FIE: Foundation for International Education
The Semester of a Lifetime
Submitted by Maggie A. - University of Memphis | August 20, 2015
Even though I've been out of the country previously, my time abroad in London was by far my favorite. I spent my four months exploring, visiting museums, walking the streets, and emerging myself in one of the most exciting and beautiful cities I've been to. Through my classes, I was able to learn even more about London's rich history and get a deeper understanding about the city's role within the United Kingdom. My internship allowed me to work amongst locals and with many from around the world, as well as develop my skills as a young professional. This semester gave me a deeper appreciation for diversity and the beauty of stepping outside of my comfort zone. While I traveled to different cities and countries during my semester, I continually found myself wanting to return to London to explore and experience.
Program: London Semester Study Abroad
FIE London is a great program!
Submitted by Alex - Santa Clara Univ | January 17, 2015
I found FIE in London to be well run and provide excellent opportunities to truly experience London as a student abroad. Location was especially great, as was the connection to many activities in London
The most action-packed, adventurous trip which included everything and more
Submitted by Robert K - Drexel University | January 17, 2015
The London/Amman Conflict Resolution program was both invaluable and unforgettable. This was actually my first time out of the USA and I could not have picked a better program. I have never seen a more organized program with an action-packed and educational itinerary. Being first introduced to London by living in posh Kensington, I got to learn from some of the best professors on the Northern Ireland conflict. By best, I mean Dr. Arthur could name drop and take you back like it was yesterday. I had the honor of being lectured by Lord Alderdice, a life peer in the House of Lords and former speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Something I always have to add, thanks to FIE, all of the students were invited to dine with HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal and HRH Princess Sarvath of Jordan, and HRH Duke of Kent. Additionally, in the year I participated, we travelled to Northern Ireland for the weekend. Wow! It doesn’t get much more personal than this. Not to mention, the turnover time from travesty to (educational) tourism was remarkable. The most memorable aspect of this mini-trip was standing in the cell where the legendary Bobby Sands died in the protest hunger strike. Other great aspects include visiting Stormont and talking with the Northern Ireland police department. Of course, much fun was had as well with countless pub visits and roaming London via tube thanks to FIE.
Additionally, the Middle-eastern component in Amman, Jordan was equally impressive. Because the Middle East holds some preconceived notions, it’s important to talk about Jordan itself. In a word, very safe and fun. Amman can be quite liberal at times and the area welcomes foreigners. Even being Jewish is no issue in Amman. The after-hours scene has its own Jordanian style as well. It is even safe at dark. Many iftar meals can attest to that. Naturally, it is a bit of a culture shock. The most trying, but fun example is travelling from your homestay to the AMIDEAST building in a taxi, no English. Let me help you out. Look for Abdoun Circle. However, plenty of English is spoken in Amman. AMIDEAST was absolutely phenomenal! Again, the professors and guest speakers were great and they provided me with invaluable information on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict—with the Jordanian perspective never mentioned in western media. These guest speakers, by the way, include past prime ministers and current senators. Also, there were many site visits including refugee camps, travelling to the Dead Sea, and experiencing Biblical Jordan. Also, I would stay on for the extra Arabic portion. I entered Jordan knowing two Arabic words. I left with the ability to construct simple sentences and equally speak and write them. I also placed into Arabic III when I got home.
Overall, the best program I have ever been involved in. The education, guest speakers, extracurricular learning opportunities, and after-hours fun were absolutely indispensable and unforgettable. Many lasting memories were made. Additionally, my fellow peers who embarked on the same trip as me made it the best as well. We all came from different schools and great friendships we made. I would recommend this to any student who wants to have fun while learning and do so for the most cost efficient price. FIVE STARS. Thanks FIE and AMIDEAST!!!
Why you should study abroad in Dublin
Submitted by Michelle M. C. - State University of New York at Albany | January 14, 2015
I was pleasantly surprised with how interesting the courses were. The professors were really fascinating and knowledgeable, they absolutely knew their stuff. The work load wasn't too bad, definitely manageable. It was nice- I truly didn't mind waking up and going to class in the morning. And the trips you take as part of the courses are really awesome, I didn't expect to be able to see and experience as much as I did.
The apartments at Blackhall Place were spacious, and having a private bedroom with only two-three people per bathroom was nice. The location is an easy walk to class, and the shopping/bar areas. It's also close to Phoenix Park, which is really beautiful, and my window had a rad view of the Guinness Factory. Nice kitchen accommodations, with all the essentials. On some particularly warm days, the rooms would get a bit hot when the sun was up, because there was no air conditioning, but it was easy to adjust to!
I did a lot of my own cooking, and prepared lunch to bring to class. One of the great things about Ireland is they have really fresh produce and groceries, and you grocery shop in much smaller quantities than in the U.S. I really enjoyed this, because I love cooking and eating fresh food. There's also a cost for plastic grocery bags, so you would use a reusable shopping bag or backpack, which I found to be really progressive and of course eco-friendly. I probably grocery shopped and cooked more than most of the people on my trip, but I found it more cost effective. But there were also great restaurants and café's all over. We ate out at some really delicious restaurants.
I took advantage of my time in Ireland by trying to expose myself to the culture as much as possible. The Irish people are incredibly friendly and are wonderful at making you feel welcome, so we would always make friends and ask around for advice on good places to go, or things to do. We spent a lot of time walking around and exploring, and we went to a lot of open mic nights and band performances. And the wonderful people from FIE and DBS can give you great recommendations on things to do to make you feel more like a Dubliner.
I felt extremely safe in Dublin and in the cities we traveled to, but of course when you're in any place that's foreign to you, you have to be smart in your decisions. We would never go off on our own without letting others in the group know where we were going-- I'm a runner, and I would always just give my housemates a shout when I was leaving the apartment to go for a jog alone. And it's great to make new friends, especially with Dubliners, but we would always be safe and smart when we talked to people outside the group. And having a travel phone is very inexpensive, and extremely helpful for security and being able to find your friends.
I've traveled to a few places in the world, and I always try to take a bit of each country home with me. Literally, I always take a few pebbles. But more deeply than that, from Dublin and Ireland in general I gained a great respect for friendliness and openness. As a straight-up New Yorker, I'm used to facing a very fast-paced and standoffish state of living. The Irish way is friendly, it's kinder, it's welcoming. You could get into a friendly conversation with a stranger at the grocery store, or out at night, just for the sake of a friendly conversation.
Something else I found great was that the Irish also care a great deal about their politics and their country, which I found refreshing. Instead of the Kardashians, you could get into a lengthy debate about a political decision at the pub over a pint (and then maybe hash out about the Kardashians just a wee bit). I found the overall experience extremely enriching, and very worthwhile.
I greatly value the experiences I had, encompassing everything from Causey Farms to that one club in Belfast.
Program: FIE: Dublin Summer Program
An Incredible Experience - Do it!
Submitted by BigFanofFIE - Stanford University | November 23, 2014
I have the most incredible time in Jordan. I was exposed to new kinds of people, food, culture, places, clothing, language and so many other things in a fun and safe way. I cannot think of a better way to learn about conflict resolution and learn more about the Arabic language. The study program was top notch - we met many current and former practitioners for the conflict resolution piece and studied under very qualified and talented teachers for the Arabic immersion piece. My host family in Jordan was incredible. Overall, clearly, I have very fond memories of the program and highly encourage anyone considering to do the program to do so!