed me to grow and achieve things I never thought I was capable of.

At the beginning of the semester, I was hesitant to participate in class because I didn't feel completely secure in my French language skills, and by the end of the semester not only did I overcome this fear, but I also delivered an entire walking tour in French to my peers and supervisors. The IFE team encouraged me to take on this challenge, and I'm so grateful that they did. It's an experience that I often look back on when I face public speaking in my academic and work life. I always think: if I can give an almost 2 hour-long tour in French, I can definitely nail this 30 minute PowerPoint in English!

IFE is not your traditional study abroad program, but that's what I loved the most about it. It's something completely unique that allows you to improve your second language, gain real-world experience, and learn more about yourself and your capabilities. If you want to embody the cliché of "abroad changed my life," then IFE is 100% the program for you!

Default avatar
Clare
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-Changing Experience

IFE was hands down the best decision I made while in college. The program challenges and cultivates your language skills while allowing you to pursue your own academic interests. This was also the first internship I held and being supported by the program while having my first, real professional work experience was a great environment to be in. IFE pushes you to be a better student and citizen of the world.

I participated in the Paris field study program in 2017 and would gladly do it again! Being able to experience not only a schooling opportunity in another country and language, but a research project and internship at the same time really forced us to be proactive and organized students. This program enabled me to become more confident in my French skills and certainly showed when I returned to my home university in the fall. IFE also changed my perspective on how I see the world and view myself as a citizen. It sounds cliche or trite, but this program truly changed my life and I am so thankful to the staff for creating such a wonderful, unique experience.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The program may seem intimidating, even to those of us who studied the language for many years before coming to IFE, but to get the most out of this semester, you must embrace your discomfort and know that you are being supported every step of the way. Recognize the uniqueness of the opportunity and fully immerse yourself in the culture and experience. Your life will be all the better for it.
Default avatar
Andrew
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A springboard, even for those in the sciences

IFE was a terrific experience. Its immersive French environment and organized cultural activities massively improved my language skills and encouraged me to push outside my comfort zone. Further, the coursework on French cultural and historical topics oriented me to France and Paris, which gave me a greater appreciation of where I was living. Finally, the internship experience was very related to medicine, my interest, and the connections I formed there led to a Fulbright research grant two years later at the same lab of my original internship. It's worth adding that 2 other students from that same IFE class of 24 received Fulbright FLTA awards.

IFE challenges students and promoted more personal, linguistic, and professional growth than I could have ever expected. The support network is very strong and the experience is very well tailored to each individual student. The experience I had with IFE and the future consequences of receiving a Fulbright research grant and further enlarging my international experience was invaluable to my professional goals in the medical field. You'd be hard-pressed to find an experience abroad that promotes such personal, linguistic, and professional growth in just one semester as IFE.

Default avatar
Jack
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible personal, academic, and professional transformation in Strasbourg, France

IFE is such a unique, rewarding study abroad program because it provides a holistic space and framework for you to grow as a student, as a young professional, and as a person.

As a student, the courses they give are incredibly interesting and valuable, and are all taught by great professors. By the end of the course period, we all felt very close to our professors, and this just enhanced the whole classroom experience.

As for the professional side, I can only say my experience was incredibly valuable and rewarding. The best part about IFE is their local connections and network, which means they can provide a tailored internship location to each student according to their background, interests, and studies. What I most enjoyed about this, too, is that each night when we ate dinner with each other, everyone could share what they were working on. It was all so varied and diverse, and these discussions added to the overall cultural experience.

Finally, I grew as a person with IFE. The experience of living independently in France, going to classes, and doing an internship in French taught me so many life lessons and things about myself that I can't list all of them here.

The support IFE gives with their local directors is unparalleled, and I am a different person than I was when I boarded my plane before the semester. If I could relive my semester with IFE again, I would do so immediately.

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