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ISA (International Studies Abroad)


As a leader in international education for thirty years, ISA is dedicated to providing university and college level students the opportunity to discover, learn, and enjoy a way of life other than their own. ISA offers a diverse portfolio of education abroad programs across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific. Our worldwide team provides high-quality experiences for university students at an affordable price. Each year thousands of students participate in ISA programs, including; Internships & Service-Learning, Veritas Christian Study Abroad, and EuroScholars undergraduate research.


1112 W. Ben White Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704
United States


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Yes, I recommend this program

It's really difficult to sum up such an amazing program in such short space. The people who work with ISA in Austin and in Florence are very helpful through every step of the way. I emailed and called the ISA Austin office so many times leading up to my semester abroad that I lost count, as did most of the people that I talked to. The excursions that ISA puts on are tons of fun, well organised and creative. My apartment here was great, it had a very central location and was actually very spacious considering it housed 6 girls total. The people you meet here will become some of your best friends before you know it. If you're looking for a study abroad program I can't recommend this one enough. If you're having doubts about studying abroad and aren't sure if it's for you, just do it. Even if it's not with this program, it will be one of the best experiences of your life.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing that I think could be improved about the program is connecting with the other ISA students.
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Yes, I recommend this program

So this is my second trip with ISA. 2 years ago, I went to Costa Rica with them. During my first trip with them, I didn't get my schedule or class times or excursion dates until a few days after we arrived in Costa Rica, making it hard to plan outside activities. We also didn't have a set time to be picked up from our flight, and details weren't sent out until about 3-4 weeks BEFORE classes started, leaving little to no time to book an affordable plane ticket. I asked about these issues I experienced the first time, and was told that any issues would be hammered out after a bit. 2 years later, I am running into the exact same problem. I am spending 14,000 dollars for 3 MONTHS in Spain, and ISA has been unable to provide me with when my Spanish class will be held, again, making it extremely hard to plan outside excursions. We were also scheduled to take a trip to Morocco, and that was something I was really excited about. It was only until I called the actual ISA office that I found there was not enough time to embark on that trip, and they were "planning on telling us" in about a week, aka about a month from the time we are expected to land in Spain. My program in Costa Rica was awesome, and I'm sure I will enjoy Barcelona, but if scheduling issues are a deal breaker for you, definitely don't enroll in this program. It's also extremely expensive, as my short 3 month semester costs just as much as a 6 month program in the same region.

What would you improve about this program?
Get your scheduling together and make sure you communicate issues or excursion cancellations as soon as you know about them. We need less than just one month to book a flight that will ensure your providers meeting us, understanding where we will be in regards to host living, etc. Important information is not distributed early enough in the program.
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Yes, I recommend this program

This program provided me with the support I needed to feel ready for my semester abroad. Their orientation was a great way to get acquainted with the ISA Sevilla team and with all the students in the program. I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to attend school at Universidad Pablo de Olavide. Although I took classes with other U.S. students, the courses were conducted in Spanish by Spanish teachers. This allowed me to go to a Spanish school and improve my Spanish speaking skills. Sevilla is a great location altogether; it is affordable, safe, and fun. As someone who went on the program 5 years ago I can confidentially say that my experience helped me professionally. It not only made me competitive as a candidate in the workforce, but it has allowed me to connect and interact with people from diverse backgrounds both within and outside my workplace.

What would you improve about this program?
It would be great if the program could continue to find ways to connect students to the local community with volunteer or service learning opportunities.
Yes, I recommend this program

It was one of my best moments of my life in recent years and I do not regret doing this program :) Everything is very different and Peru has many beautiful places. In addition to the things that I liked most is to try their variety of food. I also recommend a Facebook group to get advice and recommendations when they are in Peru. ( )

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Yes, I recommend this program

I am so happy that I was able to study abroad and spend everyday trying new foods, exploring beautiful architecture and practicing my Spanish truly made for an incomparable experience. I feel as if I became even more independent and appreciative of the small details that are important for a daily life. I woke up excited for the walks to class, and the walks to grab tapas with friends after a busy day of class. I challenged myself by speaking in Spanish both outside the classroom and in every class. That was definitely a change from my coursework incollege in the United States.
experience and through a graduate program I will have great success.
Many of the experiences I’ve had help in terms of understanding the cultural differences
between Granada and where I live in Massachusetts, but when asked to think of one specific
thing, I remember the first time I went into a tapas place and was completely overwhelmed
with the level of social interaction that was occurring. Everybody was standing up and talking
loudly while drinking their beer or wine and waiting for the tapa. My friends and I were the only people who found it strange that everyone was standing and that there was very little room between various groups. It was in this moment that I realized how heavily the culture in
Granada relies upon social relationships and the way that food and drinks are represented in
these circumstances, both with family and friends. That is truly unforgettable and no city compares to its antiquity and beauty.

What would you improve about this program?
I think there is always room to focus more on diversity and a bit more freedom on group trips, but otherwise I had a wonderful experience.


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Alumni Interviews

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

Corlis Fraga

Take a salamander catching, quite corner of Connecticut girl with a big imagination and mix it with an ever present wanderlust. That's Corlis in a nutshell.

Corlis Fraga

Why did you choose this program?

Would you believe me if I said finding this program started with a deck of tarot cards, a scrying crystal, and a world map? Well, it did. That and a random desire to go to the closest place to middle earth that I could find. It just so happened, once I took the initial steps of interacting with my university's education abroad office, that ISA was the first third-party program that could make such an abroad experience a reality. With a desperate desire for a change, I jumped towards ISA.

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

My home university helped point me towards ISA. All I knew at the time was that I wanted to go to New Zealand, so getting introduced to a third-party who could make it happen was quite a leg up. They also processed my requests for getting course credit. That way I wouldn't have to worry about my classes not being transferable to my home university.

The ISA program did a lot in answering my numerous questions and in settling any fears I had about whether or not I'd make the right deadlines, if the forms I filled out were correct, and whether or not I was a valid applicant for financial scholarships.

Don't get me wrong, I did plenty of paperwork and planning on my end. Especially in getting my VISA and plane tickets, selecting classes that would work well with my degree, and ensuring all forms were submitted on time (as well as payments). But ISA was an added comfort since they put up with my slew of pestering nervous questions.

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

Abroad, the classes will be graded differently or perhaps even more thoroughly than you're used to. The important part is for you to strike a balance. Do your best but don't get so wrapped up and nervous about doing things wrong that you don't explore. Messing up is 100% okay. Necessary, even. The point is to learn, enjoy, and grow as a person.

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

You're talking to the queen of college hermits. My average day (in-between the epic things like horseback riding up Battle Hill or taste-testing at the Wellington Chocolate Factory) may seem mundane to many. But there are wonders in the small day-to-day things, too.

During a uni day I'd wake up early, usually before my roommates, and mix up a cup of instant coffee with breakfast. Then I'd walk from 'The Cube' (the+ housing complex where the international students are housed with the new uni students. I lived on the top floor, and you'd bet I could feel the wind sway the building) to Massey University. I'd complete my day's classes, with a good coffee break just before lunch, and once done I'd head back to the Cube to put away my stuff. From then on, it depended on how much homework I had to get done. I'd work a bit longer, cook, talk to my roommates, etc.

No matter what was going on, I would conclude my day with a walk down to the water. Sometimes, I'd take Cuba Street where I'd meet all sorts of characters and see people walking about. Other times I meandered. One way or another I'd make it to the ocean and get to look out at the white sailboats and the water that had so many emotions of color depending on the weather. For a girl who had spent most of her life in swampy, mosquito filled woods, it's certainly a sight to behold!

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

My biggest fear was that my experience wouldn't bring change. That it wouldn't be all transforming and adventurous. I am pretty much the human manifestation of a tortoise. I can get shelled up and quiet. All at once, I wanted to be different.

I'm still the girl who loves sticking her nose in a book and taking long walks with no destination in sight. I'm still quiet and strange and often in my head. But I'm not JUST those things. By going abroad, I learned that it is important to love not just the environment. It is also important that you love you as a person in that environment. I'm still the tortoise. Going abroad just helped me appreciate my shell.

The thing about going abroad is that you may change locations, but you don't change who you are. By going to New Zealand, I got to see movie-worthy scenery, met people from all over the place, and experienced how capable I was in caring for myself. Most importantly, I learned to better love me.

What are some things that you regret while abroad?
  • I never tried whitebait or the NZ green lipped mussels.
  • I didn't go to the bottom of the South Island nor see glow worms.
  • Having to lug a power strip ~18,000 miles in total because the voltage is different in NZ, and trying to use a US power strip blew out the apartment's electricity twice before I realized what was going on.
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Staff Interviews

Staff interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Abby Zelenka

Job Title
Student Services Advisor
Originally from Boston, Abby graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a Bachelors of Arts in Spanish. Her junior year she studied abroad with ISA in Valparaiso, Chile and returned to campus her senior year as a Global Ambassador encouraging her classmates to explore the world. She hopes to use her experience and stories to help encourage and advise potential students.
woman making a heart symbol next to mural

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory, hmmm. There are so many! The one that stands out specifically was the morning of my friend and my first weekend trip. With our bus leaving the station at 5am, we knew we had to get to the bus station and just assumed that we would be able to pick up a taxi on the road. Well, there were no taxis/colectivos to be seen. We lived close to a gas station and headed there to see if anyone could bring us. In a panic with the time pushing closer to 5, we were running out of options. One man pulled up in a van and when I asked him, panicked if he would bring us. He happened to be a security guard at the bus station and so we hopped into the back of his van. We realized at that time that he was our only option no matter how sketchy it was. Everything worked out for the best, but we made sure to always have a way to the bus station from then on!

Which destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

I may be biased, but I would say that Valparaiso and Vina del Mar is the most underrated program here at ISA. The on site staff is amazing and there is so much to explore throughout the city! It's the perfect jumping off point to explore the rest of Chile, Patagonia, Argentina, and Peru. The most overrated program I would have to say Barcelona. Students get it stuck in their mind that they're just going to go abroad and party the whole time. Yes, that can be the case for some, but Barcelona is so much more than just partying. I can't say that the city itself is overrated, but the idea of this crazy party city is overrated.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Passion is the one thing that can truly change the game for a company. Anyone can have a product and try to sell it, but when the people involved are inherently passionate about what they are providing and are meaning to do good and change the world, that is when an inspiring/successful company is born.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have definitely grown since working for ISA. I started here in Austin in December 2014 and it has been a huge life changing experience for me! I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, (quite like you do when you travel) and I have made a life for myself here. Before moving to Austin I worked as a Montessori teacher and needless to say, it was a HUGE change for me to move to an office setting. Professionally, I have carried along my flexibility from to classroom to the office.

What unique qualities does your company possess?

I believe that everyone who works at ISA is passionate about study abroad, and we all want to share our stories and make it possible for others to explore and experience the same thing! The on site staff that we have across the world loves what they do and they share that pride with the students who come in every program.

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of your current team.

This last summer we had the AC go out on us during a Friday. We had been chugging away at our calls list and were so close to finishing up. Through the sweltering heat, we finished all call list and it felt so good to just finish it working through when others had left. It might have helped that we had an industrial fan blowing on us...

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