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ISA (International Studies Abroad)

About

As a leader in international education for over thirty years, ISA is dedicated to providing university and college level students the opportunity to discover, learn, and enjoy a way of life other than their own. ISA offers a diverse portfolio of education abroad programs across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific. Our worldwide team provides high-quality experiences for university students at an affordable price. Each year thousands of students participate in ISA programs, including; Internships & Service-Learning, Veritas Christian Study Abroad, and EuroScholars undergraduate research.

Scholarships

ISA Scholarships

ISA Scholarships and Financial Aid

ISA is committed to increasing all students’ access to study abroad’s many benefits. We don't let financial hardships to get in the way of a life changing educational experience.

Value
$350 - $2,000

Reviews

Default avatar
Nicole
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IES Abroad Milan

For four months, I studied and lived in Milan, Italy. I arrived in January, and adapted to the Milanese way of life and embraced the culture entirely. I have entirely fell in love with Milan, grown significantly more comfortable in my Italian language skills, and met so many wonderful people. Most weeks, I traveled on the weekends to other European nations; during the week, I made sure to visit a new museum or place of cultural significance. I am constantly learning and am in awe of something new each day. As an Italian major, this experience has allowed me to finally be immersed in the subject that I have been studying for years. Although I have been fortunate to study Italian prior to my time as a student at Penn State University, I believe that being put in real-life situations has challenged me to develop my Italian skills significantly. At the doctor's office or the hair salon, I surprised myself finding the correct Italian words, when under pressure to describe an ailment or hair color shade. Being in an Italian-speaking environment has allowed me to utilize my textbook education towards real-world application.

Pros
  • So much culture
  • Nightlife is incredible
  • Beautiful and affordable
Default avatar
Berkeley
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Exceptional Academics and Excursions

Going abroad with ISA was one of the best decisions of my life, even though it tragically got cut short by COVID. I went abroad in Spring of 2020 and I had the most amazing 6 weeks of my life. I loved the university, Le Catho, where I studied French language and culture. My French skills grew exponentially in that short period of time. I chose to live in a homestay which was really special because I developed a beautiful relationship with my host mother. I also loved the excursions they took us on, such as Normandy and Mont Michel! The on-site staff were also amazing people, allowing for a seamless transition from arrival to daily life. Getting sent home from COVID was very jarring, and hard for both myself and ISA. They were able to do the best they could in the circumstances and I was appreciative of their support during those hard times.

Pros
  • Academics
  • Housing
  • Excursions
Default avatar
Samantha
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

International Studies Abroad (ISA) was a life saver! I was able to gain cultural perspective of a lifetime.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my study abroad program was canceled. Despite this, the Gilman Scholarship offered options to use our award for virtual learning opportunities. I decided to look for programs through International Studies Abroad (ISA), which had many virtual learning choices. I was excited to find a program that aligned with my major in San Jose, Costa Rica that focused on health psychology.

Through virtual learning, I engaged with a diverse team from different nations including my Costa Rican professor which broadened my general understanding of health psychology, social context, influence, health, and illness from a cultural perspective. Ultimately, what I valued most about this experience was learning the differences in cultures between two countries. As a future psychologist, it is important to recognize the differences in cultures since it plays in important roles in influencing human behavior. I believe that studying abroad is crucial for education because it allows you to gain a cultural perspective that you can apply to your professional journey, no matter your field. I especially appreciate that the ISA, despite COVID-19, managed to help me find virtual learning options because they recognize the importance of studying abroad, even though a computer screen. Although, I would prefer to study in Costa Rica in person, it was certainly a cultural exchange and a great opportunity to meet individual from different nations who are interested in the same issues I am.

Pros
  • ALTERNATIVE STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS
  • INTERNATIONALIZED COURSE CURRICULUMS
  • ACCESS FOR EVERYONE
Cons
  • Lack of Socialization.
  • Technology Issues
  • No Hands-On Learning
Default avatar
Ruth
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Summer to Remember

My month in Costa Rica was a trip to remember! I loved my homestay family and the friends I made with other students in my program. My Spanish skills improved by leaps and bounds. My Spanish class supported my learning in fun and engaging ways, and living with a host family gave my the opportunity to practice my skills in the real world. I loved the opportunity to travel around the country on the weekends. I got to spend time on both coasts and make a trip to Arenal Valcano. I can't wait for my next opportunity to travel to Costa Rica!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I ate fruits I'd never even heard of! Like pejibaye and maracuyá.
Default avatar
Ryan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience!

Seoul is such a unique city filled with so many interesting and different neighborhoods. I particularly enjoyed Hongdae and Itaewon because of the nightlife and food. Hongdae was full of fashion and young college students which I enjoyed because I lived in a quieter and more residential neighborhood. I loved Itaewon because it reminded me of home. The area is filled with ex-pats, particularly Americans because it is where the US military base is located. Because of this, Itaewon has tons of American restaurants and bars. My favorite restaurant there was called Route 66 and it had $1 pizza slices and trivia on Thursday nights. I really enjoyed being able to go someplace that was filled with other Americans whenever I was missing home. Overall, South Korea has something to offer for everyone such as bustling city life, surfing on the coast, and hiking into the clouds. I definitely recommend studying abroad here!

What was your funniest moment?
When my friends and I were traveling through a fish market in Busan, an eel jumped out of its tank and landed on the floor right in front of my friend which caused us to scream and the local fishermen to laugh!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Why did you choose this program?

Would you believe me if I said finding this program started with a deck of tarot cards, a scrying crystal, and a world map? Well, it did. That and a random desire to go to the closest place to middle earth that I could find. It just so happened, once I took the initial steps of interacting with my university's education abroad office, that ISA was the first third-party program that could make such an abroad experience a reality. With a desperate desire for a change, I jumped towards ISA.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

My home university helped point me towards ISA. All I knew at the time was that I wanted to go to New Zealand, so getting introduced to a third-party who could make it happen was quite a leg up. They also processed my requests for getting course credit. That way I wouldn't have to worry about my classes not being transferable to my home university.

The ISA program did a lot in answering my numerous questions and in settling any fears I had about whether or not I'd make the right deadlines, if the forms I filled out were correct, and whether or not I was a valid applicant for financial scholarships.

Don't get me wrong, I did plenty of paperwork and planning on my end. Especially in getting my VISA and plane tickets, selecting classes that would work well with my degree, and ensuring all forms were submitted on time (as well as payments). But ISA was an added comfort since they put up with my slew of pestering nervous questions.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Abroad, the classes will be graded differently or perhaps even more thoroughly than you're used to. The important part is for you to strike a balance. Do your best but don't get so wrapped up and nervous about doing things wrong that you don't explore. Messing up is 100% okay. Necessary, even. The point is to learn, enjoy, and grow as a person.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

You're talking to the queen of college hermits. My average day (in-between the epic things like horseback riding up Battle Hill or taste-testing at the Wellington Chocolate Factory) may seem mundane to many. But there are wonders in the small day-to-day things, too.

During a uni day I'd wake up early, usually before my roommates, and mix up a cup of instant coffee with breakfast. Then I'd walk from 'The Cube' (the+ housing complex where the international students are housed with the new uni students. I lived on the top floor, and you'd bet I could feel the wind sway the building) to Massey University. I'd complete my day's classes, with a good coffee break just before lunch, and once done I'd head back to the Cube to put away my stuff. From then on, it depended on how much homework I had to get done. I'd work a bit longer, cook, talk to my roommates, etc.

No matter what was going on, I would conclude my day with a walk down to the water. Sometimes, I'd take Cuba Street where I'd meet all sorts of characters and see people walking about. Other times I meandered. One way or another I'd make it to the ocean and get to look out at the white sailboats and the water that had so many emotions of color depending on the weather. For a girl who had spent most of her life in swampy, mosquito filled woods, it's certainly a sight to behold!

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 biggest fear was that my experience wouldn't bring change. That it wouldn't be all transforming and adventurous. I am pretty much the human manifestation of a tortoise. I can get shelled up and quiet. All at once, I wanted to be different.

I'm still the girl who loves sticking her nose in a book and taking long walks with no destination in sight. I'm still quiet and strange and often in my head. But I'm not JUST those things. By going abroad, I learned that it is important to love not just the environment. It is also important that you love you as a person in that environment. I'm still the tortoise. Going abroad just helped me appreciate my shell.

The thing about going abroad is that you may change locations, but you don't change who you are. By going to New Zealand, I got to see movie-worthy scenery, met people from all over the place, and experienced how capable I was in caring for myself. Most importantly, I learned to better love me.

What are some things that you regret while abroad?

  • I never tried whitebait or the NZ green lipped mussels.
  • I didn't go to the bottom of the South Island nor see glow worms.
  • Having to lug a power strip ~18,000 miles in total because the voltage is different in NZ, and trying to use a US power strip blew out the apartment's electricity twice before I realized what was going on.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Allison Ferris

Job Title
Resident Director
Allison has lived in New Zealand for five years and has worked for ISA for over two years. She has lived in three of seven continents and dreams of visiting Antarctica in her lifetime.
Allison Ferris

What is your favorite travel memory?

If I had to choose from volumes of memories, I would say that my favourite (so far) would be the cherry blossom season in Korea. Coming from East Coast Canada, our summers are relatively short and we are known for excessive amounts of snow. So in Korea, when I saw all these cherry blossom trees that were chock full of blooms and drifted down with the wind like snow falling softly to the ground, I felt at peace with the choices I'd made, nostalgic for home and mesmerized by a beauty I'd never seen before.

I remember roaming the streets or the park near my apartment just absorbing the fragrance from the blooms or taking photos.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Running ISA's Bridging Cultures Programme opened my eyes to the rich heritage of Māori, the first people in New Zealand. Over many BCPs, I have had the privilege to better understand te Reo-Māori language, waiata-songs and the importance of whānau-family which is not necessarily limited to your relatives.

I also understand that my country has a lot of room for growth in incorporating our First Nations people's heritage and culture, beyond a day of recognition or a few keywords and/or phrases. No country is perfect; however, New Zealand has arguably done a remarkable job in acknowledging failures of the past, while fulfilling promises made to the people.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

I'll never forget the bundle of energy that is Josh; an enigmatic combination of intelligence and excitement that made for a very exciting semester. Josh came to NZ and brought his love of airplanes with him, so what was the very first thing he did when arriving in the country? He managed to get himself the best seat on the plane...the pilot's seat..on the AirNZ long-haul flight to Auckland. Although it was largely for a photo-op, as soon as I heard the story, I knew then I had someone special in my cohort. Josh would later go on to correctly identify the aircraft model based on the sound of the engine while in air.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

Hands down, I'd jump at the chance for the ISA Galway summer programme - Irish studies at the National U of Ireland. Not only would this satisfy my dream to get to Europe, but it would also be an opportunity to learn about my family's history in Ireland. Way back when, longer than I'd care to admit, I researched our family genealogy, and I would love to find our family crest that I discovered so many years ago.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

I came to New Zealand as an international student; although older than the students that sign up with our company, I still wish that I had ISA to help navigate some tricky things that came up and just to answer questions as I had them. I always communicate with our students that we are available when they need us and sometimes that is days or even weeks into their semester. I am very proud of how my team and I are available to students and we always ensure students' questions are put up the chain until we get them an answer.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

A successful company delivers on the promises they make; ISA offers students a quality experience in countries across the globe and employs on-site staff to maximize that experience. In order to deliver on those promises, a successful company must be comprised of people who are actively committed to the job they signed up for. Here in the Pacific, the on-site staff have extensive experience in education and/or studied abroad themselves. Knowledge combined with passion equals a standard of care for our students from pre-departure to arrival and success at their site.