Press Release

For Immediate Release

Mike Liberty, AIFS
(203) 399-5187,

American Institute For Foreign Study Acquires IEC

BONN, GERMANY - August 19, 2019 - The American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS), one of the oldest and largest cultural exchange organizations in the world, today announced the acquisition of IEC Online GmbH (“International Education for Global Minds”).

IEC, a leading university representative and educational consultant, recruits students from Germany and Austria to study abroad at one of the IEC Partner Universities in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Spain, Singapore, Malaysia or China.

“AIFS is very excited to have IEC join our family of programs and services,” states Thomas Kiechle, Executive Director of AIFS Deutschland. “For nearly two decades, IEC has provided a myriad of benefits for both students and partner organizations alike. This acquisition will allow AIFS to partner with more universities and colleges to provide students with additional opportunities for international education and cultural exchange.”

IEC was one of the first agencies certified by the American International Recruitment Council (AIRC), a non-profit organization focused on safeguarding the interests of both international students and enrolling institutions through the promotion of ethical recruitment strategies. IEC provides free support to German and Austrian students throughout the process of applying to study abroad.

“IEC fits perfectly within AIFS’ mission,” states William L. Gertz, Chairman and CEO of AIFS. “For more than a half century, AIFS has been devoted to offering educational and cultural exchange programs that enrich the lives of young people all over the world, a passion shared by IEC. They have excelled at supporting students while also enhancing the efforts of their partners – practices that will continue now that they are a part of the AIFS global network.”

Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut (USA), with offices in 6 countries, including Germany, AIFS places approximately 50,000 students a year in cultural exchange programs, including high school and college study abroad programs, internships, high school educational travel, au pair placement, gifted education, insurance services and camp counselor staffing. Since its founding in 1964, more than 1.6 million people have participated in AIFS programs.

“Over the past 18 years, IEC in Germany has played an important role in enabling students to go abroad and has successfully supported many German universities in serving their outgoing free-mover students,” states Hilka Leicht, founder and owner of IEC. “AIFS is a worldwide leader in cultural exchange and international education. I am confident that IEC will continue to flourish, providing the highest quality services to universities and students alike.”

Founded in 2001, IEC has developed partnerships with approximately 130 universities from all over the world. IEC was formerly a privately held company headquartered in Berlin.

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With offices in 6 countries, AIFS organizes cultural exchange programs for more than 50,000 participants each year. Programs include college study abroad, internships, international au pair placement, international camp counselor placement, gifted education, international internships, high school educational travel and insurance services. 

AIFS Organizational affiliations