ISEP Study Abroad Programs



Founded in 1979 as a small non-profit organization, we have grown into one of the largest study abroad membership networks in the world.

As a trusted educational community, we are committed to helping students overcome the financial and academic barriers to study abroad. In partnership with our member institutions, we’re able to connect students to high-quality, academic programs at more than 300 universities in 56 countries.

Regardless of academic major, socio-economic status and geographic location, we believe no one should be held back from being able to study abroad. Since our foundation, we have sent over 54,000 students abroad.


United States



I am extremely satisfied with my decision to Study Abroad. My main objective was actually to practice my Spanish but I have done that and much more! As I am still improving my Spanish and learning from my mistakes from last semester, I am able to correct those mistakes in the semester to come. In my opinion, many participate in Study Abroad for a few weeks or one semester for various reasons but in order to really experience a true culture you have to allow time to reflect on past mistakes and more time to improve. That is why I decided to take a year away from my daily routine in the US to explore and learn about the Spanish culture and language.

So far this has been the best decision I have made in my entire life. I am witnessing growth in my Spanish, meeting wonderful people from all around the world, and I too, have the opportunity to travel throughout Europe and Africa as it is relatively close.

ISEP Direct was the way!

It allowed me the redemption to prove I wanted to Study Abroad as I needed to improve my Spanish before taking my actual major courses all in a foreign language. This past semester I was taking all classes in Spanish but with other internationals as a way to enhance our language comprehension. Now that the fall semester has ended we are now prepared to tackle the real semester with the locals.

Like I said, Study Abroad is the way to go! But also, consider your objective when deciding the length of your travel. Don't be scared to take a year away from your daily routine. You'd be able to get back in routine but may never have this opportunity to Study Abroad with ISEP again.

Yes, I recommend
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ISEP: I loved, loved ISEP. I specifically chose a program that would be very hands-off, and allow me to be as immersed as possible. I didn't want classes at a program center with other Americans, I didn't want tons of travel rules, I just wanted to live in Mexico. ISEP absolutely delivered on this. If you don't need someone to hold your hand through everything, go with ISEP.

Puebla: A manageable large city. Tons of students. Very safe. Amazing food. Easy to travel anywhere in central and southern Mexico. Quite religiously conservative though.

UPAEP: Very mixed feelings. In case the ISEP site doesn't make this clear, UPAEP is a deeply Catholic university. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but I was caught very off-guard by just how devout the school culture was when I arrived, and several other students didn't even know that it was a Catholic school. I took classes in literature, culture, and education and didn't find them particularly challenging for better and worse. The professor for the Spanish-taught international student courses (Guillermo) was super nice. The dorms are strictly segregated by gender. I heard rumors of UPAEP students being randomly pregnancy- and drug-tested to determine scholarship eligibility, a breach of privacy that wasn't forced on the wealthy majority. It was generally very culturally conservative, which was not at all what I was hoping for. Just know what you're getting into since there's nothing on the ISEP site to indicate this. The orientation program is decent. Some Asuntos Internacionales employees were great...others were decidedly not.

I highly recommend doing the service learning course- that was the most meaningful part of my experience in Puebla.

How can this program be improved?
More info about the school culture would have been very much appreciated. I know it's hard to quantify, but I think Guanajuato or Guadalajara would have been much better fits for me culturally.
Yes, I recommend
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Through this program I was able to pay regular tuition and fees at my university while studying at JUFE. I took only language classes and managed to take an online course at my home university. The language classes are generally 2 hours a day for 2 or up to 3 times a week. I learned a lot of Mandarin during this time. Some of the teachers were real helpful. I got close to one teacher who invited me and my friends to go hiking in nearby mountains, drink tea at traditional tea houses, and make dumplings. I had a great time with my teacher and classmates during these times. Also, JUFE offers students the opportunity to apply for a Pair-Exchange family, which is like a host family, but we only meet whenever we have time after class. This family was real nice and offered to take me shopping at local markets.

The staff at JUFE is excellent and very helpful. In the beginning students are paired up with local student volunteers. These volunteers were really helpful in getting us settled in or helping us purchase flights to travel in China and back home.

The dorms were great! International students live in a separate building from the local students, which is basically a hotel at the university. These are closed off to the public because they require a special key to get on these floors so you know you are only sharing that space with other international students. Each student gets their own bathroom and spacious bedroom.

If you wish to volunteer, ask the JUFE staff about Nanchang Cares for Kids. They are an organization of expats who work with Ford who do several community service projects throughout the year.

Although I did not enjoy the humid weather in the summer months, Nanchang was a great city to see. There is so much construction in the new downtown areas, I can't wait to see how much it will change in a matter of a few years.

How can this program be improved?
More class trips within the province. There were many places that were nearby that I wish I could see, but I did not know my way around.
Yes, I recommend
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My study abroad experience in Costa Rica, at the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, was life-changing. From the first week I arrived, attending orientation with ISEP, I felt loved, taken care of and welcomed by all. I am extremely grateful for the support my study abroad program showered me and my classmates with. Day to day my ISEP coordinator, Ivelina would tell us about current and upcoming opportunities for us to immerse ourselves in. She was an incredible aid and support system. I got sick during my 5 months studying abroad and ended up being hospitalized for 5 days. Throughout the entire hosptalization, my ISEP coordinator played the role as my mother and stayed with me the entire time, making sure I felt safe and comfortable.

How can this program be improved?
I would suggest to integrate more planned activities between the ISEP students and the locals.
Yes, I recommend
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My day to day experiences included going to school for about 4-5 hours a day, which was new to me since college in the US is only 2-3 hours a day and not usually back to back. This was a challenge to be able to sit in a classroom for that long and also translating what the professors were saying. A new experience for me was also taking public transportation to school, which included riding the bus. I don't have public transportation where I'm from so learning the routes and which buses I needed took awhile to catch on.

How can this program be improved?
I really enjoyed everything about this program, except the study abroad office that was at my school. The "advisors" if you were to call them that, were awful and very unhelpful. They treated us like we were children and didn't understand a single thing they said, which in some cases might be true, but they are there to help guide us through an unknown system and help us better our spanish, not judge it.
Yes, I recommend


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