IPSL (International Partnership for Service)
100% Rating
(4 Reviews)

IPSL (International Partnership for Service)

NEWS: $500 Scholarship for SPRING 2017 HANOI Students
Any and all students who apply and are admitted to Hanoi Spring 2017 will automatically receive a $500 scholarship after arrival in-country to be used as they wish for program expenses. This is only for the Spring 2017 semester.

IPSL programs combine academic studies and community service and full cultural immersion to give students a deeper, more meaningful study abroad experience.

The mission of IPSL is to engage students, educators, and community members in the union of service and learning, so that all may become more civically engaged, interculturally literate, internationally aware, and responsive to the needs of others.

Most Recent Program Reviews

Default avatar
Kathleen
Female
23 years old
New York
Siena College

The experience of a life time

10/10

I can talk about my abroad experience for days, but I'll keep it short.

The good: My school was across from the beach. I learned how to scuba dive, play Ecuadorian card games with my family, speak Spanish, and took a life-changing class about medical anthropology as well as interned with the health clinic. I was able to experience and learn about the world around me as opposed to memorizing facts from a texbook. I would do it all over again if I could!

The bad: It's hot. I liked it, but some people had a hard time with it.

The ugly: None! You have to go!!!

Emily
Female
27 years old
Lexington, Kentucky
Transylvania University

Transformational Experience in Cusco!

10/10

Choosing to study abroad in Cusco, Peru with IPSL was the best decision I have ever made. Study abroad itself is such a transformational incredible experience. Cusco is really the perfect place to go. It's not overwhelming, but there is still so much to see and do. I really loved being surrounded by so much history. IPSL really made the experience worthwhile. Their small staff is so caring and well-versed in the many programs they offer.

Some detailed notes on all aspects of the semester-long experience:

Service Experience: My service placement was with el Santuario Animal de Ccochahausi. I loved it so much! Our choices were the animal sanctuary, a health clinic for disabled children, an orphanage for mentally challenged children (Hogar de las Estrellas), and an orphanage (Remar-an NGO). I absolutely loved the animal sanctuary, but if you really like working with children, the other organizations are amazing as well. For service placements, you may be the only person assigned to an organization or there may be a few of you that are. IPSL places you depending on your interests.

Classes: For our group, classes were all day (9:00-7:00) Monday & Tuesday, which was not bad at all. Then, we had a class or two on Wednesday and Thursday. We only had to purchase one textbook; it was for Spanish class and was 30 soles. The rest of our classes were based on lectures. Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola is a very small beautiful building (Spanish with Incan foundations) right in the center of the city. The classes there are all in English, so don't freak out if your Spanish isn't excelente. You are required to take a Spanish class, and there are 3 separate ones for different abilities. My Spanish was dreadful when I got there, but the basics (3 years in high school & 1 semester in college) got me by, and I improved tremendously! I took History of Incan Civilization, Contemporary Culture & Society of Peru, Inca Architecture, Institutions in Peruvian Society, Photography, and Spanish. You don't have to take that many-it all depends on what your university requires of course, but they are fairly easy and pretty fun. In Architecture and Photography, you take field trips! Your professors want you to experience the culture more than anything.

Free Time: You are with your program mates all the time, and they will become your close friends. You may also make friends with Peruvian students and Israeli tourists. There are great restaurants, nightclubs, and markets for shopping. There is a festival at least every other week in the main square, like Semana Santa, The Lord of the Earthquakes. You can ask your professors what all is going on each week, and they'll tell you!

Excursions: The excursions that were pre-planned were Machu Picchu and Incan sites close to the city. It’s easy to plan other trips to Lake Titicaca, Nazca, and the Amazon with the help of the school. My friends and I planned a trip to the jungle, which was extraordinary. You'll get your fill of hot weather you miss in Cusco, and it's just gorgeous. On several weekends, we took small trips to Incan sites nearby like Moray, Las Salineras, Ollantaytambo, Pisac (make sure you go when the market is happening-it's the best!), and Chinchero.

Money: You can use any ATM there just like you do here. They are sprinkled throughout the city and in grocery stores. There is a fee of 10 soles (~$3). To avoid this, I would withdraw 300 soles at a time. I never had any issues. Most places in Cusco only take cash, so you might not even want to carry your debit/credit card (which should be MasterCard or Visa). I brought $100 in cash and $300 on my debit card originally. And then you'll need extra for excursions, like going to the Amazon (~$300) and Incan sites (~20 soles each)!

Water: You can brush your teeth with the tap water, but you should not actually drink it. Your family will have a purification system, and you can buy bottled water at the store. Make sure you buy "sin gas” unless you’re a fan of bubbly water. The tap water is turned off at about 2am until about 6am, so make sure you do anything that requires water before then. I also kept a few spare 2 liters of water on hand for when that happened and I desperately needed to wash my face or hands.

Laundry: The norm is to own a washing machine but no dryer. You hang your clothes out to dry.

Phone: You'll want to buy a local cell phone. The staff at the school will help you with that. They're about $30 US, and you reload minutes on them at shops around town. You should also purchase HolaPeru calling cards at the local grocery store to be used on a landline to call out at your host family's house. It doesn't cost them anything. It works really well and is not expensive. And of course you can Skype/Google Chat where there is an Internet connection.

Passport: You should not carry your passport with you everywhere just in case. Make a few copies of it before you go and carry a copy with you everywhere. But take it with you when you go to Machu Picchu and the Amazon because they'll give you a cool stamp!

Transportation: If you live in or near Santa Monica (a suburb) like I did, it is about a 30-minute walk to the school. So my group usually took a taxi. You'll have other students living near you, so you all can meet every morning to ride together and split the cost of a taxi (which should never be more than 4 soles (~$1! Pretty sweet!)). You'll always want to take the certified cabs with the checkered flags on them. My first week, I had two really great, kind cab drivers, so I saved their names and numbers, and I called them all the time throughout my trip. I worked at the animal sanctuary, so we would take a van up into the mountains and then catch the bus going back. You might also want to take the city van/bus, and someone at the school can show you what to do.

Food: Peruvian food is delicious! Meals mostly consist of meat, rice, potatoes, and veggies. In the rare case that you don't love something your host family prepares for you, you can go to the grocery store or market and pick some things up for yourself. (They have Oreos!) There are a lot of great restaurants with a variety of foods like Mexican, Italian, and seafood. There are British and Irish pubs in the main square. Lunch is the big meal in most of South America, and dinner will be light.

Packing: The weather is cool most of the time. It rained a few times a week, so bring an umbrella. I recommend packing jeans, long sleeve shirts, jackets, flats, rain boots, hiking boots/running shoes. You won't need a heavy coat. Bring ibuprofen, Tylenol pm, Dayquil, and Pepto Bismol. And plenty of it! For other toiletries, don't over pack. The only items I had trouble finding were face wash, makeup, and feminine products. Adaptors are not necessary. South American and North American plugs are the same.

Please contact me if you have any questions! I really loved this experience and would love to share more.

How can this program be improved?

In 2011, there was a professor who didn't seem to grasp the concept of service-learning. His thoughts were very jumbled. But since then, IPSL has hired new professors and carefully trains them.

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Emma
Female
25 years old
Portland, Oregon
Portland State University

Truly Immersive, One-of-a-kind Experience! Unlike any other Study Abroad

10/10

My experience with IPSL in Thessaloniki was truly life changing. I know that is a bit of a cliche to say that but I can honestly say that the programming components of this experience took my study abroad experience beyond what I was expecting and what I had experienced on other study abroad programs. As this was my second time studying abroad I was very particular about what kind of program I was looking for. I wanted something that gave me a look into Greek life. I definitely found that with IPSL through their course work, homestays and my service on the farm. The service I completed on the dairy farm in Thessaloniki was actually the most powerful aspect of my time there. Working along Greek students and dairy professionals I gained a whole new sense of animal production, Greek lifestyle, European politics and more. I especially cherish my time where we took breaks in the dairy farm labor to have frappes (foamed, sugary, iced coffee) and talk about their lives and farming in the context of Greece. I learned more then I've ever learned in a agriculture course in those few months I was there. Nothing beats hand on experience in helping you better understand a culture, people, and way of life. I could not recommend this program enough to other students wishing to do something a little different and more meaningful for their study abroad experience!

How can this program be improved?

Since we were serving at a school where other Greek students go I would have liked to interact more with them in my course work and service. I actually did interact with them a lot in my service but not so much in my course work. I do think that the fact I was there over summer had something to do with that as many of the students were on holiday.

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Niki
Female
24 years old
St. Petersburg, FL
Eckerd College

Best Three Months of My Life!

10/10

IPSL Tanzania is the best option for students looking to truly immerse themselves in their host country. In addition to studying at a local school, students live with a host family and volunteer in a local non-profit. My days were spent teaching English in an orphanage, hanging out with my host siblings, and interacting with the other students. Although it terrified me at first that I would be the only student in the program (I was the first student to go to Arusha), it was honestly the best three months of my life. I made so many friends from Tanzania, Germany, the Netherlands, and beyond, and I returned to the United States with a whole new family. Students are also in a location to go on a safari; hike Mt. Kilimanjaro or Mt. Meru; explore nearby Moshi; and travel to Kenya, Zanzibar, and other neighboring areas. Definitely a must for anyone seeking adventure!

How can this program be improved?

Find ways to change the school schedule around to allow for more travel on weekends. It's a busy schedule, so finding enough time to truly explore can be difficult.

Program Listings

Greece

IPSL (International Partnership for Service)
Thessaloniki is a 2,300 year old city still playing a vital and active role as an integral international trading city for muc...

Tanzania

IPSL (International Partnership for Service)
Students will have the opportunity to get a rich, traditional Tanzanian experience by living in beautiful Arusha - a traditio...

Colombia

IPSL (International Partnership for Service)
Medellín is the capital of Colombia’s mountainous Antioquia province. Nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” for its temperat...

Ireland

IPSL (International Partnership for Service)
Living in Dublin, studying at Dublin City University/St. Patrick's University, working for community-based groups and agencie...

Tanzania

IPSL (International Partnership for Service)
The IPSL/CWU Research in Action Tanzania program offers the opportunity for students to study, serve, and conduct research in...

Vietnam

IPSL (International Partnership for Service)
IPSL/CWU Research in Action: Vietnam (Summer 2017) is a transformative, experiential-learning program that provides students...

France

IPSL (International Partnership for Service)
The IPSL program in Montpellier, France is ideal for anyone interested in French and Arabic language and culture, contemporar...

Italy

IPSL (International Partnership for Service)
The IPSL program in Siena, Italy is ideal for students interested in Italian language and culture, art history, European stud...

Ecuador

IPSL (International Partnership for Service)
Ecuador spans the equator on the northwest coast of South America. With its cultural diversity and wide range of environments...

Thailand

IPSL (International Partnership for Service)
Spend a fall or spring semester in Chiang Mai, studying Thai culture, language and society at Chiang Mai University and engag...

Thailand

IPSL (International Partnership for Service)
The countries of S.E. Asia are as different as they are similar and IPSL students have a unique opportunity to live, study an...

Vietnam

IPSL (International Partnership for Service)
As the capital of Vietnam for almost a thousand years, Hanoi is considered one of the main cultural centers of Vietnam, where...

Guatemala

IPSL (International Partnership for Service)
The IPSL and Origins of Food Guatemala One Health: Ecology. Culture. Justice. program is a 3 week, 3 semester credit January...