We provide each student with an experience that accelerates their learning—and helps them accomplish in weeks and months what others aspire to over the course of years. This anchors every decision we make and underpins our student engagement, innovative program design, and alumni support, all of which are thoughtfully constructed to maximize opportunities for lifelong learning. Study abroad is inherently fun; when combined with IFSA’s intentional engagement, students create meaningful experiences that last a lifetime.

Student gathering before a rowing practice
Student with outstretched arms

Studying abroad carries with it ample promise of exciting, transformative experiences. However, there are some very difficult aspects of navigating a new culture. In working with our Global Ambassadors Program, I unpack some of these harder topics with students who join IFSA as ambassadors.

One of our Ambassador Student Advisors had just returned from South America and wanted to focus her written reflection project on the harassment she experienced abroad. In her first draft, she wrote about being catcalled and stared at on the subway by men. In dialogue with me and our health and safety team, each draft she wrote took on a deeper, richer understanding of her own identity and the cultural frameworks behind people’s behavior.

This process afforded her the time and support she needed to reflect, explore, and grow. In her latest email, she wrote that even after experiencing some of the most intense challenges of living abroad, she would return with IFSA again and again.

Kira Rysiewicz | IFSA Field Director


“Sometimes when you’re in the ‘majority,’ you have the privilege of never thinking of yourself as cultured.” As international educators, we often attempt to dismantle oppression by creating opportunity for those outside the highest echelons of power and influence. But, what might happen if those who inhabit society’s most advantaged spaces began to understand and acknowledge their own privilege? Could it help to dismantle the system from the inside-out? In this provocative Ed Talk, Dr. James Lucas of Michigan State University discusses his study abroad research with scenarios from the hyper-masculine culture of campus fraternities. Breaking students out of “the man box” to discover their own identities and interrogate gender constraints not only presents potential for greater understanding, but the enduring impact of shared responsibility to systemic change

Enhancing Inclusion Through Privilege Ed Talk Video
ABOUT THE PRESENTER: James M. Lucas works in the Office of Undergraduate Education at Michigan State University as Assistant Dean for Global Education and Curriculum. In this capacity, he consults with campus departments to connect curricula to the institution’s learning outcomes, develop assessment methods, and create experiential opportunities. He also co-coordinates MSU’s first-year seminar abroad program, teaches classes, and leads a summer program to Australia related to sustainability. James completed his Ph.D., in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education with foci on global education and curriculum development. His dissertation investigated male student participation in study abroad, leading him to create a program for cis-gendered fraternity men to discuss leadership and masculinity.

Unpacked: Student Stories

In their own words, students explore the Enduring Impact of their study abroad experience with IFSA.
enduring impact at IFSA

Margaret Riodran | Hamilton College
Argentine Universities Program
Argentina | Spring 2018

“Unlike a normal class atmosphere, I was simultaneously learning and applying that knowledge in real world, professional settings, all while improving my Spanish speaking and writing.”

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enduring impact at IFSA

Erica Copenhaver | Vanderbilt University
Contemporary India Program
India | Spring 2019

“I have been able to talk about my experience working in a prosthetics center abroad in many interviews and applications. The uniqueness and value of my experience has really given me a leg up in my chosen career path.”

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For more student stories, check out Unpacked: Student Stories.

Explore IFSA’s Other Commitments

Inclusive Excellence
Inclusive Excellence at IFSA

We consider where your students are coming from, not just where they are going to study abroad.

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Individualized Learning
Individualized Learning at IFSA

No two student journeys are alike, so we tailor our support to meet each student’s unique needs.

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Intercultural Agility
Intercultural Agility at IFSA

Meaning and value come from cultural immersion and contextual understanding not found in travel alone.

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Reach Out To Us
Contact the local emergency number provided to you during orientation or local authorities. For non-emergencies, reach out to resident staff during office hours.
Our health and safety staff are located globally to assist you in the event of an emergency. For assistance, you can reach a crisis manager at the following number, 24/7:

1 (866) 726-9540