For Educators

Future-Focused Study Abroad

Study abroad has been identified by the National Survey on Student Engagement as a high-impact educational practice with the potential to drive student academic and personal success. More than just a travel opportunity, study abroad fosters skills such as critical thinking, intercultural agility and language acquisition.

IFSA emphasizes the long-term applicability of skills, knowledge and perspectives gained during study abroad and strives to make the experience as personal and self-designed as possible. We take an evidence-based approach to the learning frameworks which underpin our programs, relying on research to ensure students’ long-term investment is maximized.


Academics are at the heart of every IFSA program. Each of our study locations offers challenging, relevant courses that form the core of the education abroad experience while enhancing each participant’s degree plan back home. With a wide breadth of programs, we can deliver flexible, individualized opportunities and courses in nearly any subject.

Appreciative Advising

Our philosophy of support is guided by the key principles of appreciative advising, a positive, goals-oriented strategy that builds on the strengths of each individual student. This encourages students to explore new perspectives and to challenge themselves, maximizing their learning in unexpected ways.

As part of our constructive learning process, IFSA students complete a pre-arrival learning plan that creates intentionality around their approach to the experience. Our on-site team works with each student, challenging and supporting them as appropriate to help each student achieve his or her goals.

Intercultural Agility/Exploring Community & Culture (C&C)

Our exclusive Exploring Community & Culture (C&C) model is a distinguishing feature of every program. This course facilitates community engagement, a philosophy that deepens each participant’s understanding of their host community and our greater global society while also fostering intercultural dialogue and cultural competency. In locations where an on-site course is not possible, IFSA offers an optional online course in which students from around the world learn together as a global cohort.

Inclusive Excellence

We believe that study abroad should be accessible to everyone and that our diversity enriches the learning communities we comprise abroad. Our Inclusive Excellence initiatives are designed to broaden access to study abroad for students of all backgrounds and academic interests through individualized guidance, personal support, academic advising, scholarship opportunities and more.

Student Success

Everything we do is designed to foster student success. Our Future-Focused Study Abroad philosophy means that our programs incorporate comprehensive logistical and academic support that allow our students to focus on making the most of the study abroad experience. Top quality academics, internships, directed research options, volunteer opportunities, community-based learning and our signature Exploring Community & Culture model all facilitate critical skill development and intellectual growth that will benefit students academically, personally and professionally for the rest of their lives.

Health and Safety Abroad

We are proud to be a health, safety and security leader in the education abroad field. We strive to build upon our solid reputation developed over the last three decades through our continuous support and care for students combined with our strong commitment to provide safe experiences abroad. IFSA adheres to the health, safety, security and risk management guidelines and best practices in the field of international education as established by NAFSA and the Forum on Education Abroad. For more detailed information about IFSA’s Health and Safety practices, visit the Health and Safety page.

Health and Safety Team

Our dedicated Health and Safety team, based in the Indianapolis headquarters, works with students, families and university partners providing individual advising unique to your health, safety and security needs. The Health and Safety team works in conjunction with the local IFSA resident staff in each program location to ensure students obtain proper support and care while abroad. Additionally, the team is constantly monitoring international news and governmental reports to assess worldwide security conditions, respond appropriately and quickly in the event of an emergency, and communicate with families and university partners at home.

Reporting an Emergency

To report a student emergency, advisors are encouraged to contact our Indianapolis office for the quickest assistance.

During business hours (8:00 a.m.—5:00 p.m. EST)
Contact the IFSA Office and ask for a Health and Safety team member.

After hours, weekends and holidays
Call the Butler University Police Department (BUPD) and report your emergency to the police officer on duty, who will relay the information to the on-call IFSA employee. We will return your call immediately and help with the emergency.

Students on-site

Students should contact their IFSA resident staff by calling the emergency number given to them during the program orientation.

Custom Programs

With decades of international higher education experience spanning the globe, IFSA is uniquely positioned to provide unparalleled support for custom study abroad programs. By collaborating with IFSA on a custom program abroad, we invite you to join us in our mission to create global learning environments designed to foster the development of critical perspectives, knowledge and skills essential for students to thrive in the future.

We value the opportunity to meet the unique needs of our U.S. institutional partners by designing short-term or semester-length programs based at IFSA offices across the globe. Learn more about our custom program options and submit your request for a program proposal.

IFSA Events


Co-sponsored by a hosting institution, IFSA Dialogues are one-day workshops which explore student engagement, high impact practices, and inclusive excellence in a study abroad context. Facilitated by Dr. Heather Barclay Hamir, IFSA CEO and President, and Margaret McCullers, Associate Director of Academic and Special Projects, participants will engage in lively discussion to enhance their collective knowledge on fostering student success in and through education abroad.

IFSA Dialogue-Colorado
March 27, 2019
10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
University of Colorado-Denver
Denver, CO

Please register by March 20, 2019. There is no charge to attend this Dialogue event, and lunch will be provided.

IFSA Advisor Day

Designed for the study abroad advisor new to the position or new to working with IFSA, the Advisor Day agenda explores our approach to Future-Focused Study Abroad and our learning framework. Led by our team of study abroad experts, explore our programs and sites, the application process and portals, customized programs, health, safety and security, scholarships and finances, and curriculum integration.

IFSA Spring Advisor Day
April 24-25, 2019
IFSA Offices
Indianapolis, IN

Check out the complete spring agenda, and register by April 17, 2019. There is no charge to attend Advisor Day, and IFSA will provide your meals and accommodations.

IFSA Conference: Individualized Learning

Plan now to join us for the 2019 IFSA Conference this July to examine how individualize learning can enhance student success while studying abroad.

July 24-26, 2019
The Alexander Hotel
Indianapolis, IN

There is no registration fee and meals are provided. Attendees are responsible for transportation and accommodation. Conference registration opens in March 2019. Please check back for registration information.

Visit the 2018 IFSA Conference page to review last year’s detailed agenda and see what partners had to say about the conference.

Site Seminars

IFSA’s site seminars combine visits to our sites abroad with on-site workshops taught by local faculty members and other experts. Itineraries vary by location but generally include interactions with students, meetings with IFSA resident staff, visits to partner universities, experiencing program courses, viewing our Exploring Community & Culture courses and activities, and visits to local cultural, academic and historic sites.

Upcoming site seminars include:

Mérida, Mexico – February 2019

Experience IFSA Mexico during a site seminar to Mérida, Mexico, February 10-15, 2019. Participants will visit Universidad Modelo and Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, interact with current students and staff, and experience the IFSA learning framework, appreciative advising, and how our program objectives embody Future-Focused Study Abroad.

IFSA provides single accommodations, some meals, tours, and transportation. Attendees are responsible for the international flight to Mérida, some meals, and personal expenses.

Apply now to participate in Experience IFSA Mexico.

Academic Conferences

You’ll find us in attendance at the following academic conferences:

Forum’s European Conference: Oct. 17-19, 2018, Prague, Czech Republic

Diversity Abroad: March 2-5, 2019, Boston, MA

Forum’s Annual Conference, March 27-29, 2019, Denver, CO

AACROA: March 31-April 3, 2019, Los Angeles, CA

NAFSA National Conference, May 26-31, 2019, Washington DC

We look forward to seeing you there!


Register to view past webinars:

IFSA on Your Campus

Field Directors

IFSA has a team of Field Directors who manage regions within the United States. They build and maintain relationships with colleges and universities, providing guidance about our programs to students, faculty and advisors. The Field Directors are leaders in the field of education abroad and are a valuable resource for learning more about IFSA programs.

Order Catalogs

Complete this order form to request catalogs for your office.

Program Evaluations

In accordance with the Forum on Education Abroad’s Standards of Good Practice in Education Abroad, IFSA routinely conducts formal evaluations of its program sites abroad. An evaluation is an important tool to maintain high quality programs that continuously evolve to meet the needs of students and realities of the environments in which we operate. IFSA evaluates one to two programs each year.

Recent evaluations:

Professional Involvement

Professional Memberships

IFSA is a proud supporter and sponsor of professional organizations in diverse sectors of higher education. IFSA’s global staff attend conferences, give presentations, provide sponsorships and contribute to cutting-edge best practices in education through research and collaborative activities with other professionals around the world.
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National Advisors Council

IFSA’s National Advisors Council (NAC) has more than 100 member colleges and universities. NAC institutions are strong supporters of lFSA programs and work closely with IFSA staff in the U.S. and around the world. The NAC has an Executive Committee whose members give more detailed feedback and advice to IFSA.

Current NAC Executive Committee members:

Carol Lebold, University of Massachusetts at Amherst (Chair)
Marne Ausec, Kenyon College
Theresa Cann, Bryn Mawr College
Jessica Fetridge, Northwestern University
Cori Filson, Skidmore College
Jennifer Fritz, Bucknell University
Brian Harley, Purdue University
Martha Johnson, University of Minnesota
Jill McKinney, Butler University
Sue Mennicke, Franklin & Marshall College
Heather Powell Browne, Colorado College                                                                                                        Dimeji Togunde, Spelman College
Scott Wilson, Sewanee, The University of the South
J. Scott Van Der Meid, Brandeis University
Daniella Widdows, Hampden-Sydney College
Taylor Woodman, University of Maryland at College Park