A Promise That Sets Us Apart
There’s more to study abroad than exploring new places.
Preparing students to make meaningful contributions doesn’t happen by accident. That’s why we weave in a commitment to success in four areas—inclusive excellence, individualized learning, intercultural agility, and enduring impact—through every part of the study abroad process.
At IFSA, we consider where your students come from, not just where they are going. Welcoming people of all communities, identities, and abilities enriches our discussions and enhances study abroad for everyone.
From creative funding to individualized support, our approach gives access to more students, ensures that students choose program locations with personal identity in mind, and removes the barriers that stand between them and a transformative experience.
When we work hard to engage the whole student, acknowledging the diverse identities and abilities they bring to our learning communities, everybody wins.
No two student journeys are alike, which is why we tailor support to meet each student’s needs. From first interaction through program completion, we help each student pursue their academic, personal, and professional goals.
This starts far before students step on a plane. Each student meets with an IFSA advisor to articulate these goals into learning plans. These plans give us a fuller understanding of our students and their individual strengths, so we meet students where they are, using their unique qualities to fuel growth and learning.
It’s a holistic approach, limited only by each student’s curiosity and interests, and it enables students to both achieve goals and grow in unexpected ways.
Meaning and value come from cultural immersion not typically found with conventional travel. That’s why our trained staff provide so much more than health and safety support and logistical guidance.
Having staff on-site all over the globe plus an intentional approach to engaging students through reflection makes a difference. Whether students are in London or Lima, they have opportunities to explore, understand, and articulate cultural differences—and similarities—in meaningful ways. This gives them skills they can continue to use long after their study abroad program ends.
How do we provide students with experiences that accelerate and deepen learning, so they have significant and lasting impact? By maximizing opportunities for learning in everything we do, from student engagement to program design to alumni support.
Meaningful student experiences do more than enhance learning—they also shape lives. That’s why it’s important for our teams to think about what happens after study abroad and be ready to help students use their experiences to springboard into meaningful lives after college.
Intangibles only go so far
For years, this has meant helping students recognize and highlight the abstract skills they develop abroad—self-confidence, independence, problem-solving ability, resourcefulness, communication, and of course, intercultural understanding, appreciation, and agility. Indeed, employers and community influencers generally associate study abroad on a resume with strength in these areas—but stating them isn’t the same as demonstrating them.
Meeting employer needs
Study abroad can tell an even more complete and compelling story. With the right elements in place, our programs become opportunities to add the concrete skills and knowledge today’s employers need and look for, including:
- Language competency
- Leadership skills
- Hands-on experience completing meaningful projects, through internships, group business challenges, and the like, with coaching that ensures students internalize lessons
Study abroad programs with these components are not only geared for more significant career impact, they make it easy for students to show employers the value of their experience, simply by sharing their resumes.
Some of our programs—including IFSA Career Accelerators—already include these elements. And as we design new programs and improve existing offerings, we’re looking for opportunities to incorporate more of these skill-builders, making study abroad even more valuable and giving students still more tools to lead the purpose-filled lives they envision.
For sure, it’s exciting to think of the doors that will open for our students and the meaningful impact they can make in our communities and workplaces with this comprehensive set of skills.