IES Abroad Granada - Study in Granada

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Our curriculum takes full advantage of Andalusia and all southern Spain has to offer. The program offers two unique program options that are designed to improve your Spanish proficiency: the Intermediate Spanish Program and Advanced Spanish Program.

Students placed in the Intermediate Program take IES Abroad courses in both English and Spanish. The Advanced Program courses are conducted entirely in Spanish, including study at the Universidad de Granada. Both options introduce you to Spain’s Moorish heritage and Jewish past, and its continuing links to North Africa through Islamic and Contemporary North African Studies. Advanced students can also experience Arabic language courses of all levels, at the Universidad de Granada.

Questions & Answers

Most people walk to the IES Center from their homestays, and most people's commutes were under 30 minutes. Only a few more around 40 minutes, and a lucky few were less than 10 minutes away. As far as public transit, Granada only has a bus system, and while it can be helpful (especially for getting to the larger bus station or the University of Granada, if you decide to take a class there), a lot...
There are many ways that you can meet Spanish people without taking classes at the University. IES sets each student up with an "intercambio", a Spanish student that also wants American friends. You can get in touch with each other and hang out as much as you want. You will also meet many Spanish people when you go out to tapas, bars, salsa clubs, etc... I would definitely recommend living with a...


based on 75 reviews
  • Academics 8.2
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 61 - 75 of 75
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Part of My Heart is in Granada

Studying abroad in Granada, Spain with IES was a phenomenal, life changing, eye opening, opportunity providing experience that causes you to grow into a better, independent, more aware, and educated citizen of this world we live in. This is what my life reflects now that I have returned home. My time in Granada provided me with a variety of experiences - learning how to make travel plans, communicating solely in Spanish, using public transportation, meeting people from all over the world, and more - that enriched my life.

Granada is home to La Alhambra, el Sacromonte, el Albaizin, amazing Spanish people, beautiful vistas, extraordinary food, marvelous music, and vivacious life. IES Granada supported my interests in the Spanish language, had weekend trips all over southern Spain, provided an amazing host family, and the staff was there for me throughout my entire experience. The staff truly cares about each individual on the program and is there to be a resource and support you in any way necessary.

The program is also tailored to the group of individuals who come and their interests. There were many hiking trips organized during my program because that was something my group was passionate about. The hiking was phenomenal! There were also different workshops available for students including a cooking workshop and a leather workshop. They were both very fun and didn't cost any extra money!

My experience in Granada was phenomenal and I strongly recommend studying abroad with IES.

How can this program be improved?
If I could change one thing I would make sure every student was individually placed in a host family. When there are roommates from the U.S. it is very easy to fall back into speaking English. However, some people feel more comfortable having a roommate and it is hard to find enough families for each student to be individually placed.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Really think about what you want from your city

Granada is a wonderful city to study abroad in, because it is a university city. This means that there are a bunch of other young students, from all over the world. It is still small enough however, that you won't get swallowed up as in the large metropolises.
Granada has an incredible history: it was the last Muslim stronghold in Spain. IES classes do a really good job of incorporating the history in our classes through direct field trips around the city.
Granada is a city that is overflowing with art. There are so many different types of art (but especially music and performances) and so many opportunities to become a part Granada's art.

Yes, I recommend this program
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A Semester in Granada: Learning - Loving - Thriving!

My semester abroad in Granada is something I will remember forever. My courses encouraged deep knowledge and love of the city and my professors were incredibly passionate about their subjects. Walking to the IES center every day was not always the best fun (especially in the rain when I forgot to pack rainboots!), but with every foot the city became more like home. A definite highlight was the trip to Morocco, where I was pushed far out of my comfort zone and from that was able to gain understanding of other ways of life. My biggest difficulty was trying to befriend local students in Granada, which was hard to do even with the help of the Intercambio program. However overall, I could not have chosen a better way to spend my time abroad! Granada is a magical city that will inspire you to say "No pasa nada!" and teach you to truly embrace life in all its little moments.

How can this program be improved?
Another way to better integrate IES students with the students at UGR. Though the intercambio program was helpful, it only allowed for a limited entrance into the local student culture/life.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Go to Granada, it's a must!

Studying abroad in this beautiful, multi-influential city was the best decision I ever made in my college career. Granada is a small city, but the people, the culture, and events made up for it and made it feel bigger. The city is vastly influenced on Islamic culture, but had influences of Jewish, and Christianity. Take advantage of the free tapas that come along with your drinks! The food is amazing there, my recommendation is get cafe con leche and napolitana from bakeries. You must try a shwarma at least once there. Since there's a university in the city, there's a lot of international students. Even though it was a small city, I walked around everyday with my friends, finding new places.

Program provided excellent classes that require active participation, along with class trips where we see what we are learning. I had multiple trips to the majestic Alhambra and other places around the city and saw a lot theater shows. The field trips of the program was the best part, my favorite was going to Sevilla, Morocco, Cabo de Gata (beach trip). Morocco is optional but I recommend it, it was great experience of meeting and really getting to know students the same age as us and families and getting a better understanding of their views in an Islamic Country.

IES Staff were very helpful and supportive, they always posted events such as festivals, concerts and shows that was happening in town. They help you with anything to the best of their abilities, for example, going to the pharmacy to help get your medicine and so much more. The staff is very supportive and I'm very thankful for that. They also create events to get more involved in the city and also with spanish students.

I lived a 30 minute walk away from the center, which was annoying because I lived far away from everything. However, my host mom was amazing. Took me a while to get comfortable but her hospitality, sense of humor and how helpful she was with my spanish and how supportive she was made things better. In general, the locals were nice and helpful, especially when you are lost. I recommend, speaking as much spanish as possible!

How can this program be improved?
Better organization of the sections, such as it was hard to fit certain classes because the sections were close to each other. More involvement with Spanish students
Yes, I recommend this program
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An Amazing Program and Place

To be completely honest, before leaving for Granada I wasn't sure how I felt about studying abroad. I had heard great things about the program, but I was terrified to leave the comforts of my home college go to a place I'd never been to before. It turned out that parts of studying abroad were scary, like when I got lost in the city walking back from class, or frustrating, when I couldn't think of the right Spanish words to communicate with my host family. But overall studying abroad was an extremely rewarding experience. I was worried before about living and fitting in with my host family, but the people in my host family were some of the nicest and most laid-back people I had ever met.They answered all of my questions and cooked some of the best food I've ever eaten. The teachers at IES were smart, enthusiastic, and fun to talk to about any topic. I felt my Spanish getting better all the time. I loved being able to buy pastries filled with chocolate on the way home from class, or going out to tapas bars and getting wine and food for two euros. I've been back in the United States for about five months, but I still think about and miss Granada all of the time. I hope I can go back some day soon.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Amazing program

I absolutely loved my experience with IES Abroad Granada. My homestay was fantastic--my host mother was kind, welcoming, and made me feel instantly at home. I lived a 20 minute walk from my abroad center, which while at first seemed daunting, became one of my favorite parts of my day as I got to know all the vendors and people on the way to school that I would say hi to in the morning and chat with on the way home. The people in Granada were incredibly kind and helpful and very helpful and patient with my spanish.

Going out to dinner every night was also incredible. I love the "free tapas" culture of Granada -- it made eating out every night very affordable and also forced me to try new foods almost every day, which was fun. I also loved the open and relaxed atmosphere of dinner every night because it meant meeting tons of people all the time.

My only complaint (which I partially resolved) was that I quickly grew bored with the clubbing scene. Granada isn't an enormous town, and so nightlight can get a little stale. I tried to get around this by going to different tapas places and not going to clubs very often, but if you're looking for a wild and constantly changing partying scene, a bigger city might better suit your tastes.

Yes, I recommend this program
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El que no ha visto Granada no ha visto nada

I walked to school every morning from my home stay to the IES center through the busy streets of Granada. I got to see the majestic and beauty that is the Alhambra multiple times and explored the streets in the Albayzín, embracing the Islamic influences and culture. I ate amazing food with my host mom, enjoyed tapas throughout the city, made lasting friendships and learned so much. I could not have pictured a more incredible experience.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Can't Beat the Beauty In Granada

My time in Granada was simply amazing. Everything in my environment was brand new, the sights, sounds, and even the smells. It was overwhelming at first, however, refreshing and invigorating too. I stayed with a host family and though speaking only in Spanish was rough off the bat, as the weeks passed I quickly improved. I took a diverse group of classes in Spanish that allowed me to gain understanding of the local culture: Islamic Art, Flamenco, a literature class, and a Spanish language class. In the art class we visited various important sites such as the Great Mosque in Cordoba and a three-part specialized tour through the Alhambra. The program's trip to Morocco stands out as one of the experiences I'm most appreciative of. I spent four days in the country and stayed with a local family. The memories I made there are so vivid because I had never been anywhere remotely like it before. My time in Morocco was just a cherry on top of an amazing semester filled with beauty, wonder, and encounters with the other.

I'm still in awe of all that happened during my time abraod that even now it's hard to process it all. I got to visit five different countries, spend time in sixteen different cities, and meet hundreds of new people. I played futbol with Spaniards and shared some great nights at the discotecas with my intercambio. I'm really glad I did the IES program in Granada.

How can this program be improved?
More time there.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Spain in Real Life

Granada is truly a great city to study abroad. If you are seeking out a place to learn more outside the classroom than inside, I highly recommend this city. It has a lot of history, culture and wonderful people. There are so many options for exploring and opportunities to participate in local activities.

How can this program be improved?
The program center is relatively small because it is in a original Spanish building and the classes are primarily with other American students, but there is also the option of taking classes at one of the local university departments. There is going to be a lot of walking or bus riding so be prepared for that.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Studying abroad in Granada was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. I could talk about it forever, but here are some of the things about IES Granada that I think set it apart:

IES staff/professors:
The IES staff are some of the nicest people I have ever met. The program director, Javier, knows every single student by name and does a wonderful job making everyone feel at home. Everyone who works for IES Granada is dedicated to making the students feel comfortable with classes and the city, and will take extra time to help with personal problems or trip planning. Every professor I had challenged us with interesting and relevant material. I took all of my classes in Spanish, and it was very rewarding to know that I not only understood the language, but also I could also comprehend challenging academic material in Spanish. The Spanish grammar class aimed to teach us practical, local Spanish usage, so it really helped with day-to-day life in Granada. The work wasn't too difficult, but I really felt like I was leaning useful information.

The city:
Granada is a great city for students. There are tons of international students there, so it's easy to feel like you fit in. It's also a perfect size. It's a small enough city that you can walk just about everywhere, but doesn't feel too small. I lived about 30 minutes from IES and walked every day. Walking around and exploring with friends is a great way to discover the lesser-known parts of the city and meet interesting locals. There is also such an incredible history and mixture of cultures in Granada. The city has so much to offer to students.

IES field trips were one of my favorite parts of the program. The first trip was to Cabo de Gata, where did a 13-mile hike along the coast of the Mediterranean. We also went to Málaga, Sevilla, Ronda, and Córdoba. The best trip was to Morocco. This is something you just have to do. We stayed with host families in Rabat, talked to University students about Moroccan culture and politics, and cooked lunch at the home of a family that lived in the mountains and spoke to them through a translator. It was one of the most amazing trips I have ever been on.

-Speak Spanish!! Speak to locals in Spanish. Don't try to get them to speak English. It's really the only way to learn.
-Take as many classes in Spanish as you possibly can.
-Take Islamic Art and Architecture--this was by far my favorite class. You get to learn about the history of Granada and go out on weekly visits to architectural sites, including the Alhambra and the cathedral. We had several classes in the Alhambra and got to visit locations closed off to the general public.
-Go out for tapas with friends.
-Make friends with the locals. They can show you a side of Granada you would never get to see otherwise.
-Explore and take advantage of every opportunity given to you.

Overall, my experience in Granada was amazing. I loved everything about the city and made friends that I will keep for life.

How can this program be improved?
I didn't take any classes at UGR because it was difficult to fit them into my schedule. It takes a while to get to the University from IES and the class times don't match up, so it's not exactly easy to fit them into your schedule. I would have loved to take classes there so that I could experience a real Spanish university and meet more local students.
Yes, I recommend this program
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One of the difficulties that I faced as a non-native Spanish speaker in Granada was the fact that many of the people in restaurants, cafes, and bars wanted to speak English to my friends and I. A large reason I was in Spain was to truly learn and practice my Spanish, and it was frustrating to be spoken English to. Generally, I would just respond to all their questions in Spanish until they got the hint, or I would request for them to speak Spanish to me, explaining that I was a student.

How can this program be improved?
At the time I attended this program a few years ago, it was still quite new and quickly gaining in popularity. A major issue that many of us faced was the availability of computers and printing, as well as hang out space at the IES building. Places to hang out were easier to come by, so that didn't remain an issue (and in fact was probably set up intentionally so we could spread out into the community).
Yes, I recommend this program
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In one sentence, IES Granada is fantastic. Here's why you should go:
The City:
Granada is a great size, small enough where I felt like I could navigate well but big enough that there is always something interesting going on. It's walkable, which makes it easy to get together with friends and to explore. And there's so much to see! The Alhambra is fantastic of course, and so are the free flamenco concerts, the Albayzin, the cathedral. Plus the weather is gorgeous and Granada is close to both the ocean and the mountains (I took independent trips to both). And it's easy travel to the rest of Europe and to Africa!

The IES teachers are some of the best teachers I've had. There classes are interesting because they're about the city (and because the teachers are excited to be teaching them). The class work was not very hard but I felt like I learned enough to make them worthwhile. The university classes, on the other hand, were a struggle. They are hard to coordinate with the IES schedule, the class I took wasn't very good, and the program ends before exams so it's a hassle trying to make everything work.

General Awesomeness:
The IES "field trips" set the program apart for me. While my friends and I planned trips on our own as well, it was so nice to have a few that were planned for us, and to such cool places! Definitely go on the Morocco trip, it's well worth it.
My host family was fantastic and while I had two friends who didn't enjoy there stay, everyone else I knew on the 150ish person program was very satisfied. The IES meal plan works really well in this setting because you get a delicious lunch from your host family and then get to enjoy the "free" tapas (with the order of a drink) at bars for dinner. It makes nights a great time for bonding and hanging out.

How can this program be improved?
Coordinating classes between the university and the IES center was hard to do.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Como un sueño...

Honestly, I could talk about my wonderful experience with the IES Granada program forever- I had the best time of my life during the semester I was studying abroad in Granada. I think that there are a few things that sets IES programs, and especially their Granada program, apart from other study abroad companies.
First, the support staff at Granada is AMAZING. The professors are so dedicated and enthusiastic- you can't help but be inspired! They really take the extra mile to make sure that your study abroad experience in the very best that it could be. I always felt that if I ever had a problem (be it with culture shock, housing or anything) I could come to anyone on the staff and they would do their best to help me.
Second, IES makes it possible for students to take classes at the local university and to do internships. I regret that I did not take advantage of this opportunity myself, but I do know people on my program who got to were able to explore a wide variety of interests, including wedding planning and photography! IES does a fantastic job finding opportunities that their students respond to and helping them have these amazing and unique experiences.
Third, they really encourage you to be involved in the community. Throughout the semester there were numerous presentations on extra-curricular activities and volunteer opportunities in the community and they highly encouraged us to participate. I took a tango class at the local university, for example! It was a lot of fun. They also provide fun one-time-only classes (cooking, wine tasting, etc.) and Open Mic Nights for IES students which really encourages a sense of community within the group as a whole. Almost all of my classes took field trips or made an effort to show students hidden gems in the community, which really helped make Granada feel like home.
I actually ended up staying in Granada for 2 weeks after the program ended- I just couldn't bear to leave. It truly is an amazing place. People were friendly and always willing to help. I raved so much about my time there that my cousin is actually studying abroad there now! For more information about the daily going-ons of life in Granada, please feel free to check out the blog that I kept while I studied abroad:

How can this program be improved?
I would have liked more organized ways to meet local students. IES did provide me with many opportunities to participate in the community and with a few token local students who interacted with us on a frequent basis (and they were great!), but as someone who is timid about going out of my way to meet new people, let alone people who do not speak my native language, I would have appreciated more structured opportunities to meet local students.
The support for taking classes at UGR is not as evident as it should be. It can be very difficult for American students to adjust to the structure of these classes and I know many of my friends felt overwhelmed and abandoned when trying to navigate UGR classes.
Yes, I recommend this program
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mi año

I had the opportunity to spend an entire academic year in Granada. The two semesters were different in their own ways, but the whole experience was nothing short of amazing.
IES Granada does an amazing job of choosing interesting courses that take advantage of all the city has to offer. They offer a great crash course to culture and life in Granada as well as to its incredibly rich history. It is difficult to put a year into a blurb, but I will try.
A day in the life. My amazing host mother (with whom I stayed all year) made sure breakfast was ready by the time I showered and dressed. Then it was off to class - we all had grammar in the morning. By the second semester, I took advantage of time between that and my next class for a coffee, hopefully with a friend but sometimes to get a head start on homework (much to the dismay of the locals - you are not to mix eating--pleasure--with work!).
After morning classes, lunch at home was definitely a priority because host mothers always make the best everything. Lentils out are never as good as lentils at home! Siesta became sacred. It took a while to get used to, but that time of rest is precious. It definitely got to the point when it was a struggle to get through my 4pm class twice a week because I needed that break!
I took most of my classes at the IES center with some at the local Universidad de Granada, too. That was a great way to challenge my language skills and meet non-Americans. Regardless, all my courses were in Spanish.
IES did an excellent job of offering suggestions for things to do. There were organized events as well as listings of other ways to get involved more. They offered a very supportive audience for our flamenco dance class, too! The trips to Morocco, Cádiz, Córdoba, Sevilla, Ronda, Cabo de Gata, Málaga, etc were informative and so much fun. I was able to get involved with the Universidad de Granada choir and meet friends through that. Each time I go back, I still hang out with them.
I took advantage of IES's internship offering, too, and had an internship in the cultural diffusion office at the Biblioteca de Andalucía where I did translations as well as work with cultural events. I was able to help with translations of other publications, as well.
I very much appreciated that my year there was a year of normal events and activities, just elsewhere. The night scene and the tapas and leisurely strolls and hikes were absolutely an essential part to that, too. Everything had its own Spanish and, more importantly, Andalusian flair.
My time there had its challenges, absolutely. It is tiring learning a new language and cultural differences. The closer I got to the locals, the more those differences came to light. People thought my life was like the movies and sometimes I just wanted to not have to charge through old ladies with umbrellas stopping to catch up in the middle of sidewalks. It can be a real challenge to join well-established social groups, so making local friends had its challenges. The university system was an adjustment, too, but, again, these all pale in comparison to my overall experience.
I never thought I would try my hand at directing--in Spanish--or dance in the middle of a plaza trying to learn Sevillanas. I never thought I would tour around Andalucía with a choir or be called 'half Spanish.' I never thought I would fall in love with a culture, a city and people the way I did. To this day I call my host mom and friends every so often and I do not think I will ever have to stay in a hotel there.
The Alhambra is an obvious draw to Granada. It is stunning and you can never go there too many times. Buying cookies from the nuns at a convent around Christmas is the whakiest, coolest business transaction you can find anywhere. You cannot go wrong with shoe shopping. Flamenco is everywhere. I went there looking for immersion, not really knowing what that would mean.
Long story short, my year there was amazing and I think I found out what an immersion experience is.

How can this program be improved?
One thing I would change would be to have IES courses available in different language ability levels - to have both the incredibly interesting course material coupled with greater linguistic challenge.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Una Aventura Nueva

On the way to class every morning I would look to my right and see the breathtaking Sierra Nevada mountains. Directly in front of me, the stunning Alhambra. And all around me are people enjoying the morning. The IES center building has a terrace from which students enjoy the view of the Alhambra above and Plaza Nueva below. During the day I attended a Spanish grammar class as well as other content courses (in sociology, economics, and political science). A majority of the classes offered at the center were also in Spanish which was a great way to practice the language in an academic setting; wonderfully complemented by the practice with my Spanish mother. Most students would walk back home for lunch to eat with our families and enjoy siesta. The afternoons and nights were filled with walks around the parks and other parts of the city. We would discover a tapas bar, order some drinks, and enjoy the free tapas that come along with it (as mandated by law in Granada).

-Take advantage of the opportunities that are provided through this program.
-Talk with the students that you meet in intercambios (language exchanges with University of Granada students).
-Invest in getting to know your host family.
-Go on the guided trips that IES plans. You will see some of the most beautiful places in Andalusia and Morocco AND know what the buildings are too!
-To most improve your language skills while studying abroad, speak it with everyone, not just the people who you know don't speak English. Practicing with other students in the program also helps because you can correct conjugations and refresh vocabulary in a setting where everyone is learning and presumably wanting to improve. I practiced a lot in everyday life with my host mom, which was set up through the program. The program also set up intercambios (language exchanges) with local people who are learning English. During these exchanges you would talk with your partner in English for about an hour and in Spanish for about an hour to improve together. There were also lots of opportunities to practice in content classes that were conducted in Spanish. One of the nice things about Granada is that in most places you could use Spanish and people would respond in Spanish although it is obvious that you're not from Granada. However, it is common for shop keepers to know English in the touristy parts of the city if absolutely necessary. The students tended to speak English between themselves because we are all American students and it was more comfortable. However, when we were out around the city I spoke Spanish with several of my friends and that helped us improve our own skills and showed that we were interested in really being in the culture and interacting with the people too.
-Step into the new culture with an open mind about it. Don't expect simple things like eating times or showers to be the same as they are back at home. It didn't take very long for me to feel acclimated. There were always new things that I noticed as different, but that doesn't mean that they are bad things. It's important to recognize before you leave that you're walking into a new culture. Things will not be the same as they were at home, but it's incredibly worth it to step a little bit out of your comfort zone and appreciate this new culture for what it is. I liked being abroad for a semester and, retrospectively, I think that was the right amount of time for me.

At first it was hard to motivate myself to get out of the house after siesta because being able to nap just felt so nice, but then I realized that there was so much to see and do. It was also wonderful to make friends outside of the program. It provided opportunities that I wouldn't have had otherwise and even more wonderful friendships!

Final Thoughts:
I absolutely loved Granada! It had a central location (halfway between the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the beautiful beaches in Costa del Sol). It was small enough to walk around in, but large enough to have things to do. It has several outlying parts of the city that are more rural and further into the mountains and so beautiful. I enjoy being outside a lot and really enjoyed the amount of parks throughout the city and places where I could see the mountains instead of being surrounded constantly by buildings. Also, make sure that there is a range of classes that you are interested in and can take for relevant credit at your university (if that is something you are looking for) before you get to the program. You want to allow yourself room to move once the schedule is released so you're not regretting your decisions because class times conflict. Not only do the classes and trips matter, but also the city in which you will be living. Pick some place you think you will enjoy and maybe a place that is different than where you live currently to expand your life experiences more.

My experience in Granada gave me a greater understanding of myself and of the world.

Yes, I recommend this program


About IES Abroad

IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student...