ISA (International Studies Abroad)

Program Reviews

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Madison
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying abroad ignited my hunger and passion for traveling, and it is an experience I will remember for the rest of my life! While studying in Seville, Spain for a semester with ISA I made new friends that I connected with, traveled with, and am still in contact with. Studying abroad for a semester allowed me to travel around Europe and to Africa for a total of 9 countries! The classes that I took at the University of Seville, a historic and enchanting building, were fun and challenging. I had the opportunity to practice my Spanish in my classes, with my host mom, with ISA staff, at the store, at restaurants, and with local friends I made. My host mom was amazing and a fantastic cook! My roommate was very friendly, and we each had our own room. I always felt safe, comfortable, and welcome in my house though at times the temperature was a bit different than I would have preferred (air/heating is not used as frequently to save energy). I was very happy with my choice to study in Seville because it was big enough to have lots of options for restaurants, activities, and modes of transportation, but I did not feel that it was unsafe or I was overwhelmed by the size at all. It was also very sunny in Seville, something I couldn't get enough of! I was also very satisfied with my choice to study abroad with ISA! They were very helpful and offered insightful information throughout all stages of the program. The staff on site were incredibly personable and made the excursions a lot of fun! I would definitely consider traveling with them again!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
If I did studied abroad again, I would choose another program that was 90 days so that I could obtain a VISA and have more travel flexibility. I think it would be beneficial to have a VISA so that friends and family can visit before or after the program so that it is less stressful to coordinate and you don't have to miss out on opportunities within the program. Also, I wish that I would have saved more money before I went.
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Elisabeth
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I would not change anything about my abroad experience. ISA was such an all inclusive program in which I felt fully immersed and had plenty of freedom while also having continuous support and guidance. I learned so much through the included excursions and cultural experiences offered frequently and when deciding to travel and explore on my own, was given plenty of recommendations and advice upon asking. Not to mention, Madrid is the most beautiful, incredible city ever full of so much diversity.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't waste time doing things you could do at home ie. napping or eating fast food. Explore everywhere possible, try new food, talk to strangers etc!
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Margaret
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sevilla is my new home away from home. When I started looking at study abroad programs I had no idea where to start. I have studied Spanish at school so I thought Spain might be cool. I looked at different cities and didn't think I would fit in bigger places like Madrid or Barcelona. I saw a picture of Seville and knew I had to go there. Every step you take into Sevilla has something new and beautiful to look at. I was completely exposed to a new culture and loved it. Because I was being exposed to so many new experiences, I was forced to become a more flexible. When I went to class none of my professors spoke English so I was immediately forced into Spanish. This was just what I needed to fully emerge myself into the language. I now feel more confident and have a more positive outlook on new experiences. Being in Sevilla changed my life and I can't wait to go back.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would try to spend more time in my home city rather than traveling every weekend. Traveling can be very exhausting and sometimes its nice to spend time at home.
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Lauren
2/10
No, I don't recommend this program

I was so excited to be going and spending a summer in a new country, improving my Spanish and adding some new skills to my resume. However, the internship I was placed in had almost no relation to any of my future career goals or my academic track. I was assured that my offer would be perfect for me when I expressed skepticism but trusted ISA and accepted the position nonetheless. This was a mistake as I picked up zero new skills from my internship and was bored most of the time because I completed tasks too quickly. Many of my friends were also disappointed in their internship assignment whether it was a bad placement, weird hours, or that it was an hour train out of the city. The housing they provide is subpar, not terrible it was livable but they could do a much better job when screening their host families. My host family made fun of my roommate almost every day because she struggled with Spanish.

Valencia was an incredible city and the friends I made were incredible and I cherish the adventures we shared. But the summer was not worth even half of what I paid for it. I don’t even list it on my resume unless I have extra room to fill in extra activities. I was extremely disappointed in the lack of support and activities from ISA as well. I recommend you spend a summer in Valencia but do NOT go through ISA if you do.

Response from ISA (International Studies Abroad)

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on your experience. We value your feedback and are sorry to hear that your internship was not what you expected it to be.

Our team takes pride in its efforts to provide students with the best possible internship match. However, changing internship requirements after advising sessions have been completed does impact the team’s ability to find the perfect company placement due to reduced time for the matching process.

If concerns about a placement are raised to the ISA Internships team, we endeavor to communicate those concerns with placement supervisors and to develop an action plan to address those concerns. Following up and adjusting the action plan is then a shared responsibility.

We strive to provide the best possible placements for students based on the information we receive from the student and their needs/wants from the internship, providing a forum for the student to learn from the host organization to hone current skills and learn new ones. When placements are not an exact match to student expectations, it is important for the student and the host organization work together to create the best possible experience within the parameters of the host organization's ability to meet those expectations.

As an organization committed to excellence, we welcome and foster an open dialogue with students, parents, and university advisors on all program related matters. For further information on these topics, please feel free to call us and ask to speak with a member of our Internships team. ISA's mission is to provide high quality education abroad opportunities to college students from around the world, and we remain committed to upholding that mission for every student.

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Audra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Growing up, my family and I never got the chance to travel other than the occasional trip to Kansas City for a softball tournament and Wisconsin Dells when I was 12. Being from South Dakota, a very rural state lacking in excitement and diversity, I wanted to explore the world while improving my Spanish language skills. ISA granted me the perfect opportunity to do so. The size of Salamanca was perfect. Not nearly as chaotic and overwhelming as Madrid, but far from being as dry as my college town. For starters, the staff at ISA are excellent at communicating and responding to every concern and question you may have about your trip abroad. Their website presents hundreds of programs in over 69 different countries so you will definitely be able to find one that works for you! My trip abroad included excursions to Portugal, Sevilla, Segovia, Madrid, and Toledo, along with an optional trip to Morocco, which I endured of course. I rode camels and ATVs through the Sahara desert, took a tram up the Swiss Alps, and ate one too many tapas, all while growing my Spanish speaking abilities! I also made lifelong friends who I still stay in contact with to this day! Thank you ISA :)

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Definitely an octopus tentacle! I thought it was calamari, oops!
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Bianca
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If you are trying to decide which studying abroad program to use definitely use ISA. They plan many cultural and transitional excursions and activities while you are in Paris, which I found beneficial! If you are trying to decide which city to study in go to Paris, I think you will be surprised with this city. Paris is not a big “busy” city like New York. Everybody is much more relaxed and moves at a slower place which makes it much less intimidating. All of the little neighborhoods within the city are very charming and quaint. Additionally, it’s a very good city to leave from to travel to other places because Charles de Gaulle Airport is so big. Overall I would definitely recommend using ISA Paris! You will be amazed with how welcoming they are and how amazing France is!

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Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My title is what the crowd chanted throughout the soccer game. I had such an amazing time in Sevilla. I walked past La Plaza de Espana and Maria Park daily. I could walk everywhere I needed/wanted to go in Sevilla within an hour. I loved walking down every street and hearing about the tales of the city. The ISA staff were so caring and considerate. If I needed anything, they were there to help me. I can not imagine living anywhere else. I was able to visit multiple countries and cities (Portugal, Morocco, Italy, England, and Ireland). I learned so much from the classes and my Spanish improved amazingly beause of my classes and my host family. The food in Sevilla is outstanding. My favorite memory will be going to a soccer game, everyone felt so united .

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would have stayed there for a year rather than one semester.
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Olivia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

When I landed in Barranquilla it instantly felt like coming home. Colombians are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. There were so many times where I was struggling to communicate/find something and they didn’t hesitate to help me. My resident director was absolutely amazing and so helpful. She was there whenever I needed something whether it was advice or Spanish help. My resident director created such enriching activities and excursions for us to go on that really allowed ourselves to be immersed in the Colombian culture. I made some incredible friends while abroad Colombians and other foreigners. Being fully immersed in a native Spanish speaking country really improved my basic Spanish a lot. My roommate and I had so much fun traveling around Colombia and see what amazing landscapes Colombia had to offer us. I truly recommend ISA to anyone who is considering studying abroad, they treat you like family.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
It was amazing to visit La Guajira Desert in northern Colombia. The desert right next to the beach was unforgettable.
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Viviana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This is a program in which they give you all the tools you need to socialize, to go out and have the best time, to learn about yourself and the city that you're in. If you're interested in Marketing, International Relations, Politics, Arts, etc. This program is right for you. I cannot stress how well this program helped me better my french language skills as well as just immersing me in french culture. They show you your potential and your potential future in this city. The staff/interns were so helpful! Bridget was the most helpful and down-to-earth person i've met while abroad. Lille is one of the most lively cities in France other than Paris. This city is for the people that like cities, but want something a bit smaller with less traffic. Lille is unique, and I miss it like a hometown!
In a couple words this program treats you like an adult while giving you so much help at the same time.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Bring a portable charging brick.
Drink the wine! The chinese dumplings behind the canteen are yummy!
Socialize with your group and go out!
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Hannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

For thirteen weeks I studied and interned in Sydney, Australia. Through my history course I learned about the origin, traditions and culture of Australia. I was able to better understand the practices and ideas of the people. Through my intercultural communication course I learned how to interpret conversations with people from a different country. I was able to apply this through my everyday activities.
During my time abroad I traveled all over the country to Melbourne, the Gold Coast, Queensland, Alice Springs and I even went to New Zealand. With the help of ISA, I felt safe and confident traveling across the country. On weekends, ISA put together trips in Sydney from hiking the Blue Mountains and volunteering in the community. It was a wonderful way to make the most of my time abroad.
Through my internship I was lucky to meet professional businesswomen all across Australia, China and America. As the journalism intern for a marketing business, it was my responsibility to write feature articles, create blog posts and assist with social media. It was such valuable opportunity to gain experience in my field and learn about marketing.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice is to make the most of your time abroad. Save your money to see the most of the country you are in. Plan your time and budget efficiently. Network as much as you can through your internship and get to know your supervisor.