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CIEE Offers Most Study Abroad Options for STEM Students

CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange has committed to offering the most study abroad program options for students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in response to growing popularity among U.S. undergraduates.

STEM – and STEM education – is more globally relevant today than ever before and vital to our future. Students studying STEM disciplines are on the front lines of solving critical world issues, working to find solutions for global warming, cancer, hunger, disappearing habitats, clean water, and more. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 30 percent of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the U.S. in 2012-2013 were for STEM disciplines. That same year, study abroad participation by STEM students rose to 23 percent, a nearly two percent increase over the previous year.

To meet this growing demand, CIEE offers 104 study abroad programs with STEM course options in 47 locations worldwide. Thirty-six are designed specifically for STEM students, allowing them to fulfill academic requirements while gaining critical global perspective. Programs include Sustainability and the Environment in Monteverde, Cost Rica; Community Public Health in Gaborone, Botswana; Engineering, Technology, and Society in Dublin, Ireland; and Tropical Marine Ecology and Conservation in Kralendijk, Bonaire. Beginning in spring 2016, CIEE will also offer a new Global Sustainability and Environment program in three global centers for innovation in sustainability – Berlin, Cape Town, and Shanghai – which will allow environmental studies students to earn credits toward their degree and enhance their global knowledge.

“STEM is most effective when it draws from all relevant sources, and these sources span the globe. To be cutting edge or even competitive, STEM students need an international understanding of different cultures and communities and how to apply technologies and ideas within a cultural framework,” said Maritheresa Frain, CIEE’s interim executive vice president, Study Abroad, and vice president for academic affairs. “On CIEE programs, STEM students gain this critical framework while taking part in fieldwork and research and by learning from leaders and innovators. They return home with a stronger, deeper knowledge of their chosen curriculum and the world around them.”

CIEE offers program options for every student, regardless of their major. From immersive semester-long programs to intensive, short-term summer, January, and May sessions, CIEE’s STEM portfolio accommodates students’ demanding schedules and rigorous academic requirements.

“By offering programs at different times of year and for various lengths, we hope to help more students gain access to life-changing international experiences,” said CIEE President and Chief Executive Officer James P. Pellow, Ed.D. “For many students – especially those in the STEM fields – studying abroad during the semester isn’t possible due to rigorous curricula and schedules. With CIEE, students can choose the timing and duration of the program that best meets their needs and academic requirements, ensuring they stay on track for graduation while gaining important personal and professional skills in a real-world setting.”

Through its commitment to Generation Study Abroad™, a five-year initiative developed by the Institute of International Education, CIEE has pledged to break down the main barriers to study abroad – cost, curriculum, and culture – with concrete solutions, helping to double the number of American students who study abroad to 600,000 by the year 2020.

Learn more about all of CIEE's STEM program options at


A Parent’s Perspective: On Studying Abroad in Tanzania

For many parents, the concept of studying abroad can be unfamiliar and overwhelming. This is particularly true when their child is interested in studying in a nontraditional location or in a developing country: how will they ensure that their child is safe during their time abroad?

When Joanna and Philippe See’s daughter Caroline expressed interest in studying abroad in Africa, Joanna was supportive of her daughter’s desires, but with one condition: that Caroline would study abroad through a CIEE program. In high school, Caroline went abroad through the CIEE South Korea Scholarship program, where she had an ‘absolutely amazing’ experience and discovered a passion for different cultures. In college, Caroline began studying sociology, which led her to pursue a semester abroad in Iringa, Tanzania, located in eastern Africa, through CIEE. 


Caroline (center) with her parents in Tanzania.

Joanna says that her household has always been internationally focused; her husband, Philippe, is from France, and they have hosted international high school students during the school year. Joanna and Philippe travelled to Tanzania to visit her daughter during her semester abroad, and had the opportunity to see the region through her daughter’s eyes. “She took us through a lot of the highlights of her CIEE program,” Joanna recalls. They went on a safari in a national park, toured the university, and met with the resident director of the Iringa program. 


Caroline and her family in Tanzania.  

        “During Caroline’s time abroad with CIEE – both in Korea and in Tanzania – she felt an ‘automatic acceptance’ into the new cultures and ways of communicating."

Caroline had studied Swahili prior to departing for Tanzania, and became fluent in the language during her time abroad. Joanna says that it was an incredible experience to see her daughter in a new element. “She thrives in foreign cultures,” she says, “she absolutely loves to travel, and has fallen in love with Africa.” Caroline struggles with some learning challenges, and Joanna says that during Caroline’s time abroad with CIEE – both in Korea and in Tanzania – she felt an ‘automatic acceptance’ into the new cultures and ways of communicating. “[Caroline] says that she finds a certain level of automatic forgiveness with being abroad,” she explains, “and it’s changed her world, she’s become more sure of herself, and just makes her want to see more and do more and learn more languages and meet more people.”

This summer, Caroline has returned to Tanzania to volunteer with the Igoda Children’s Village, a safe haven for orphans and vulnerable children from 0-18 years of age, and to conduct interviews for her senior thesis on NGOs and healthcare in Africa. After graduation, Caroline plans to work and live in Africa. “It’s a long flight,” Joanna laughs, “but it’s so worth it.” 

CIEE is committed to increasing access to international exchange opportunities for everyone, including students with disabilities. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and in partnership with Mobility International USA (MIUSA), we’re awarding 25 scholarships to students to enroll in CIEE study abroad programs. 


CIEE Opens Doors to Study Abroad with More Short-Term Sessions

CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange is expanding short-term study abroad offerings to increase access to international education opportunities for U.S. undergraduates of all academic disciplines and majors. Beginning in 2016, the leading nonprofit international education and exchange organization will offer 36 new study abroad sessions in January and May to help ensure every student has the chance to study abroad.

Each three-and-a-half week session will offer students international experience and academic credit without impacting on-campus schedules or summer plans. January programs will be held during universities’ winter breaks, and May programs will be offered following the end of the academic year but prior to the start of traditional summer programs.

Each session is priced affordably at under $3,000. Eligible students will have access to scholarships and grants to further help defray the costs of studying abroad.

“Every student should have the chance to study abroad. Research shows that studying abroad helps to increase academic success, graduation rates, and post-graduate placements in jobs and graduate schools. By offering more sessions in more intervals, we help students of all academic majors and challenging schedules to participate,” said CIEE President and Chief Executive Officer James P. Pellow, Ed.D. “If a pre-med student has a rigorous academic schedule or a student athlete has a schedule that doesn’t allow them to be away from campus for a semester, they can instead take short-term programs in January during winter break, in May after the traditional year ends, or during the summer. They’ll gain critical international experience and stay on track for graduation – a win-win for both the students and their institutions.”

Session themes will include business, liberal arts, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) topics, such as culture and reproductive health in Ghana and sustainable development in the tropics in Costa Rica. Students complete one course tied to the session theme, go on excursions to sites of cultural or historical significance related to the theme, and take part in activities focused on immersion in the local culture.

“For example, students on CIEE’s January Communications, New Media, and Journalism session in Prague, Czech Republic, take a course on the power of social media, visit local media like Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, and meet with Charles University students,” continued Pellow. “Every component of the new sessions is designed to work together to provide students with maximum learning and cultural immersion in a short timeframe.”

By expanding short-term sessions, CIEE is taking the next step in its commitment to Generation Study Abroad™, a five-year initiative developed by the Institute of International Education. CIEE has pledged to break down the main barriers to study abroad – cost, curriculum, and culture – to help double the number of American students who study abroad to 600,000 by the year 2020.

Seeing Amman through the eyes of Access The World Scholarship Recipient, Lauren Distler

The city of Amman is built almost entirely out of white sandstone, so when viewed from from a distance it looks like outcroppings of rock on the hillsides.

Amman scene

The Roman colosseum in Amman, where events and concerts are still held today: 


Jordanian Independance Day Band:


A mosque downtown:


Many of my favorite memories come from the trips we took--

Floating in the Dead Sea:

Amman 4

Umm Qais:
Riding through the Hippodrome in the ancient city of Umm Qais:

Amman 5

Umm Qais, Old and New:

Amman 7


Pictures completely fail to capture the beauty of the Hagia Sophia, or the awe one feels walking around in a place suffused with so much human history.

Hagia Sophia

Amman 8

Learning to cook Turkish food:

Amman 9

Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque):

Amman 11

Sultanahmet lit up at night- one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Those pinpricks of light you see are actually birds wheeling in the sky about the mosque, their wings illuminated from below: Amman 12


One of the most interesting things I came across in Petra was a church carved into the cliffside. Having been in Istanbul the week before, it was fascinating to compare the church's austere elegance with the opulence of places like the Hagia Sophia. Two very different structures built for the same purpose.

The church in Petra:

Amman 13

Inside the Hagia Sophia:

Amman 14

Wadi Rum:
   My favorite memory of the whole trip was when we were in Wadi Rum (which translates to "Rock Valley"), this place in the desert that used to be the floor of an ocean millennia ago. At some point there was an earthquake that drained the ocean, leaving behind a desert and these /huge/ sedimentary rock formations that rise out of the sand like jagged towers. During the day we rode camels and 4x4s around the desert, got these awesome meals from the bedouin tribe we were staying with, watched the sun set, etc; but what I really was looking forward to was when the stars came out. After nightfall a couple of friends and I hiked back out of the camp and climbed up one of the rock formations (I got a couple of nice scrapes and bruises from that but it was worth it). There was the road in the distance, and a couple of camps dotting the landscape below, but other than that there was no source of light pollution for miles and miles. Laying back on the rocks there were so many stars above that it was difficult to pick out the familiar constellations from among the thousands of glowing pinpricks. To my right, low in the sky, one could make out the big dipper; to my left, the hazy clouds of the milky way. If you thought about it right you could see the sky as curving above you, a glittering dome stretching from horizon to horizon.
   Telling this story, a friend asked me if seeing the cosmos made me feel small. I replied that no, if anything witnessing that vast beauty above me reinforced the delight I find in the idea that, through pure chance and probability (atoms bumping against each other), the universe created something with which it could observe itself.

Amman 15

The desert at sunset:

Amman 16

CIEE and Mobility International USA are partnering to offer motivated and high-achieving U.S. college students with disabilities the opportunity to study abroad!

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of President George H.W. Bush's signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in July 1990, CIEE is awarding 25 scholarships to students to enroll in CIEE study abroad programs.



Access the World Scholarship Recipient Reflects on her Study Abroad Experience!

First and foremost, I want to say thank you to CIEE for allowing me to to experience study abroad during the summer of 2015, Session 1 in France through the “Access the World Scholarship”.  I realized that I can survive traveling alone internationally, since this was my first time ever traveling fully across the Atlantic Ocean and going to Europe. I went to Paris twice on my own and Amsterdam for a day.  I really learned a lot in the class on European Integration on the politics, policy, law and on the culture of France and the E.U. The teachers were very in tune with the material. I loved the way they were able to put the information together in ways that I was able to retain, via readings out loud, smart board, videos, conversations, and more. I felt that knowing the politics and culture really helped me understand France more while I was there. I learned from my host family more ways to eat healthy and realized that self-care and taking time instead of rushing while eating is crucial. I also, liked the excursions to the other places in France (Carcassonne and Collioure).   Within Toulouse I enjoyed eating macaroons and making dinner with my host family.   During the "ICE" Weekend in Madrid I was able to taste different cuisines, speak more fluently and meet students from other programs. I liked the Survival French class that I took.   The teacher was able to teach me words that I needed to use for going to restaurants and asking for directions. Also, I was able to write things down phonetically in order to communicate in French. I liked the experience of seeing how the culture and food is different from the United States in a good way. I miss the price of organic food and the transportation in France. I also liked the fact that I got to meet other people either previous students from the semester course and to speak with people from the city in Toulouse. Last but not least, I would like to thank all the people involved in CIEE Toulouse for being aware of my food restrictions and for giving me advice on where to go to eat for lunch and where to buy food. I found places like Vietnamese restaurants and other organic natural restaurants that serve gluten free and dairy free thanks to their advice.    20150616_185205

A carousal in Toulose


Study trip to Airbus in Toulouse to learn about the aviation industry


Jardin de Plantes


CIEE and Mobility International USA are partnering to offer motivated and high-achieving U.S. college students with disabilities the opportunity to study abroad!

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of President George H.W. Bush's signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in July 1990, CIEE is awarding 25 scholarships to students to enroll in CIEE study abroad programs.


CIEE Study Abroad Alumni Shares Advice to Students with Disabilities

In the spring of 2009, I studied abroad in Rennes, France with CIEE. Despite my every desire to study abroad in Paris, Rennes proved to be more wheelchair accessible and easier to navigate. With admittedly some hesitation, I embarked on what ended up being the best five months of my life. Studying abroad in general is an incredibly humbling experience. I learned so much about myself through both challenges and incomparable adventure. My goal while I was abroad was to have an experience like the rest of my peers. I lived with a host family, took classes at the local university, and traveled with my friends on holidays. I took risks and embraced challenges and took advantage of every opportunity that allowed me to make the most of my time in Rennes. The best part of study abroad was the friendships I formed and the confidence my experience instilled in me. After my experience abroad with CIEE, I returned to Rennes after I graduated from college and spent two years as a teaching assistant in a public high school. Without my initial experience studying abroad, I would have never dreamed of my two years in France as even a remote possibility or opportunity. I learned to advocate for myself and coincidentally found my passion: teaching. After moving back to the United States in 2012, I applied to graduate school to get my Master’s in Education. I moved to Austin in 2013 on a whim. I packed up my car, convinced a friend to be my co-pilot, and started masters class in the fall at Texas State University. Studying abroad didn’t hand me these opportunities, but the experience taught me to problem solve, embrace challenge, take risks, and fostered a special sense of adventure. My advice to students with disabilities who are considering studying abroad isn’t to accept EVERY challenge and jump into an experience you’re not ready for, but rather to think of studying abroad as an opportunity to learn who you are and consider the possibility and opportunities study abroad offers. FullSizeRender


World Trade Center Redevelopment Master Planner Daniel Libeskind and Google Chief Education Evangelist Jaime Casap to Headline 2015 CIEE Annual Conference

CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange is excited to announce visionary architect Daniel Libeskind and Google Chief Education Evangelist Jaime Casap as the featured speakers for its 2015 CIEE Annual Conference, November 4-7, in Berlin.

Respected innovators in their fields, Libeskind and Casap will offer inspiration to an audience of more than 500 scholars, thinkers, and leaders in international education who are working to reimagine, rebuild, and reinvent study abroad to give all students the tools they need to thrive in the 21st century.

During the conference’s opening presentation on November 4, Libeskind will share his architectural vision and use his own work as an example of how developing and shaping big ideas can lead to transformation. Casap will share his thoughts on the powerful role of technology in revolutionizing education and transforming today’s students into tomorrow’s global citizens during the conference’s Annual Luncheon on November 6.

This year’s conference theme, The Reinvention of Study Abroad: Setting the Course for 2020, is part of CIEE’s commitment to Generation Study Abroad™, an initiative started by the Institute of International Education to double the number of students studying abroad to 600,000 by the year 2020. In support of this initiative, CIEE has pledged to provide $20 million in scholarships and grants to American students, to sponsor passports for 10,000 students, and to offer an annual $20,000 grant to college faculty to support innovative approaches to custom study abroad programs.

To learn more about the CIEE Annual Conference, visit

Daniel Libeskind, Architect, Artist, and Professor
An international figure in architecture and urban design, Daniel Libeskind is renowned for his ability to evoke cultural memory in buildings of equilibrium-defying contemporaneity. Informed by a deep commitment to music, philosophy, and literature, Libeskind aims to create architecture that is resonant, original, and sustainable. Born in Lód’z, Poland, in 1946, Libeskind immigrated to the United States as a teenager.

Daniel Libeskind
Daniel Libeskind, World Trade Center Redevelopment Master Planner

Libeskind established his architectural studio in Berlin, Germany, in 1989 after winning the competition to build the Jewish Museum in Berlin. In February 2003, Studio Libeskind moved its headquarters from Berlin to New York City when Daniel Libeskind was selected as the master planner for the World Trade Center redevelopment. Daniel Libeskind’s practice is involved in designing and realizing a diverse array of urban, cultural, and commercial projects internationally.

Jaime Casap, Chief Education Evangelist, Google, Inc.
Jaime Casap is chief education evangelist at Google, Inc., where he works with educational organizations around the world to help them find ways to continuously improve the quality of education by utilizing and enabling technology capabilities. Born and raised as a first-generation American to a single mother on welfare in Hell’s Kitchen, New York, Casap understands and appreciates the power education has on changing the destiny of a family in just one generation.

Jaime Casap Headshot
Jaime Casap, Google Chief Education Evangelist

In addition to his role at Google, Casap serves on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Science Foundation, New Global Citizens, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and serves as an advisor to dozens of organizations focused on education and access, including South by Southwest EDU (SXSWedu,) the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and is on the GSV Advisors Advisory Board. He is also an adjunct professor at Arizona State University, where he teaches classes and guest lectures.


CIEE Partners with Spelman College and Northeastern University to Launch Custom Study Abroad Programs for Undergrads in STEM Disciplines

CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange has partnered with Spelman College, a global leader in the education of women of African descent, and Northeastern University, a global, experiential, research university in Boston, to offer custom study abroad programs this spring with the goal to increase international education opportunities for students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

For a second year, CIEE has partnered with Spelman College to support their Going Global initiative, which seeks to provide every student with an international travel experience before graduation. For two weeks, May 10-24, 161 Spelman students are taking part in an immersive program with a customized intercultural engagement curriculum to enhance intercultural competencies and leadership skills in one of six locations: Amsterdam, Netherlands; Barcelona, Spain; Seoul, South Korea; Lima, Peru; Lisbon, Portugal; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Forty-five of the students participating in the program are STEM majors, a 137 percent increase in participation from the previous year.

“Our deliberate efforts to address the major barriers to international travel experience – cost, culture, curriculum, and champions – have yielded much fruition by providing global travel opportunities for a group that is traditionally underrepresented in study abroad,” said Dimeji Togunde, Ph.D., associate provost for global education at Spelman College. “This program has become the most effective strategy for us to achieve both Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and strategic planning goals of yearly increase in student and faculty international travel experiences.”

CIEE is also supporting a customized program for 23 Northeastern University students in Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 12-June 11. Designed specifically for students in STEM majors and those with an interest in sustainability, the Northeastern program will help students build an understanding of how energy resources are being utilized in the U.S. and Brazil, current alternative energy systems and technologies, and how these alternatives can impact the environment through fieldwork activities and meetings with industry leaders.

“There is a huge need for students to understand the necessity of sustainable development, especially in developing countries that are ahead of the U.S. in this effort,” said Courtney Pfluger, Ph.D., assistant teaching professor of engineering at Northeastern who will lead the students on the four-week program. “Students who become globally competent will be the leaders in shaping our world and realizing the potential in bettering our environment and society.”

A growing segment in study abroad, STEM students today make up nearly 23 percent of U.S. students studying abroad, representing a significant increase over the past 10 years according to Open Doors Data. “CIEE has seen increased interest in STEM programs from both students and faculty and administrators at institutions across the country,” said CIEE President and Chief Executive Officer James P. Pellow. “Colleges and universities like Spelman College and Northeastern University are recognizing the importance of providing access to international experiences for all students. Spelman and Northeastern have both seen the positive impact of creating custom programs built to professors’ curricula and students’ academic requirements and schedules.”

CIEE offers 29 semester, summer, and winter study abroad programs focused on STEM disciplines, including tropical marine ecology and conservation, and engineering. The organization recently introduced a new Global Sustainability and Environment program on three continents: Shanghai, China; Berlin, Germany; and Cape Town, South Africa.


CIEE Launches Global Institute in Rome; Unveils 15 New Study Abroad Programs and Three New Internship Locations

In an effort to expand access to study abroad opportunities for U.S. undergraduates, CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange today announced it will open a Global Institute in Rome next fall and offer 15 new global study abroad programs starting in spring 2016. The new programs were approved by CIEE’s Academic Consortium Board (ACB) during its annual meeting in Portland, Maine, April 27-28.

Designed to break down the main barriers students face to international education – cost, curriculum, and culture – CIEE Global Institutes feature an innovative Open Campus program model that allows students pursuing all majors to customize the study abroad experience to their academic requirements, interests, and schedule. The new Global Institute – Rome will follow the openings of CIEE Global Institutes in Berlin and London this fall, and represents the first time CIEE, the leader in international education and exchange, will offer programs in Italy’s capital city. CIEE currently offers programs in Ferrara in northern Italy.

“CIEE is committed to breaking through the barriers that keep too many students from studying abroad. That’s why we’re developing flexible, high-quality, and affordable international academic programs that will provide more access for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds and academic majors,” said James P. Pellow, CIEE president and chief executive officer. “We’re pleased to able to extend our affordable and flexible Open Campus model into Rome to give our students access to one of the world’s most historic and culturally relevant cities.”

Expanding on the flexibility of its Open Campus program, CIEE will introduce a pilot program next spring allowing students in CIEE’s Open Campus programs in Berlin and London to study in both international cities by pairing a six-week academic block in one location with a second six-week block in the other.

During its annual meeting, the ACB also approved 14 new study abroad programs in 10 cities, including Buenos Aires, Moscow, Taipei, and Rabat, bringing the organization’s total number of undergraduate study abroad programs to more than 220. CIEE operates 61 Study Centers in 43 countries worldwide.

To meet students’ growing need to gain real-world work experience in global economic centers and hubs for business innovation, CIEE also announced today that the Academic Internship Council (AIC) will offer internships in three new locations: Berlin, Germany; Cape Town, South Africa; and Santiago, Chile. AIC, which merged with CIEE in September 2014, works with academic institutions, students, and employers to offer customized academic internship programs that help students achieve personal and professional growth and competitive advantage in the global workforce. The new locations bring AIC’s total internship locations to 10 international cities.

“We’re dedicated to providing diverse options for students across the United States to gain practical work experience that will help them be competitive in today’s job market. Our new internship locations represent some of the world’s leading economic centers on three continents, offering students more choice of where they can gain the skills needed to become globally competent workers,” said AIC President Tony Johnson.



CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange today announced Beth M. Evans as vice president of global enrollment management for Study Abroad.

In this newly created position, Evans will oversee global enrollment, including direct-to-student, and institutional relations for CIEE’s more than 200 undergraduate study abroad programs. In addition, she will manage the awarding of CIEE’s annual scholarship funds.

Evans brings more than 25 years of experience in enrollment management, financial aid management, international education, and strategic planning to CIEE. She holds professional affiliations with College Board, the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Most recently, Evans served as vice president of enrollment management at St. John’s University, where she was responsible for graduate and undergraduate enrollment and managed an annual budget of $173 million, including more than $161 million in financial aid programs. Previously, she held executive positions in study abroad and admissions at New York University and Muhlenberg College. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and accounting from Muhlenberg College. Evans studied abroad in Seville, Spain, as an undergraduate.

The new position supports CIEE’s commitment to Generation Study Abroad™, a national initiative to double the number of American students studying abroad to 600,000 by 2020. CIEE has pledged $20 million in scholarships and grants for American students, passports for 10,000 students to enable participation, and an annual grant to college faculty to support innovative approaches for custom study abroad programs.