InterFuture

About

InterFuture is an extraordinarily rewarding and challenging experience in overseas cultural immersion and cross-cultural research for current undergraduate students. Since 1969, InterFuture has combined honors programming, cultural immersion, and social research to offer one of the most exciting study abroad opportunities available. We believe in experiential learning as the best conduit to intercultural understanding - and vice versa. Our students engage in meaningful preparatory work in the months prior to departure, and over the course of one or two semesters conduct independent research on locale while living in a homestay. Through intensive preparation, training, and project execution, students learn skills that translate to unparalleled qualification for careers in Education, Business/Management, Government, Social Work, Research, and more. We hope to see your application soon!

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United States

Reviews

Default avatar
Rachel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

InterFuture challenges students to really engage in their study abroad experience. I wasn’t expected to attend some classes at an affiliated university. Instead, I lived with a host family, conducted an immersive independent research study, and developed advanced executive functioning abilities. There was an organized and professional training that made me feel empowered and engaged in my two semesters abroad. There is nothing that compares to InterFuture!

What would you improve about this program?
More students
Default avatar
Charlie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was 19 and had never been outside of New England when I enrolled in InterFuture. it changed my life. They helped me design my own research project looking at how the history of the slave trade is remembered differently in Ghana, Tanzania, and New England. In Ghana and Tanzania, I lived with host families and spent my days traveling and researching. I was a member of a family, a member of a community, and an independent scholar - not a student running in a pack of other Americans to the regular tourist spots. It was an amazing experience that I would highly recommend to any student looking to do something more - more interesting, more immersive, and more challenging - than the normal study abroad.

Default avatar
Kristen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

InterFuture will change the way you think about pretty much everything, and will give you the most amazing memories. You will make great friends with people all over the US and in cities and villages around the world. You will learn so much through the academic program, but you will also learn so much just from your surroundings, living like a local and interacting with your neighbors. And I can pretty much guarantee you will wish you could do it all over again once it is through. It's a lot of hard work, but the rewards for that hard work last a lifetime. The studies staff is incredible and so supportive through it all, and the alumni network is amazing!

Definitely at least talk to InterFuture and see if it is the right study abroad program for you. You won't find a program like this anywhere else, and it isn't worth passing up the chance to learn more about it!

What would you improve about this program?
The only way the program can be improved is by more awesome students coming back to volunteer as staff. They do a great job of training their alumni to come back and run special training sessions for upcoming students, and would love to see lots more new students doing this!
Default avatar
Liza
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

InterFuture provides a rigorous academic program together with immersion in a culture. I loved my host families and the opportunity to explore my research locales (England and Ghana) with a specific purpose - to learn more about my chosen research topic. The staff were amazing to work with before going abroad, as well. Ten years later and I still have so many close friends from this experience, both in the US and abroad!

Default avatar
Mary-jackelyn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

InterFuture provided me with an amazing opportunity I wouldn't have had anywhere else and a chance to do the reasearch I wanted to do in the places I wanted to do them. It was an immersive experience that has impacted how I look at and engage with the world around me and gave me an opportunity to learn how to participate in my community and the communities of others in a thoughtful way. The program allows for up to two locales of research and encourages a culturally competent approach to thinking about and engaging with the research subject of your choice.

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Alumni Interviews

Alumni interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Charles Tocci

Charlie Tocci is a professor and father of four living in Chicago.

group photo

Why did you choose this program?

It sparked my imagination. InterFuture sent me a letter (yes, I'm that old) that didn't talk about how much fun I'd have and show pictures of young Americans on beaches or in front of landmarks.

Instead, the letter laid out that I could design my own research project and carry out independently in two of twenty countries around the world. That was the thing I wanted - to go off exploring questions I had that went way beyond the classroom. I wanted to create something by pushing myself to new experiences.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

InterFuture provides the bare bones. There are three training conferences to design a research project and get ready for intercultural living.

Once abroad, they arrange a homestay and connect you with a national coordinator to advise your research. The national coordinator might recruit a project coordinator that is related to your research field, or the national coordinator might play that role him/herself. Then there are two short follow up conferences - one in Amsterdam and one in Boston - after completing the program.

That's really it. You truly are independent as an InterFuture Scholar. There are no classes to attend, no organized group outings. You are a researcher living with a local family, networking like mad to complete a project in three months (one semester) in locale. You truly have the opportunity to become part of a place.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Disconnect from social media. Stay in touch with loved ones, but be present where you are. If you're in Accra, don't be on Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat involving yourself in the day-to-day minor events back home.

Be in Accra or Monduli or Prague or Asuncion or Kathmandu. Blog about it once a week, embedding great photos, so you can reflect on your experience and let your friends and family stay up to date on your adventures. But really focus on being in place and learning to live in a new culture, building friendships with people that have very different world views and experiences.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

It completely varies scholar to scholar because everyone has different projects to pursue. I did my project on how the history of the slave trade is commemorated in Ghana and in Tanzania.

In Ghana, I lived in Accra and could travel easily to key historical sites and universities to do my research while also exploring the city. In Tanzania, I lived Monduli, a small town on the Maasai steppe far from where I need to do my research. I spent a month traveling to do my fieldwork but spent my two months in Monduli doing background research, making close friends, and hiking.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I grew up near Boston, and by age 19 I had only once been outside of New England (a trip to DC). I knew I wanted to get out into the world, and Ghana seemed like such a far-away exotic place. I was so eager and so afraid. I was also so dumb. It was January in Boston. I wore my winter coat onto the plane.

I was lucky to have a national coordinator who doubled as my host. Ernesto brought me out into the city, took me to his church, introduced me to his family and friends, showed me how to get around, made appointments for my research. He was amazing and made me feel confident. I'm lucky to still call Ernesto a friend.

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