Why Choose IFSA?
Study abroad is a big commitment. We help you make the most of it. That’s our purpose.
Why IFSA at a glance
- Not-for-profit: focused on students, not shareholders
- Personalized support: respecting each student as an individual
- Extensive financial support: enhancing access to study abroad
- High-quality, individualized education: connections to leading institutions plus IFSA-led instruction
- Inclusive excellence: research-driven best practices and design
- Collaborative partnership: mentoring and coaching
At IFSA we think about study abroad differently. You’ll often hear that study abroad is all about opening the door to an exciting and rewarding experience, focusing on the places you’ll go and the things you’ll learn. That’s true—but to us, it’s only half of the picture.
We exist to help every student get the most out of the life-changing journey that is study abroad. That means putting you first, always. It’s about providing the individualized support you need when you need it, the independence to explore, and curated programs and experiences specifically designed to enrich your education, help you grow as a person, and prepare you for life after college… wherever that may take you.
We’re not-for-profit. That makes us different.
With no shareholders to satisfy, we’re free to reinvest in support, programs, and students. That translates directly into greater access to high-quality study abroad opportunities and life experiences.
Making study abroad work for you is our priority
We value your unique identity, and we’re here to help you pursue your own chosen path. That’s why we emphasize meeting you where you are and being attentive to your goals, strengths, needs, and concerns. In this way we can help you be your authentic self while abroad, while challenging you to push your boundaries and engage in ways you might not if you were on your own.
We work hard to foster a sense of belonging overseas. Our experienced, student-centered staff are more than the face of IFSA: they serve as personally invested coaches and mentors, dedicated to delivering you the support you need to make your study abroad experience the best it can be—rewarding, fulfilling, and impactful.
We bring you a higher level of support
You’ll find on-site IFSA staff to be approachable, personally engaged, and available when you need them. They have the tools, knowledge, local connections, and experience to help you pursue your interests and passions… and to help you navigate any challenges you may have during your time abroad, large or small.
We’re committed to equity
Historically, most students fortunate enough to study abroad have gotten the chance because they had the resources to afford it. We believe that’s fundamentally unfair: study abroad is a life-enriching experience that should be available to everyone.
We lower the barriers to study abroad in many ways. Our own IFSA programs set us apart by offering an accessible and affordable path for students who may not be able to take advantage of direct enrollment at an overseas university.
All our programs are structured to level the playing field. A growing trend in study abroad is to offer a low base price while charging for extras such as excursions. Our programs are all-inclusive. There are no haves and have-nots: every student gets equal access to opportunities for cultural enrichment and education—and every student gets the support they need.
We do more to provide equal access
As an organization, we offer financial support to a larger proportion of our students than any other, through scholarships, grants, and financial aid.
Come to us for a quality education
Our aim is to connect you to opportunities that maximize growth, learning, and skill acquisition in the way that works best for you. That means purposefully designing, and individually curating, programs and experiences that help you to understand the wonder, complexity, and context of local cultures. It also means access to some of the world’s best institutions plus our own high-quality IFSA-taught courses that spark connections and insights.
Because of our standing in the study abroad community and our deep understanding of higher education in the U.S. and abroad, we have forged strong links to some of the most prestigious universities in the world. All institutions place caps on study abroad students; we have the privilege of larger allocations than other organizations. For those looking to study at a premier university such as Oxford or Cambridge, IFSA offers greater access.
With IFSA, you earn credits you can use
Because of our association with Butler University, a top-50 institution in Indianapolis, Indiana, credits earned through IFSA study abroad programs are recognized by and fully transferrable to your home college or university.
We maximize the real-world impact of study abroad
We offer a vast array of educational opportunities all over the world: hundreds of programs, thousands of courses, with a wide range of experiences. These include traditional academics and excursions, along with experiential learning opportunities that can help you after graduation such as internships, directed research, community-based learning, student teaching, and volunteering.
You can also choose to take advantage of our unique Career Accelerators, an applied-learning approach designed to answer the question “What can I do with my degree?” Through Career Accelerators, we help you bridge the gap between academia and the real world by developing the skills that will enable you to thrive in the workplace, and gain practical experience that makes you a stronger candidate when you start to build a career.
Research-driven inclusive excellence
We know how powerful an impact study abroad can have on your life both during college and after graduation. That’s why we focus on maximizing that impact by basing our work on higher-education research and best practices in areas such as diversity, equity, and inclusion, along with educational approaches that foster academic success.
We’re more than a provider—we’re your partner
Study abroad is a significant investment and often, students and families lack the knowledge to make the best choices. As part of our process, we meet you where you are in your personal and academic journey to learn more about your goals, interests, and preferences so we can guide you to the most enriching opportunities. It’s a practice of active listening called Appreciative Advising, and it’s something at which we excel.
Your advisor works with you to help create a roadmap, coaching you to help you think through priorities, tradeoffs, and your plan of action. They share what they learn with the resident staff in-country so they’re able to connect you with information and networks on the ground that allow you to make the most of your time abroad. The staff checks in regularly, and you always have someone to talk to—someone who has your best interests in mind, and is empowered to act.
IFSA is purposeful study abroad designed for you
We individualize your experience to match your strengths and preferences, leveraging our local knowledge and networks to connect you to the best opportunities for enrichment. In this way, we spark interest and inspiration while keeping you on track academically.