IES Abroad

Program Reviews

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Haley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I have been speaking Spanish for a long time and really wanted to take my skills to the next level. Not only did this program help me improve my Spanish abilities by both classes and immersive experiences, but it also provided me and the other students with awesome opportunities every week through pre-planned activities and trips. The academic aspect was challenging, but not too challenging and I still had plenty of time to travel, try new things, and hang out with the several new friends I made. The staff were also super helpful answering any questions any of us had. I loved this program!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
My connecting flight to Portugal was late and I missed my final flight to Madrid, and therefore the IES Abroad bus to Salamanca. Another student and I were running on less than 2 hours of sleep with no cell service when we had to navigate the Madrid airport in order to find where to purchase bus tickets to Salamanca--and then we had to find where the busses would pick us up. When we finally arrived in Salamanca, we had to catch a taxi to finally make it to our homestays. I never imagined I'd be navigating my own way from Madrid to Salamanca, but the fact that I did it (and almost alone) gave me so much confidence in myself and my ability to hold my own in a foreign country. It's not the start to my study abroad experience that I would've wanted, but it made me more confident and ready for whatever lie ahead.
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Genevieve
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Since I was younger, I have always wanted to study abroad in France (although originally I was thinking Paris). When I found out that my undergrad business program held a program on the French Riviera, there was no way I could go anywhere else. When I got there, I was greeted by the wonderful staff and they made me feel so comfortable and supported. Luckily, even though I signed up for random roommates, I became best friends with the people that I lived with and we had an amazing apartment that was only a 10 minute walk from the beach!

The program's planned trips were so much fun as we were able to get to know people from all over the US, and we ended up getting so close that we travelled separately from the program as well! Nice is such a central location that it is so easy to get anywhere by train or plane. Even with a somewhat low budget, I was still able to do everything I wanted to while being there!

My advice is study in Nice and take every opportunity to participate in the community while you are there. I promise you won't regret it!

What was your funniest moment?
While I was travelling with my friends to Milan and after a night of fun, we decided to get late night pizza. As my friend was walking out of the pizza shop, she tripped, fell, and dropped the entire pizza. We couldn't stop laughing for weeks!
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Jacqueline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I studied abroad in Spring 2020 and so my experience was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic but I wouldn't change it for the world. I was able to take classes and intern abroad and I still had the time to explore Sydney. I loved being directly enrolled in the University of Sydney because I felt like any other student on campus. My classes were with students from all around the world and the campus was beautiful, some relate it to Hogwarts! I was able to take interesting classes that got me more involved with Australia and learn more about their culture. One of the classes that I took as an elective had field trips to sports games! I also got to gain real-world experience at my internship on campus at the Sydney University of Fitness. Although I did not think that my classes would turn online in a few weeks, I am so grateful for my experience in Sydney. I miss the sunny weather, the city life and 'my mates!'

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
On a trip that we took with my program, we were able to go to this national park and see these beautiful views. At the end of the day our tour guide was grilling up some food and there was a meat that didn't look familiar. It was kangaroo... days before I saw my first kangaroo and now I was eating one.
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Caroline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was inspired to study abroad because of my love for the country of Australia! I have always loved the idea of moving away and experiencing a new culture and lifestyle! In high school, I was lucky enough to have the experience of being an exchange student there and had been dying to return since then. When it came time to begin the process, I looked for programs that offered experiences to Sydney and felt that IES University of Sydney offered the best experience for me!
My favorite part of Sydney was truly how big it was. There was so much to explore and learn about Sydney and the public transportation system in the city easily allowed my friends and I to experience all of it! I also was so lucky to have so many students from my home university in this program with me! While it was sad to be sent home so early due to COVID 19, I am so grateful to be able to see so many of those people frequently back here and further our experience!
The program director, Kate, was phenomenal and so helpful, especially with all of the COVID protocols and preparations!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I definitely recommend all of nature aspects of Sydney! There are loads of parks and nature walks that can definitely be overlooked in such a large city but they were amazing!
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Julia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I absolutely loved my time in the IES Study London program. We had a large group of students from so many different universities in the United States so we were able to make friends from all over the country with all different majors, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, passions, etc. If that scares you, the class sizes were nice and small where you could establish real relationships with fellow students and your professors. I absolutely loved the classes I took and the professors were truly so good at using your time in London to your advantage!

On top of that amazing aspect, we were in the hub of London and I personally stayed right up the street from Kings Cross Station at Chapter Kings Cross which I would recommend 10 out of 10 times to anyone doing this program. You could choose to take a quick tube ride to the IES Center (where classes were) or it was also an easy walk through some cute areas of London. I personally chose the walking route because that was more reliable in terms of time, plus I got to see the most adorable little streets. Chapter was such a great choice because so many other students in the program lived there (there are two other living options) and I loved seeing familiar faces in the lobby, elevators, halls and kitchens.

I have made some amazing friends through this program and I only got two months and had to leave somewhat abruptly due to COVID-19 shutting down the world. I wouldn't trade this experience or program for the world and mean it in the most sincere way that you should do IES Study London. From the super helpful staff to the amazing classes and professors and everything thing in between, DO IT and DO IT NOW!

What was your funniest moment?
I did IES Study London the year of the pandemic so that was fun! I would not regret a single moment of my time abroad, but man do I wish I had more time with this program because it was THAT life changing.
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Jessica
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My trip to Granada through IES Abroad was the time of my life. Although it was cut short, I am so blessed to have had the experiences I did. The staff did wonderful working students through the cultural immersion and showing us the true story of Granada. Almost all of my classes took days on the town, visiting different locations and discussing their significance. The trip also tied the material into the visits we took, going to Sevilla to study the Cathedral and Christianity in Spain, Morocco to study the Arabic culture and its influence on Granada, and Córdoba to study the mosque. Everyone wants you to have an incredible time - and will work to make sure you do!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Experience all of Granada! It has many layers and takes time to explore. Go on the planned events offered by IES!
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Julia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I always knew I wanted to study abroad and IES made my experience more exciting and fulfilling than I ever thought it could be. The opportunities for excursions each week allowed for an easy way to meet new people, get out of your comfort zone and have new experiences. By having no Friday classes we were able to plan our own weekend excursions that allowed us to explore Europe with new friends or take part in the numerous trips offered by the program. The class options were great and varied, with options like architecture, psychology, the culinary arts and so much more. Each course included excursions that allowed us to explore the city and experience new incredible opportunities like strolling through the market and exploring iconic museums and landmarks. While study abroad can be very daunting, Barcelona is an exciting city to learn about and you will quickly get a hang of the metro system allowing you to explore every free moment you have.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve-racking moment about the whole experience was probably arriving in Barcelona. I didn't know anyone and knew very little about the city, fearing I would get lost or not make any friends. I was able to overcome both of these things with time, realizing that things like the metro system are so well organized and efficient that even if you get on the wrong line it's easy to figure out where you need to be. I used every opportunity including weekend excursions and time in the classroom to meet new people and make new friends because you quickly realize everyone is there for that same experience!
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Lisset
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

From the moment I stepped off the airplane to the moment I boarded, I felt the support of the IES staff. It was a peculiar time when I was abroad; Spain had just begun to experience a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases before we were asked to repatriate. Nevertheless, the short time that I was in Madrid was a special and memorable one. I was placed with a warm and caring host-family that taught me a lot about the Spanish culture and with whom I built a relationship. Classes were from Monday to Thursday, so I always felt as if I had enough time to explore the city and its surroundings. To mention: my art history class took place in The Prado Museum; instead of spending the class hours inside a classroom we learned about art in the museum. I saw paintings from El Greco to Goya to Picasso. Additionally, IES often organized activities and excursions to expose students to more aspects of the Spanish culture. For example, IES organized a weekend trip to Extremadura; a place where we were able to learn about history, food, and the regional culture. All in all, it was a culture enriching experience—even if it was for a short amount of time.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Keep an open mind! Try new food, visit new places, and talk to people! Do not expect things to be done as they are in the US; you will have a lot of adapting to do. However, everything will result in a more enriching experience.
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Emma
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It definitely sounds cliche, but my time abroad changed me as a person. Ever since I was younger I knew I wanted to go abroad but my desire to go to Spain came about in my senior year of high school. I wanted to immerse myself in the culture and live in a large city, so I chose Barcelona. Having the opportunity to live in Barcelona was incredible. I adjusted quickly to taking the metro everywhere, finding new places to explore everyday. There is always something happening in the city so there is no time to be bored. I loved how I could escape the bustling city by going to a park or even the beach. I love being outdoors so having the beach right there was a big plus for me! Barcelona is also very central which made it extremely easy to travel to other places via train or plane. I learned so much abroad about people, life, culture, and relationships. I also was inspired by a new career path while I was abroad and am now pursuing that which I am very excited about!! If the chance to go abroad comes my way again I don’t think I will think twice about it. I cannot say enough about my experience abroad, it was truly life changing.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Knowing that I wanted to travel around Europe while living in Barcelona, I wish I would have made a more definitive list of where I wanted to go before arriving in Barcelona. Figuring out where to go and researching the details took a good deal of time, so I wish I had prepared prior.
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Mary Kaitlin
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

South Africa and Cape Town as a whole is a unique experience just by nature of the location itself. In a country with a culture so unlike any other, this program provides the opportunity to learn and experience so much more than you might on a more conventional or popular program. The rich political, cultural, and economic history alone creates an abundance of opportunity to learn, not to mention the rich political, cultural, and economic current that you can interact with and enjoy throughout courses, activities, involvement in clubs/societies, program excursions, and more. I cannot recommend this program enough!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I got to hold the trunk of an elephant and see the southernmost tip of the continent of Africa-- how many people can say they've done that?!?