Academic Studies Abroad

16 Cohasset Street Roslindale, MA 02131 United States

About Academic Studies Abroad

Year Founded: 1999

Everyone at Academic Studies Abroad is dedicated to making sure that all of our students achieve three goals: A true feeling and understanding for the culture they are immersed in, a memorable and safe once-in-a-lifetime experience, and personal growth through a better understanding of the world around them. Unlike other study abroad programs, we keep the size of our programs small. We believe that group sizes of more than 50 students hurt the ability to integrate into a culture. The ASA staff is a group of people who are well traveled, experienced in international education, always there to assist students, and who have studied abroad.

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Discover Programs

Study in Sevilla with ASA

Spain : Seville (Sevilla)

Sevilla is a city that stimulates all of the senses the flutter of Flamenco guitar coming from the nighttime tablaos, the heady fragrance of orange trees, the smell of freshly...

Study in London with ASA!

England : London

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford…” Samuel Johnson London is a city of both ancient history and...

Study in Aix-en-Provence, France with ASA

France : Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence is located in the south of France in the region of Provence, along the Mediterranean Sea. Here, you can experience traditional French culture in an intimate,...

Study in Barcelona with ASA

Spain : Barcelona

Located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona boasts cutting edge style, cuisine, and culture, as well as some of the most amazing architecture in the world. No...

Study in Viña del Mar, Chile with ASA

Chile : Vina del Mar

Viña del Mar is a thriving coastal city of 320,000, boasting miles of beaches, warm and welcoming locals, and great nightlife. Located about 70 miles northwest of Santiago,...

Study in Florence with ASA

Italy : Florence

Full of art, history, and amazing food, Florence is one of Italy's most exhilarating, distinctive, and beautiful cities. Located in the heart of Tuscany, Florence is almost...

J-Term Seminar with ASA - France, Morocco, Gibraltar, Spain

-Multi-Country Locations : France, Gibraltar and 2 other locations , Morocco, Spain Show less

The J-term Traveling Seminar can be treated as a stand-alone program (3 credits) or combined with ASA's spring semester in Aix-en-Provence (18 credits) for which students...

Study in Paris with ASA

France : Paris

ASA offers its students several courses of study in Paris: direct enrollment at the Université de Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), the Institut Catholique, or the Cours de Langue...

Study Abroad in Dublin with ASA

Ireland : Dublin

Griffith College of Dublin was established in 1974 and currently has 5,000 students studying on a full or part-time basis. Recognized as one of the top private universities...

Study in Buenos Aires, Argentina with ASA

Argentina : Buenos Aires

With about 3 million people in the city and over 12 million in the greater metropolitan area, Buenos Aires is the cultural and economic center of Argentina. Buenos Aires

Study Abroad in Oxford with ASA!

England : Oxford

Located just 1 hour from London by bus or train, Oxford is one of the oldest and most beautiful university towns in the world. As soon as you step foot in Oxford, you'll

Study in San Jose, Costa Rica with ASA

Costa Rica : San Jose

For such a small country, Costa Rica really has a lot to brag about. It covers only 0.03 % of the surface of the globe, but it proudly shelters 6% of the existing biodiversity...

Study in Cuzco, Peru with ASA

Peru : Cusco

Host Institution: Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola Credits: Students can earn 12-15 semester credits per semester or 6 semester credits per summer session. Academic

Study in Lima, Peru with ASA

Peru : Lima

Host Institution: Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola Credits: Students can earn 12-15 semester credits per semester.. Academic Focus: Students studying at Universidad...

Study & Intern Abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland with ASA

Scotland : Edinburgh

Host Institution: University of Edinburgh Credits: Summer students take 2 courses and are placed in an internship for a total of 30 Scottish credits transcripted by the...

Study in Madrid with ASA

Spain : Madrid

Madrid, the capital of Spain, is a fascinating city that can go from ultra-modern in one neighborhood to medieval the next. It truly is a city of contrasts. The oldest part...

Study in Sorrento, Italy with ASA

Italy : Sorrento

WHY SORRENTO? -Live and study in paradise! Southern Italy has a very mild climate, extended summer -Very few Americans in Sorrento -Classrooms are right on the water,

Staff Interviews

  • Lee Frankel - Founder

    Lee Frankel founded Academic Studies Abroad (ASA) in 1999 with the desire to help more college students see the world.  ASA aims to create study abroad programs that are small in size, but mighty in experience and support. Today, he travels the world visiting the ASA program sites and scouting for new ones, as well as travels to U.S. colleges and universities to talk about the ASA programs. When not on a plane, Lee lives in Boston with his wife and two children who all, thankfully, also love to travel. Hear what Lee has to say about travel, hot topics, and ASA’s programming!

    Visiting Cusco, Peru posing with a Peruvian child
    Lee enjoying a visit to Cusco, Peru a few years ago.

    You grew up in New York City, what triggered you to venture abroad to Salamanca, Spain while in college?

    I also grew up in Amherst, MA, so I had experienced both big city life, as well as small town life. Salamanca seemed like it was somewhere in between the two, which attracted me. A very close friend from NYC had also studied there and he encouraged me to go. I have absolutely no regrets about choosing Salamanca, and am hoping to take my wife and kids there soon.

    What advice would you give to other young men from NYC as to why they should study abroad?

    My advice would be to all young men, not just ones from NYC, because men are severely lacking in study abroad. Many of our groups are 80 percent female or higher, which is improving in some cities, such as Barcelona where the numbers are more even, but our overall numbers are not 50/50, which I would like them to be. Everyone in the field has a theory about why more women study abroad than men, and there’s probably some truth in every theory, but the fact remains that there is no legitimate reason that most men can give me for why they don’t study abroad.

    You’ve traveled to over 20 countries, which has been the most impactful, and where would you most like to visit next? 

    All of the countries I’ve visited have a place in my heart, but I’d have to say that Spain had the greatest impact on my life. I suffered from panic attacks during high school and college, so didn’t like to travel for fear of having an attack. Going to Spain on my own, having not taken a Spanish class for the three years prior, was a big deal for me at the time, and really boosted my confidence and inspired me to want see as many places as possible. I’ve been to a lot of countries, but there is still a very long list of places I haven’t been to yet, such as New Zealand, Japan, Vietnam, and Tanzania.

    What was the impetus for you forming Academic Studies Abroad?

    I wanted every college student to have the same opportunity that I did. It’s very easy in college to create a comfort zone and just stay in it for four years. My goal was to show college students that they didn’t have to take that route and had another option available to them.  Was I naïve about how hard it would be to convince students? Absolutely! But this job has allowed me to meet, work with, and become friends with some amazing people who have amazing stories. I’m not sure there’s any other field that embraces peoples’ differences quite like this one. It’s a wonderful thing to be part of.

    What does a typical day look like as Director of Programs for ASA?

    There is no typical day at ASA! Every day we face something new, which can be both exciting and scary. Every single person at ASA wears many hats, so I sometimes feel like we should all have about 20 different job titles. There are days where I might spend the morning reviewing a contract from one of our partners, followed by a phone call to a parent to put their mind at ease, followed by packing boxes to ship to our affiliated universities here in the US.

    You play in a band in Boston and enjoying surfing. How do you incorporate opportunities to experience music/arts and adventure into ASA’s programming?

    First, let me say that while I enjoy surfing, I am an awful surfer. My son got to go to surf camp a few years ago and I was incredibly jealous of him. One day I hope to be able to take some time off so I can devote the time needed to improve. Ok, back to your question. We are incredibly lucky to have amazing site directors who are all adventurous and love showing our students their home country. Each site director is responsible for not only taking their students on excursions, but keeping them aware of events going on in their host city and country. Some of the excursions may help the students better understand the new culture they are living, while other excursions might be more for the adventure aspect.  

    Your son and daughter have traveled with you and your wife before. Which ASA program would you send them on?

    The decision will be all theirs. My kids (ages nine and six) have both been to quite a few countries and they love to travel, so when they are in college they will have to decide which country interests them the most. They may also decide to attend college in the UK, as both are dual citizens, so are lucky to have that opportunity available to them.

    What’s the most fulfilling part of your role as Director of Programs for ASA?

    I love hearing from our students that their study abroad experience changed their life. We have students who come from every imaginable background, so for each of them the experience means something different. Many of the students who went abroad with us during our first few years are now married and have kids, and I love seeing the different paths they each took after college. Some of those alumni have also gone on to do some amazing things, like Luke Winston who studied in Barcelona with us, who started a non-profit in Chile helping children living in poverty.

  • Steven Davis - Seville Site Director

    Steven Davis - ASA Seville Site Director

    Though he grew up in the Midwest, Steven had a love for language, culture, and travel from a young age. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (MA), and went on to earn an M.B.A. and a M.S.I.B. (Master of Science in International Business) from the University of Miami (FL). Steven has lived all around Europe, but finally settled in Seville and has been working there for the last 10 years. Fun fact, Steve is a certified Myers Briggs practitioner!

    What is a typical day like for a student on your ASA Seville program?

    A typical day in the life of an ASA student in Seville involves waking up in the home of your Spanish family, having a light breakfast (toast, cereal, fruit, tea, juice), and practicing a little Spanish with your Spanish Mom. Then, walking to class typically takes around 10 to 15 minutes. The walk is beautiful, along the streets of Triana and crossing the Guadalquivir River overlooking the Tower of Gold. While students will consider Sevilla their home, there is a large community of international students with whom the classes will be shared. Between classes there may be time to have some coffee with your language exchange partner. After class, you’ll head home for lunch, study for a couple hours, and prepare for a night out where you’ll go have tapas and then dancing with your Spanish and international friends.


April Fair in Seville, Spain

    Steven celebrating at the farewell event during the April Fair in Seville in his family’s caseta where they danced, sang, and ate.

    How do you help students who are feeling homesick?

    To help students when they first arrive, we provide an in-depth orientation that covers such aspects as culture shock and what to do if you feel homesick. We also talk about the U-Curve of culture shock which explains that EVERYONE to some degree experiences culture shock and feels homesick. More often than not, however, students who feel homesick just need someone to talk to. Fortunately, I have a lot of experience talking to students!

    What kind of extracurricular activities or excursions do you offer to help your students immerse in the local culture?


Academic Studies Abroad Staff and study abroad students having lunch in Seville, Spain

    Steven enjoying an afternoon conversation at one of ASA’s coffee events.

    One of the first things we do when students arrive is take them on a walking tour through Seville. Our purpose is to get students oriented to the city as quickly as possible. We show them the local post office, police station, hospital, areas to go shopping, popular places to eat, as well as the city's local monuments. Shortly after arrival, we take students out for coffee to ask how they're doing, and what they been doing locally. Since each student will take advantage of the opportunities to immerse themselves in the culture differently, we oftentimes meet with students individually to coach them on how to integrate into the local culture.  For students interested in meeting locals, we help the meet what are called, “Intercambios” a.k.a. language exchange partners. When a student expresses an interest in a particular sport we help them find areas where they can participate. We also try to help students interested in volunteering with local organizations.

    How do you ensure the safety and security of your students?

    The safety of our students is by far our highest priority. For this reason we always make sure students are living with families that are experienced in receiving international students. We also place students in safe neighborhoods and within walking distance of their school. We provide a detailed orientation which covers health and safety, making sure that students understand and abide by our behavioral guidelines. Every student has a full and comprehensive medical insurance plan, as well as a cell phone offered by the program with a 24/7 phone number they can call in case of emergency. Most students live within a 15 to 20 minute walk of the local hospital. Furthermore, if  a student feels the need to visit a doctor, we will accompany them regardless of the hour.


Academic Studies Abroad Staff Member and Study Abroad student after a 10k race in Spain

    Steven and an ASA student after running a 10k race.

    What is the best advice you can give students who are interested in applying to the ASA Seville study abroad program?

    The most important factor that will determine the success of your experience abroad is your attitude. If you have a positive attitude then everything else will fall into place. Be willing to try new things, new foods, and adopt new cultural values. It will change you for the better in ways that you won’t be able to easily articulate, and you won’t notice how much you’ve changed until you return home. Our goal at ASA is to help you get the most out of your time abroad, help you through tough times, and be there when you need us most.

    What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job with Academic Studies Abroad?

    I would have to say that the most fulfilling aspect of my job with ASA is to make what may even appear to be a small contribution to the mindset of our students, and providing the infrastructure for the student to have a positive, safe, and productive experience. When a student finishes our program enthusiastic about the experience they've had, I know we've done a good job.