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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 should have the opportunity to go abroad—especially in a fun, safe, and superior academic and cultural environment.

From our headquarters in Chicago to our 35 locations and the staff on-site, we all work toward the common goal of providing mind-bending, life-changing, opinion-altering study abroad opportunities.

We’re not ashamed to admit we’re a little bit obsessed with study abroad.


33 W. Monroe St.
Suite 2300
Chicago, IL 60603-5405
United States


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I was searching for a study abroad experience that would allow me to study what I am interested in, travel to multiple places, and have experiences that I could not plan/afford as a college student. The IES European Union program offered me all of these opportunities. We traveled to seven countries during 22 days of the program, where we attended talks specialized to our academic interests. The program also organized city tours for us, and we stayed in hotels close to the middle of the cities.

In Freiburg, I lived in a seven person suite, and the rest of my suitemates were German. This offered me opportunities to immerse myself in German culture, and also allowed me more exposure to the language.

The additional IES EU field trips allowed me to visit countries and environments I would not have had access to otherwise. The two most popular field trips they offered my semester were a tour of castles in Germany, and a beautiful hike in Switzerland. They always arranged a tour and transportation, and so it was a stress-free and highly enjoyable experience each time.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience, and matched all the aspects I was looking for in a study abroad program!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
They tell you the countries and cities you will visit ahead of time, so do your research before and figure out all the places you want to see there! Makes it a lot more fun and a lot less stressful than doing it close to the travel dates.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Being a smaller, lesser known city than a lot of other study abroad options, I thought Freiburg facilitated a more authentic cultural experience. I didn’t know any German before I went on the program (which is not a problem because mostly everyone speaks english) but by the end of the trip I was able to ask basic questions and read a whole menu/order at cafes just by being surrounded by it. IES is great at giving you all the information you need to get around and familiarize yourself and you also make friends extremely fast!
Freiburg is in a great location for traveling around Europe, it is the sunniest spot in Germany and there is so so much to do outside (go swimming, hikes, bike rides, concerts in nearby towns, biergartens), the public transportation is amazing and affordable, and you are always surrounded by the Black Forest and expansive fields/orchards to have a picnic in. Freiburg is a perfect size to be able to get to know in a semester and by the end it really felt like a second home to me because there is a strong community feeling there. There's local student spots that hold a lot of events and do a great job including international students. It is so easy and fun to meet people from all over the world! Live music is plenty downtown. Really cool opportunities to get involved in local volunteering, sustainability, or artistic initiatives. Classes were super informative and applicable to real-world sustainability work, not to mention interesting. All the IES instructors were really knowledgable, kind, and approachable.
Fun things to do are cooking big dinners in someones flat, going to a german Bathhouse, or taking weekend trips to other european cities, but the best thing about this specific program which I think a lot of people who go abroad to other places do not experience is the incredible beauty that we got to see. From the Swiss Alps to the Vosges Mountains in France to the surrounding Black Forest towns, you are seeing beautiful landscapes continuously throughout this program and hiking a lot. I learned so much about sustainability and practicing a green lifestyle which I could have only adopted by being in a green-focused environment. Freiburg is a really special place.

Yes, I recommend this program
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I cannot say enough good things about my experience studying abroad in Sydney, Australia last semester. From the amazing people I met to the incredible places I explored and unbelievable experiences I had, my time down under was everything I hoped it would be and so much more, and my decision to study abroad was one of the best I have ever made. Before embarking last July, I had never even stepped foot in the southern hemisphere, so Australia was a giant leap beyond any adventure I had ever lived before. I knew little about the culture, the geography, or really anything about the country for that matter beyond what I had heard about kangaroos, koalas, and surfing paradises. So when I hopped off the plane in Sydney, I was ready for anything. Meeting my program mates at the airport, driving through the center of Sydney on the way to University of Sydney's campus, and an amazing harbor cruise later, within just a few short hours I felt like I had already gotten to know Sydney, and it already felt like home. The first few weeks were spent exploring everything Sydney has to offer, and it didn't disappoint. From lazy beach days at Bondi and Manly to thrift shopping in Chinatown and experiencing Sydney's incredible nightlife, it didn't take long for me to fall in love with a city I had only dreamt of a month earlier. IES organized hikes for us in the Blue Mountains and Royal National Park, allowing us to get a glimpse of the stunning scenery and landscapes set just miles outside of the contrasting concrete jungle of Sydney's downtown. Once we had settled in to our new home and gotten in to a rhythm with our classes, it was time to venture beyond and explore what the rest of Australia had to offer! Our first big weekend trip of the semester was to Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, a true tropical paradise that makes for a relaxing weekend of pristine beaches and unwinding. Not to mention we got to hold a Koala, something you can't do in most parts of Australia! This first trip started a run of weekends on the go, from the amazing landscapes and hiking in Tasmania to learning (somewhat) how to surf in Woolongong and ending up in Fiji for mid-semester break. Fiji was the kind of place I had always heard about and I thought it would be super cool to go there, but the thought never even crossed my mind that I would actually go there. So to be jumping off the rooftop of Cloud 9 into the crystal clear Pacific Ocean only 2 months after arriving down under was one of the most surreal experiences I have been lucky enough to ever have. After returning back from Fiji, it was really nice to be able to have a few weeks back in Sydney. I found that no matter where we traveled, I always looked forward to being back in Sydney and being able to make the most of my time there. Walking around Circular Quay, taking the ferry to Watson's Bay, stopping through the Botanical gardens: there really is anything available to you that you could want. Next up was a trip to Melbourne for the weekend, an equally unreal city, and a viewing of the Melbourne soccer derby between Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory. We unknowingly purchased tickets for the Melbourne City away section, but ended up making the right decision as City came out with a hard fought victory (no pun intended). With the weeks flying by, and our trip to Melbourne complete, before we knew it classes were over and Study Vacation rolled around, which we used, instead of gearing up with finals, to road trip around New Zealand's South Island for the week. And believe me when I tell you there is no more beautiful place in the world than New Zealand. We had planned out the destinations we wanted to hit, but just the driving there was in some ways more amazing. Rolling hills set against towering mountains in the distance turned into serene glacial lakes and dense forests. Hiking to the top of tall peaks in Wanaka and checking out the nightlife in Queenstown, we saw as much as we could in our short time there, and before long it was back to Sydney for exams. Studying hard for the next few days, I didn't really have time to reflect much on my semester, but once I walked out of my last exam, it hit me that my time abroad was coming to an end. I had seen so much, yet it felt like it had gone by in the blink of an eye. In my last few days, as I started saying goodbye to the people I had grown so close to over the past few months, I couldn't help but feel an overwhelming sense of sadness that I would have to leave my favorite place. But as I prepared to depart back to the US, I left a piece of myself on campus, in the sands of Bondi, and everywhere that I was lucky enough to call home for those few months. As sad as I was to leave, and as much as I miss Australia every single day, I know someday I'll be back, and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to Study Abroad. I would encourage absolutely anyone to make the same choice I did, as there really is no other experience like it. It was the adventure of my lifetime, and it could be for you, too.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing that I think could be improved about the experience was the class registration process, which was a little bit confusing for incoming study abroad students.
Yes, I recommend this program
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This is experience was an incredible way to try something new. I really pushed myself to explore things I had never done before. With the support there to catch me when I would fall and stumble, I was given the unique opportunity to do what I wanted without the fear of being on my own if I needed help. I made life-long friends, travelled to places I had never even heard of and tried to make the most of 4 short months in a new environment. I especially liked feeling more and more like a local as the days and weeks went on. Arriving as a total tourist in Amsterdam, I began to learn more about the parts of the city that one does when you have the time to explore. I particularly loved how easy it was to get around in Amsterdam and the rest of Europe. Cycling is a must when living in Amsterdam. You really get to appreciate the gorgeous scenery so much more on a bike. There are cheap flights to all the capitals of Europe that you can visit. The main struggle is trying to appreciate studying in Amsterdam and at the same time, make the most of travelling Europe. As long as you try to push yourself to try new things and get out of your comfort zone, you are guaranteed to have an amazing time abroad.

Yes, I recommend this program
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My experience with the IES Abroad Program in Milan, Italy was absolutely incredible! When I first started to look through my university's study abroad programs, I didn't see many for music. So when a friend pointed out IES Abroad's music programs in Vienna and Milan, I was immediately excited. Both Italy and Vienna can be considered birthplaces for music, as many important composers of the past were born or have worked there. I knew I couldn't pass these experiences up. Many of my friends also decided to apply to the same program, which made it even more exciting. The months after we were all accepted were a whirlwind. Finally, the day came to leave for Milan.
Arriving in Milan, I felt anxious but excited overall. When I arrived at the apartment where I would spend the next 3 month of my life, I was really impressed. The housing was in a really nice area with a historical landmark just down the street. My CA was also very welcoming and friendly.
Most of my classes were at the IES Abroad Center, except for my music lesson and orchestra. The teachers were all very friendly and very willing to help, especially my Italian Language professor. I really enjoyed every class I took, and I can say that I learned a lot in each class. Don't expect to be able to coast through the semester just because you're abroad.
Overall, I truly had a wonderful time in Milan, and I miss it every day, especially now since I am back at my home university. The memories I have mad in Milan will stay with me and throughout my life.

Yes, I recommend this program


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