Our Mission

We educate students to become global citizens through premier study abroad and internship programs, which offer students worldwide experiential learning opportunities that set the highest standards of academic quality.

Our History

We launched the first IES Abroad program in 1950, more than 70 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 70 years later, the IES Abroad experience still elicits the same response from students as it did in 1950: that it irrevocably changed their lives.
black and white film photo of Clarence and Alberta Giese on a tower in vienna
  • 1950s
  • 1960s
  • 1970s
  • 1990s
  • 2000s
  • 2010s


1950: The first group of IES Abroad students board the SS Volendam to Vienna.

1954: Customized Programs begin to be offered, the first in the industry.

1957: First official affiliation established with a university abroad, Universitat Wien.