Designed to Deliver: Custom Programs with IFSA
April 16, 2021
We know that studying abroad isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience, and to further our individualized learning approach, IFSA is pleased to offer custom and faculty-led program support to our partners. Together, we can co-create a program that is tailor-made for your students that aligns seamlessly with your institution’s goals and academic plan — whether that means creating a program together, or using a Ready to Go! program template.
Open Doors data shows that the majority of students studying abroad are participating on short-term programs, and the rate of participation has increased significantly in recent years. Just as the field in general has seen an increase in custom programs, the number of custom programs supported by IFSA has grown by more than 130 percent since 2014.
What does the custom program creation process actually look like? Our in-house custom program team has been assisting with custom and faculty-led programming at IFSA for nearly a decade. As a result, we’ve built expertise that helps us address all your questions. “It’s easy to get started. Just complete the online request form on our website or schedule a call with me to discuss your ideas,” explains Emily Beck, IFSA Director of Custom and Collaborative Programs.
Typically, there are four phases of co-creating a program and IFSA provides deep experience and insider knowledge at every step:
“We helped Portland Community College put together a successful program in Ireland a few years ago, with a focus on Irish culture, folklore, and folk medicine. It was memorable not only because we were able to use our expertise and connections and their vision for learning objectives, but also because we could see our organizational commitments to inclusive excellence and individualized learning in action by supporting a cohort of non-traditional students including a 70-year-old student with a walker,” said Beck. The program included the tailor-made, immersive experiences of collecting plants with an Irish herbalist, visiting with residents of a local village community hospital, and hiking in Gougane Barra in search of faery trees and holy wells. This Portland Community College program is just one example of the many ways that IFSA can work with partners to achieve a successful customized program.
Templates to the Rescue
Our new Ready to Go! program templates make this process even easier for you, your office, and your faculty members. These two-week program templates have been crafted by our team to deliver IFSA’s local expertise, meaningful co-curricular activities, and academic and logistical support, all while leaving plenty of room for inserting your institution’s learning objectives and faculty class plans. Here’s an example of a template for Engineering in Shanghai, a customizable program in China. See all the available locations and templates here.
IFSA’s local resident staff were instrumental in identifying themes and content for our Ready to Go! Programs. This provided them the opportunity to highlight an academic discipline that could be well-situated in their site, and creatively showcase how their local networks can help faculty envision and develop impactful programs abroad.
Together with your vision and our expertise, we can design a program that will deliver a powerful learning experience for your students. Get started by submitting a custom program interest form.