Part 22: Studying Abroad - CIEE

Want to see the world while you learn? Then maybe studying abroad is in your future.

The Council of International Education Exchange (CIEE) is the leading U.S. non-governmental international education organization. CIEE creates and administers programs that allow high school and university students and educators to study, volunteer, work and teach abroad.  CIEE is composed of three interrelated but operationally independent entities based in Portland, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; and Tokyo, Japan.

Among many activities, CIEE administers 60 study abroad programs in over 30 host countries, 800 volunteer projects in 30 host countries, work programs in Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand and teaching programs in China and Thailand. Educators can participate in January and summer seminars in 20 countries.

You’re ready to invest in your academic and personal growth. You’ve got the wanderlust, and you can get the cash ( But before you go looking for the right study abroad program, you may find yourself asking: How do I choose a program?

The study abroad experts at CIEE offer the following answers:

  1. Start by setting your academic goals. Make this your No. 1 priority. Of course, studying abroad is a learning experience, but setting specific objectives of what you expect to learn truly defines the success of your endeavor. These objectives will also act as a guiding star by which to steer your academic course — not to mention your time and money.

    Also, conveying specific goals to your academic advisor and parents will indicate the depth of your commitment to your education and thus make them more inclined to help you succeed.

  2. Assess your level of self-sufficiency in a foreign place. CIEE prepares you with pre-departure information, an orientation program after you arrive, and continued advice and support by experienced professionals throughout your program. Even so, everyone has different prerequisites to feeling comfortable in a foreign environment. So take a moment to assess your personal requirements for independence. Think about, for example, whether you like to be shown the ins and outs of a new place, or if you prefer to figure things out on your own.

    By offering a variety of living arrangements, CIEE can often match your needs to the appropriate accommodations, such as dormitory-style residences or living with local families (homestays).

  3. Know your language ability. Many of CIEE’s programs are taught in English. However, if you’re applying for a course taught in another language, be sure it matches your level of proficiency. The good news is that many of these courses are taught with foreign students like you in mind and the professors all want you to succeed, so will do everything they can to ensure that you do so.  

Once you’ve given proper thought to these considerations, you can proceed with study abroad preparations with greater confidence.

Studying abroad may not be for everyone, but if you are brave enough to step out of the box, there are many opportunities available for you!

General Contact Information:

7 Custom House Street, 3rd Floor
Portland, ME 04101
Toll-Free: 1-800-40-STUDY
Fax: 1-207-553-7699


Other resources for studying abroad:

The Council of International Education Exchange (CIEE)

High School Programs -

Institute of International Education -

WVU International Programs -

WVU Student Funding -

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WV Mentor

WV Apply, Admission and Financial Aid Information at

Potomac State College of West Virginia University at or (304-788-6820 or toll free: 1-800-262-7332)

Mineral County Technical Center at (304-788-4240)
Eastern Community and
Technical College at (304-434-8000; or toll free: 1-877-982-2322)