Cyril Taylor,Roger Walther and Doug Burck founded the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS) in 1964. The genesis of the concept came from Cyril's soon-to-be wife Judy, a high school French teacher hoping to take her class to France for the summer on an educational travel program. When she couldn't find a U.S organization operating this kind of program, she discovered a void in the marketplace—and Cyril, Roger and Doug were inspired to take action.

Then coworkers in brand management at Procter & Gamble, the three took leave to create AIFS, a study abroad and educational travel organization. Initially, they leased the campuses of nine European universities that were closed during the summer months, then networked with high school language teachers to promote summer programs abroad and recruit students.

In 1965, the first group of students traveled abroad with AIFS, and the rest, as they say, is history! AIFS grew rapidly through the remainder of the decade, emerging as a leader in cultural exchange and international education.

AIFS founded in 1964


Cyril Taylor, Roger Walther and Doug Burck start the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS) in Cincinnati, Ohio.


The first group of AIFS students—a total of 1,500 participants—traveled overseas on high school study abroad programs.

AIFS R.F. Kennedy


The AIFS Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) public charity, is created with the assistance of Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

AIFS Camp America program established in 1969


Camp America program is established as an inbound exchange program for international students to visit the U.S.


AIFS experienced substantial growth in the 1970s. In addition to the creation of a College Study Abroad program, expansion included new international offices and programs for cultural exchange. AIFS headquarters moved from Ohio to Greenwich, Connecticut.

AIFS purchased Richmond College, founded in 1843 and a constituent institution of the University of London. Now incorporated as Richmond, the American International University in London, it is a not-for-profit educational institution in the state of Delaware and recognized 501(c)(3) public educational charity under U.S. law. Richmond is the first university in the U.K. or the U.S. to be fully accredited by the higher education authorities of both countries.

AIFS purchases Richmond College

AIFS purchases Richmond College to support study abroad programs in Surrey, England, just outside of London.

AIFS Study Abroad Established

AIFS creates College Study Abroad program with offerings in Europe, Asia and South America for U.S. college & university students.

AIFS Study Abroad Expend

Programs expand – AIFS builds international presence with offices in London, England & Greenwich, Connecticut.

Richmond campus opens in the Kensington

Richmond, The American International University in London opens a second campus in the Kensington area of London.


The eighties were another decade of innovation and success for AIFS. Now a well-respected leader at the forefront of the field, AIFS created new programs for cultural exchange and steadily improved opportunities for international travel and education.

Study Abroad Programs established


AIFS Customized, Faculty-Led (CFL) study abroad programs enable colleges and universities to enrich curriculums and provide lower cost alternatives to traditional study abroad programming.


Academic Year in America (AYA) is established.

Au Pair in America established


AIFS launches a new concept called Au Pair in America. The program is a first in the nation to provide cultural exchange and live-in child care for American families. It is an instant success.

AIFS acquires ELS and ACIS


AIFS High School Study Abroad merges with newly acquired American Council for International Studies (ACIS), providing educational travel services for middle and high school groups.


In the nineties, strategic expansion and acquisitions strengthened AIFS's international presence and global leadership. Continued focus on innovation and the rising popularity of study abroad programs combined together creating a banner decade at AIFS.

In the mid-1990s, AIFS created Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) to offer insurance to study abroad students. CISI is a notable success, becoming popular with other study abroad providers as well as universities and colleges offering study abroad programs. At the tail-end of the century, headquarters moved from Greenwich to Stamford, Connecticut.

AIFS South Africa


The first AIFS website is launched.

GIJK (Germany) and Au Pair Discover (South Africa) join the AIFS family.

AIFS opens offices in Poland and Australia.

College and High School Study Abroad programs expand to Australia and South Africa.

CISI incorporated


Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) is established.

AIFS headquarters


AIFS headquarters moves from Greenwich to Stamford, Connecticut.


Like other organizations worldwide, AIFS experienced the rollercoaster economy of the first decade in the new millennium. Bolstered by increased program participation through 2008, the global recession was successfully weathered under the leadership of President and CEO, William L. (Bill) Gertz, a former AIFS marketing executive. By decade's end, enrollment levels were back on the rise.


AIFS celebrates the enrollment of the 1,000,000th program participant.


AIFS acquires international insurance organization CareMed.

AIFS acquires the Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG), an educational organization for gifted and talented students.


William L. (Bill) Gertz becomes President and CEO of AIFS.


The 2010s were a time of celebration for AIFS. Several programs reached milestone anniversaries in this decade, with more on the way. Today, we look forward with the same spirit of innovation and dedication to international travel, education and cross-cultural exchange that inspired Cyril, Roger and Doug to start AIFS more than fifty years ago.


SIG becomes a separate, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.


Au Pair in America celebrates its 25th anniversary at a gala reception hosted by the Assistant Secretary of State in Washington, D.C.

AIFS is named among the Top Places to Work in Connecticut by Hearst Newspapers in an annual survey.


AIFS Founder and Chairman, Sir Cyril Taylor, announces his autobiography, "Sir Cyril: My Life as a Social Entrepreneur."


AIFS celebrates 50 years of bringing the world together.

AIFS headquarters moves to 1 High Ridge Park in Stamford, CT.


AIFS is again named among the Top Places to Work in Connecticut by Hearst Newspapers in an annual survey.

The Cyril Taylor Charitable Foundation (CTCF) is formed to provide resources for the future for AIFS, Richmond University and other organizations and charities in the field.


Sir Cyril Taylor passes away and is succeeded by William L. Gertz.

AIFS looks ahead to continued innovation as a leader in educational and cultural exchange programs.


The 2020s had a tumultuous beginning with the global pandemic causing decreased participation on international exchange organizations. In the time since, we have persevered and rebuilt, even launching AIFS Professional Pathways, a new intern and trainee program. Celebrating our 60th anniversary in 2024, AIFS embraces the future, and reaffirms our role as a cultural influencer and industry leader on the global stage.   


AIFS Abroad (formerly AIFS Study Abroad) brings together three world-class programs for college students already offered by AIFS, under one umbrella: the traditional AIFS Study Abroad programs, AIFS Customized Faculty-Led programs and Global Experiences International Internship programs.


Academic Year in America (AYA) celebrates its 40th anniversary of placing international students with American host families.


AIFS and CIEE establish Ping-Taylor Professional Fellows Grant, AIFS and CIEE donating $100,000 over the next three years, allowing higher education administrators and faculty to attend annual conferences.


Jack Burg becomes President and CEO of AIFS.

Au Pair in America named Top Au Pair Provider for third consecutive year by Verywell Family.

AIFS Abroad named 2023’s Top Rated Study Abroad Provider by GoAbroad and 2023’s Best 2023 Intern Provider by Go Overseas.


AIFS Professional Pathways is launched, providing J-1 visa sponsorship for international interns and trainees pursing professional opportunities with businesses across the U.S. This division of AIFS supports U.S. companies, immigration firms, universities, partners, students, and professionals at all levels.

AIFS celebrates 60 years as a pioneer in cultural exchange and educational travel.

AIFS Organizational affiliations