IES Abroad

Program Reviews

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Hansini
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience at IES Barcelona was nothing short of amazing. I tremendously improved my Spanish and took courses I always wanted to explore. IES made it easy for students like myself to explore the city. This immersive program has taught me a lot about myself and I am forever grateful for having had the opportunity to study in such a dynamic city. It is worth mentioning that transportation in Barcelona is AWESOME! The bus runs 24/7 and generally very safe. The only thing to be mindful of is pickpockets but for what it's worth, I was extremely careful and managed to get by without any issues.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take the time to interact with locals! People are so friendly and you'll learn so much more about the city!
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LeAnne
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying abroad in Santiago, Chile was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I feel extremely privileged and humbled to have been able to travel and live in another country for a full semester. I lived with an incredible host family that gave me cultural lessons every night during "Once" and reminded me of those universal family values that unite each and every one of us as human beings. I was able to explore the beautiful array of geographical wonders that Chile has to offer as well. I went sandboarding in the Atacama Desert, hiking in Patagonia, and surfing in Pichilemu. Those these sights were truly breathtaking, the thing I enjoyed most were the small moments with the various people I met in Chile. I met an amazing friend who worked in the IES building where I had my classes. Though I was still working on my Spanish, she was patient and so welcoming. We talked about our families, our pets, and our hopes and dreams. I also met my host-family's extended family who took me in like I was one of their own. We sat around all Saturday afternoon playing cards as I listened to old family memories and moments they had all shared together. Though I was in a country far from home, there was not much of a difference between the conversations at my dinner table in New Jersey and theirs that day in Val Paraíso. If anyone has the opportunity to study abroad in Santiago, I would 100% recommend it. I was challenged in the best way possible in daring to make relationships with different people from all walks of life and it made me realize how communication can really open up a whole new world.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice would be to just be open to all the new places and people you encounter. No one's experience is going to be exactly the same and that's what's so beautiful about living and just plain being in another country. Don't compare your experience to someone else's because every moment, good or bad, is so valuable. Take pictures of all the beautiful things but don't forget to be present with the people around you. Lastly, relax as best you can and take it all in. It's a beautiful place filled with a lot of beautiful people!
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Sophie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My time in Barcelona was very fun and a great learning experience. I spent a lot more time in class and doing homework than I had expected, however, I loved the content that I was learning about in the courses that I was taking. The classes that IES offered were very diverse and interesting and no matter what your major is, there is a class for you. My favorite class was "Science and Society" and "Mediterranean Environment," both taught by the same, amazing professor. These classes helped me understand more about Spain, Europe, specifically the Mediterranean.
I was able to spend a lot of time relaxing in my room and exploring the city. IES allows you to have as much downtime as you want but they also offer a lot of programs that you can get involved with so the entire experience is really what you make of it. The experiences that I had with IES were very memorable and personal. I felt like most of the staff knew who I was and the things that I was involved in. Everyone has the same opportunities through IES and you will get the most out of your experience if you partake in these opportunities or make some of your own. I would go back and do it all over again if I could.

What would you improve about this program?
Pre-departure information about what to expect while abroad. Housing situation expectations.
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Cailin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had a great time in Madrid with IES Abroad. This program was perfect for me because my focus of my abroad semester was immersing myself in a different language and a new culture. IES paired me with an amazing host family, who I am still in contact with. Additionally, they did a great job making sure that I continued studying hard but also exploring the city and country that I was in. Additionally, the group of students studying under IES was big enough that I felt as though I could meet many people like me, but not too large to the point where I didn't know everyone.

What would you improve about this program?
At some times, the program felt a little unorganized. Many pieces of information were relayed to the students closer to the date that I'm typically comfortable with, but it was overall fine.
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Christopher
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Berlin is a fantastic city, and with the proper courage and support, most anyone can have an amazing experience there. IES Berlin did a great job providing this support and helping us students step out of their comfort zone to have the best experience that we could. IES made sure we had the basic familiarity with Berlin and German culture so that we could safely and productively explore. Regular trips and activities around the city and the country encouraging me to see important parts of the culture and history that I might have missed out on otherwise. (Mostly) excellent professors pushed our German language abilities so that I was able to interact more effectively with our surroundings and get the most value out of our time. The classes encouraged me to engage with Berlin, taking me on walking tours and making me interview Berliners. I had plenty of time to explore the things that attracted me once class got out too. Tinder, Facebook, and the like are alive and well for getting to know locals and finding out about events. The student assistants employed by the program were incredibly friendly and had tons of great recommendations and advice as we went out to find our own favorite bars, sports teams, and activities. Whenever I was in Berlin, I felt supported. Staff members were accessible around the clock, and we regularly received emails with notifications about events that might interest students feeling lost or isolated. The program also fostered a friendly environment around the center, so even if we were having trouble, there was someplace comfortable to go. I had to seek out the things I wanted to get out of my time abroad, but IES was there to help and support me the entire way.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish IES had been more clear about what a homestay meant - I was not living with a family, I essentially had an elderly roommate who kept mostly to himself and wanted someone to pay rent.
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Claire
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I studied abroad this Fall with IES Abroad in Granada and loved every second of it! I was nervous to study abroad and the IES staff was very supportive and helped ease the stress of being in a new country. We spent a lot of time with the staff and I found they genuinely cared about getting to know each one of us. Granada was an amazing location as well. Not too big of a city, or too small and was super affordable and there was a ton to do as well. The classes I took were unique and engaging and I learned a ton while also improving my Spanish. I would 100% recommend studying abroad in Spain with IES and I hope you have as wonderful of an experience as I did abroad! As basic as it sounds, it will change your life!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Migas! Migas is a traditional Andalusian dish that Spaniards eat when it rains. It is made of toasted bread crumbs from day-old bread with some type of dried sausage and topped with fresh melon. Kinda an odd mix of textures and flavors but was fun to try!
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Kamille
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

When I say that this program is the best thing that has ever happened to me, that would be an understatement. Paris, first of all, is the most beautiful city in the world. With such a depth of culture at your very fingertips and an incredible variety of food, how can you not fall in love? The program I participated in was so much fun and I was very lucky to be able to meet many other students from across the United States. I still talk to my abroad friends every day! I stayed with a host family which really helped my language skills and I am almost fluent in French now. I was so lucky to be able to have this experience and I highly recommend it!

What would you improve about this program?
I would add more mental health resources for students.
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Nina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amsterdam is an incredible city to live in. I lived right outside the city center near Vondelpark, and I felt at home very quickly. Naturally, it took me a little while to adjust, but before I knew it I felt very comfortable going about life in Amsterdam! Dutch culture and life in Amsterdam is very unique and something that is easy to appreciate. Even though I have only been back in the United States for 1.5 months, I am already looking forward to my next visit!

I loved living in Amsterdam, and the IES Abroad staff really added to my experience. During our orientation, they educated us on Dutch culture and customs and took us on various field trips around the Netherlands. Even after orientation, the staff were extremely accessible and made sure to check in with us periodically. I had a great experience with IES Abroad and I would highly recommend spending your time abroad with them!

What would you improve about this program?
There really isn't anything I would improve about the program!
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Mae
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My semester in Morocco with IES Abroad Rabat was rich in culture, language, and learning. It pushed me to think in new ways and step out of my comfort zone. I had the opportunity to take a course at the University Mohammad V in Rabat which allowed me to learn about the university system there, which is significantly more chaotic than in the United States! The faculty at IES Abroad are the top in their respective fields, whether that is literature, language, or religion and they care about their students and welcome them with open arms. My host family was so kind and welcoming, and I was able to foster a close relationship that I hope will last. Morocco contains so much history and knowledge so it was worth the daily exhaustion that comes from living in a very different culture from the United States. We got to see different regions of the country through program-sponsored trips, and I particularly enjoyed the Sahara trip and seeing Volubilis, and ancient Roman city. IES also helped me arrange an internship at an AIDS hospital, which was an incredible learning experience and allowed me to see another part of Moroccan culture. I will take this experience with me through the rest of my time in college and even into my career, as I gained invaluable intercultural skills and understanding.

What would you improve about this program?
I would add more psychological/emotional support from the program. It was a challenging place and it would have been nice to have a professional staff member to talk to that wasn't also running other parts of the program so they could more fully support students.
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Abena
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My time in Chile was one I will never forget. The program was very comprehensive and formative for my career goals. I had the opportunity to observe a variety of healthcare professionals at work, which I had not done a lot of prior to my semester abroad. I had the opportunity to work with a community-based organization, which shaped the way I view the world and respond to health-related issues. Thus, I think that anyone interested in pursuing a career in healthcare and wants to learn medical Spanish should not overlook overlook this program.

The program center had recently undergone some renovations and I think that it provided my cohort with just the right resources and space. My group was small, so we got to know each other pretty quickly and often spent time together as a group. The staff was also very accommodating and planned a variety of field trips and experiences that really helped us engage with Chilean culture. Chile also has a very diverse terrain and I would encourage anyone who has the means to explore it to do so!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would budget better for trips outside of the city. I did not really think about leaving Santiago too much prior to my trip, so I did not plan accordingly to truly explore all that Chile has to offer. It is a beautiful country with a lot to offer (deserts, geothermal springs, mountains, etc.), so there's a little bit of everything for everyone, no matter what your interest are.