IES Abroad

IES Abroad

From our headquarters in Chicago to our 125+ study abroad programs in 35+ global locations world wide, we create authentic global education and life-affirming cultural experiences. 

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectations. Our goal is to rock the world of some 6,000 study abroad students every year.

We work at IES Abroad because we believe that every student should have the opportunity to go abroad – especially in a fun, safe, and superior academic and cultural environment.

We believe so strongly in the power of our program, that we actively recruit students from diverse populations and provide more than $2.4 million in scholarships year after year. We are proud that our students are as diverse and exciting as the countries we study.

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IES Abroad Reviews

IES Nantes study experience

I am currently studying in Nantes, France via the IES program and I love it. The program has been great so far and the staff here are great people. I am really enjoying my time in Nantes and could not have asked for a better program.

By: Alexandra Rivera
Nationality: American
Age: 20

IES Abroad in Christchurch, NZ

My experience in New Zealand was life changing thanks to my IES Abroad program. Our leader, Eunice, was so incredibly kind and helpful, she led us on trips through Christchurch as well as a week long trip to Rarotonga, Cook Islands. I cannot wait for the day I can go back to New Zealand.

By: Jami Weinstein
Nationality: American
Age: 21

IES Abroad Nantes

My semester abroad in Nantes was incredible and I can't wait for the day I can go back and visit again. The IES program described itself as a full French immersion program, and that is definitely the kind of experience I received. All of my classes were in French, which forced me to become more and more familiar with the French language, culture, and history. The "French only" rule at the center helped push us out of our comfort zone and forced us to express ourselves in French, even if it meant using simplified terms or looking up words in an English-French dictionary from time to time. This program highly recommends staying with a home stay, which I also recommend. My home stay family was just a grandmother, but the time spent with her was incredibly valuable to me. We would chat about politics or cultural differences after dinner, and she would often ask me questions about English translations since she taught English lessons. My conversations with her improved my French comprehension and vocabulary immensely. The staff at the IES center were amazing. They were clearly passionate about the subjects they taught, and it was obvious that they were patient enough to try and understand our not-so-perfect French, which gave us much needed confidence. IES offers a wide range of classes, but if you're looking for something they don't offer, it is still easy to take classes at the university instead of at the center. The curriculum offered was very thorough and was probably the source of most of my improvements in the French language, in terms of increasing my vocabulary and understanding of grammatical rules. The amount of students at IRS during my semester was fairly smaller than usual, but the social life did not make it seem that way. During orientation, the staff gave us more than enough opportunities to make friends that will last beyond our stay in France. The field trips included with the program also helped create these friendships and by the end of the semester, it saddened me to see all of my classmates leave.
During the last two months, huge protests would break out across France, many occurring in Nantes. Even though many of these protests- usually peaceful, but sometimes violent- would occur not even a block from my home or and IES center, the staff made sure we knew what to do in case anything happened. Anytime we travelled outside the city, we had to follow a strict protocol so they knew exactly where we were just in case something happened. No matter the circumstances, the staff made sure we always were safe and knew what do to and who to go to in case of emergency, which I greatly appreciated. In fact, one of my biggest worries about going abroad were my many dietary restrictions (vegetarian and severe food allergies). However, IES made sure that they were not a problem. For example, if we were all at a restaurant, the staff made sure I was able to eat a meal there or asked the chef to make a special plate just for me, and I was very thankful they took the time to do those things for me.

Overall, the IES Nantes program was fantastic and I could not think of one thing that could be improved. If you're looking for a true French immersion program, this is the only one you will need.

By: Iggy Takahashi
Nationality: American
Age: 22

IES Abroad in Dublin, Ireland = Time of My Life

My mother always told me it was important to study abroad to learn from different perspectives and gain knowledge from other parts of the world. The time I spent in Dublin during the fall of 2009 had a profound impact on me. I signed up to take classes at the Gaiety School of Acting where we learned Irish theatre history, dance, acting, and devised theatre. I recorded three journal books of my studies of all my notes, and I felt like my mind was expanding every day with new thoughts and ideas. Our final presentation as a class was a combination of our efforts in all the course which resulted in a original performance. The sources that I collected, and the notes I took we’re also used later that year in a major research paper that I wrote; IES Abroad provided a platform for me to explore parts of history in theatre and a country I would never have gained anywhere else. My peers and I were also encouraged by IES Abroad to get out there and explore Europe. During that time, I visited Galway, Belfast, Amsterdam, London, and even the north of England, which is where members of my extended family live. The performances we got to see of theatre in Dublin was just amazing; it was truly a sign that Ireland really cared about the arts, especially with the annual festival at holds in the fall. It felt like being home. And I learned how to become a more independent person was taking care of myself. Sometimes words cannot describe the full journey of you embarked on, but what I did in Dublin was truly magical every day and I will go back there in a heartbeat (and I will one day).

By: George
Nationality: White
Age: 29

IES European Union Semester Program

I pursued this program because I wanted to study in Germany, and this was the only English-speaking program my school offered. My choices were almost non-existent and I am grateful for that CONSTANTLY. To say I loved this program, the curriculum, the professors, the experience...would be a severe understatement. I learned more about the world that I ever could have if I’d just studied International Business in my American school. I had experiences that STILL make people jealous. I made friends that ended up all over this country that I still talk to today. I loved it so much, I extended my stay and did an internship with IES that was also mind-blowingly incredible. I have nothing bad to say. Do it. Absolute do this program.

By: Afton
Nationality: American
Age: 27

IES Milan: Excellent!

I am just finishing up my fall semester in Milan, Italy and I can’t say enough great things about not only my experience, but also about the IES staff. I want to touch on some different aspects of the program, but first and foremost, the IES Milan staff felt like family and truly cares about each student going home with an incredible experience!

Housing—There are three housing options: collegio (kind of like dorms, but you’re with many different international students, not just Americans or just Italians), apartments (you’re paired with up to five other IES students with an Italian community assistant), and homestay. I got to live in a homestay with a big Italian family, and that absolutely made the experience for me. Not everyone should live in a homestay depending on their goals and reasons for studying abroad, but if you’re looking for a true cultural experience and the opportunity for an Italian family for life, most of the other IES students in homestays have been more than pleased with their families. Please keep in mind that you aren’t guaranteed a family that speaks English! I was very fortunate to have a family of excellent English-speakers, but it is not a guarantee. If you speak Italian or want to have an “intensive” class at a homestay, living with an Italian family is a great option.

Classes—I did a full-time internship, so I can’t speak on the regular classes, but I really enjoyed my Italian 101 and Internship seminar. Apparently, IES Milan is one of the only programs that requires the Italian course (regardless of if you need the credits or not) which some students didn’t like, but overall it is a big selling-point for the program. Students who went to other programs in Italy where they didn’t learn any Italian felt less a part of the culture than those who were able to learn at least a little bit of the language. Adding another class is never “fun”, but it really enhances the overall experience! Another thing to note about classes is that many teachers are Italian, so the classes are run in more of an “Italian” way than American—the classes seem more unorganized, but it’s no fault of IES—that’s just how the Italian way of teaching seems compared to our university systems in the US!

Staff—Again, they were all great! They all knew my name, and took an interest in my journey. I was able to serve on the student council to help them improve the program, and they were always eager to hear praises and criticisms and suggestions to make everything better for future students. Many of the council’s suggestions were actually put into place, which was really nice to see happen!

I highly recommend studying with IES Abroad!

By: Allison
Nationality: USA
Age: 23

Paris: French Studies - Best semester of my life!

I studied abroad in Paris during the spring of 2016. As an Elementary Ed/French double major, I was advised that it would be extremely difficult to study abroad and still graduate, yet I decided to still go ahead and spend 4 months in the city I had been dreaming about for years. To this day, I consider this the best decision of my life, and the most life-changing one as well.

My experience abroad was nothing short of amazing. I stayed with a host family that treated me like their own daughter, and even had the opportunity to travel with them. My commute to school was long but wonderful, as I took the metro line with a direct view of the Eiffel Tower each day. The school is in the 14th, on a lovely little street full of fresh food stands and cute shops.

I also had the chance to do an internship in an international school, and this turned out to be a very positive experience. Teaching in this school, I realized that I want to teach internationally and hopefully live in France or Paris.

Now, I am finishing up my undergraduate degree in the states, and already applying to live in Paris next year. From my experience with IES, I was able to realize that I want to live abroad and continue my studies and career in France. Thank you IES for changing my life!

By: Juliana
Nationality: American
Age: 21

IES Abroad - Nantes

Studying abroad in Nantes with the IES program was the best decision I have made for my college education. I learned a lot, not only academically, but also about the culture and mostly about myself. The IES staff is really amazing and supportive and really good at organizing the program academically and also in terms of events and host-families - the host family and student matching is really well done. Highly recommend this program!

By: Martha
Nationality: Mexican-American
Age: 22

IES Abroad London

My semester with IES Abroad London was incredible! I was able to do an international internship, take great classes (including one at Oxford), and spend time exploring Jamaica as well. I recommend IES for study abroad because it's a well connected company. Blog posts you write for them will be seen by students all over the world, and they have cool competitions like a video competition and an award for student of the year which are fun to try for. My only complaint was that my program did not have any British students, just American. But the British staff was amazing and now I have friends across the US.

By: Angela Pupino
Nationality: American
Age: 22

Study Abroad

Studied abroad in London, England in January 2016. Such an incredible experience. I would recommend this program to anyone who is interested in studying abroad. They have great staff, advisors, and programs in place that will help any student succeed. If you ever have any questions or issues, they are always there to answer and support the students!

By: Dustin
Nationality: USA
Age: 22


I can’t say enough good things about this program. I had many friends studying in Rome and none of the programs compared to IES. Housing was excellent and students are either placed in a homestay or in an apartment with other students, including an Italian student. The school is across the river from Castel Santangelo and most classes incorporate the City into the learning. This means there is less time in the classroom and more time hands on learning. I could go on and on, but just know that if you choose this program you won’t regret it.

By: Nina
Nationality: USA
Age: 25

Galápagos Islands - The Enchanted Islands

The people of the Galápagos Islands call their home "Las Islas Encantadas" or the Enchanted Islands and it is completely true. I went on the GAIAS semester-long program, and it was the most magical, life changing experience. Studying abroad on a tiny island nearly a thousand miles away from mainland is a very unique experience. I became completely immersed and fell in love with the culture, the people, and the everyday life there. The program provided an amazing class structure with so much out of the classroom learning, and really threw us into the country of Ecuador in the best way. The organized trips to the Amazon rainforest, the mountains, the cloud forest, and Galapagos were absolutely incredible and unforgettable. I always felt safe, cared for by the coordonators, and part of a family with the other students in the program.

By: Kelsey
Nationality: USA
Age: 24

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