CIEE Announces First Year Abroad (FYA) Program For Students to Launch their Undergraduate Career with a Global Experience

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The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) is pleased to introduce CIEE's First Year Abroad program (FYA), a new program for globally-minded, college-bound high school graduates. With the first class enrolling in fall 2024, CIEE's First Year Abroad offers recent high school graduates the opportunity to begin their undergraduate studies with a transformative study abroad experience during their first semester or academic year of college.

As a CIEE First Year Abroad student, participants enroll as a first-year college student and immediately begin to earn academic credit. This allows students to explore the world, develop global competencies, and stay on track to complete their college degree with their peers in just four years.

CIEE is the leader in international education with a 75-year track record of helping students explore new cultures, learn new skills, and achieve their academic goals. Dean College, a nationally respected liberal arts college founded in 1865, will serve as the Academic Home and School of Record for CIEE's First Year Abroad.

"It is clear that Dean College and CIEE share similar values – striving to help students develop skills that will make them more successful in whatever profession they choose," said Scott Sibley, Ph.D., Vice President of Academic Affairs at Dean College. "CIEE's First Year Abroad program will enable students to explore their academic interests in over a dozen international locations, providing a unique opportunity for them to experience the world as they advance their college careers."

Students on CIEE's First Year Abroad program earn 12-13 college credits during a 12-week semester, taking intro-level classes offered in a wide range of subject areas – including arts, humanities, social sciences, STEM, business, and world languages. Students may choose to study at one of CIEE's 14 international FYA locations for the duration of their program. Or students seeking a comparative global experience may choose from a multi-site program, studying in one location in the fall and another in the spring, or spending six-week academic blocks in multiple locations during one semester. 

"The wide-ranging offerings will allow for a breadth of study that builds a solid general education framework for further exploration," said Sibley. "First Year Abroad will provide students a distinct competitive advantage when they graduate and seek to pursue graduate study or professional career opportunities."

CIEE's First Year Abroad program provides students with the option to enroll in a traditional semester of study or in CIEE's academic block program that allows for global comparative learning.

CIEE's FYA traditional semester programs last 12 weeks and are offered in seven locations, including: Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Kyoto, Monteverde, Prague, Rabat, and Seville. Semester programs allow students to take up to four courses at once, including those with labs or language classes.

FYA is also offered in 6-week blocks in seven locations, including: Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, London, Paris, Rome, and Sydney. Students take up to four courses and can choose to spend two six-week blocks in a single location or select one of our block combinations to study in two different locations for six-weeks each. 

While studying internationally, CIEE's FYA students benefit from the field's most experienced on-site international staff who are highly trained in health and safety, mental health protocols, intercultural learning, identity, and local culture and customs. In addition, CIEE's FYA students are supported by academic tutors and First Year Workshops, which focus on valuable life skills such as time and money management, resilience and self-care, goal-setting, problem-solving, and interpersonal communication. Activities and excursions organized by CIEE immerse FYA participants in the local culture as they build friendships with college peers.

"CIEE First Year Abroad offers an opportunity for students to begin college with a well-supported global experience that fosters personal and academic growth and lays the groundwork for a successful undergraduate career," said James P. Pellow, Ed.D., President and CEO of CIEE. "This program is for any student who wants to see the world and enrich their global perspective right at the outset of their college journey."

"CIEE works with more than 400 high schools and 1,000 university partners annually to engage students in global learning experiences. So, we know very well that the first year of college plays a crucial role in a student's academic retention," said Alexandra Wood, Ph.D., Vice President of Global Ventures at CIEE. "We are enthusiastic about collaborating with high school guidance counselors, college advisors, global education offices, and college admissions offices, to establish a First Year Abroad as pathway to college success."

For more information about CIEE's First Year Abroad program, please visit or email