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American Institute For Foreign Study

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Mike Liberty
American Institute For Foreign Study
(203) 399-5187

Study Abroad is "Most Meaningful" College Experience For 85% of Participants
- New AIFS Alumni Survey Details Long-Term Impact of Studying Abroad -

ST. LOUIS, MO – MAY 27, 2013 – In a survey report to be released today by the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS), 85% of participants consider their study abroad experience the “most meaningful experience of [their] undergraduate education.” AIFS, a leading study abroad organization, will release the full survey results and findings at 10:00 am ET at the 65th Annual National Association of Foreign Student Advisers (NAFSA) Conference and Expo held at America’s Center in St. Louis.

The survey, completed by more than 1,600 study abroad alumni who participated in AIFS programs since 1990, documents program participation trends between 1990 and 2010. Survey respondents reported that their study abroad experience resulted in significant impact in several key areas of personal and professional development.

“As we near our 50th anniversary of providing college students with unforgettable study abroad experiences, it is a fitting time to share the results of this extensive and comprehensive survey,” states William L. Gertz, President and CEO of AIFS. ”With the growing demand for students to compete in the worldwide marketplace, studying abroad is more critical than ever. It is our hope that this survey and subsequent findings will help increase study abroad participation among American college students.”

The survey findings demonstrate that alumni have retained significant increased knowledge and awareness of another culture; awareness of political, social and economic events in the world; and increased interest in transnational issues. Key outcomes of the survey include:

  • 92% report that AIFS coursework helped them learn about their host country
  • 80% report that studying abroad contributed to “my ability to adapt in diverse workplace environments
  • 98% report the program as a whole “impacted my knowledge about another culture”

AIFS Study Abroad Outcomes includes survey results and analysis as well as a comparison to a similar survey of AIFS participants conducted in 1988. The 36-page publication is available by contacting AIFS at (800) 727-2437 or by email at

The NAFSA Annual Conference brings together more than 8,000 professionals in the field of international education for five days of training workshops, educational sessions, networking opportunities and special events.

AIFS offers study abroad programs in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Spain and Turkey. All AIFS programs are comprehensive and include housing, meals, transcripts, insurance and built-in cultural activities and excursions. Additional scholarships and financial aid are also available..

To learn more about AIFS, contact David Mauro at (800) 727-2437, ext. 5163 or email, or visit

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As a leader in cultural exchange, AIFS sends more than 5,000 students abroad each year. Since its founding in 1964, AIFS has been committed to providing students with the safest, most enjoyable and highest quality educational programs. AIFS celebrates a proud history of providing opportunities to the international education community. Over 1.5 million people from nearly 1,500 colleges and universities have participated in AIFS programs.