We launched the first IES Abroad program in 1950, more than 65 years ago.
In September 1950, 23 American students boarded a ship to Vienna, where they would spend a year studying abroad in the Austrian capital.
They traveled with Paul Koutny, an idealistic Austrian student who envisioned the program while studying in the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship. Among those wide-eyed, eager students were Clarence and Alberta Giese, young newlyweds from Chicago.
The year abroad inspired the Gieses so deeply that upon returning home, they sold everything they owned and helped Mr. Koutny bring another group of students to Vienna—and then another, and another.
Today, more than 65 years later, the IES Abroad experience still elicits the same response from students as it did in 1950: that it irrevocably changed their lives.