Dean College students studying abroad

Dean College is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) on an innovative new program: First Year Abroad (FYA). Launching in fall 2024, FYA offers recent high school graduates the opportunity to begin their undergraduate studies with a transformative study abroad experience during their first semester or academic year of college.

Unlike students in a gap year program, FYA participants are enrolled as first-year college students on track to complete their college degree within four years. Rather than waiting until junior year to study abroad, FYA students begin their undergraduate career with a life-changing international experience, developing the capacity to thrive on any campus, in any culture, or in any career.

With over 75 years of experience and educational hubs located in more than 28 countries around the world, CIEE has a proven track record of helping students explore new cultures, learn new skills, and achieve their academic goals. Dean College is pleased to partner with CIEE as the Academic Home and School of Record for First Year Abroad.

“It is clear that Dean College and CIEE share similar values – a focus on the student and their success, as well as high academic quality,” said Scott Sibley, vice president of academic affairs at Dean College. "This will be a wonderful opportunity for students to explore the world as they explore college.”

Students on CIEE’s First Year Abroad program earn college credit during a 12-week semester, taking intro-level classes offered in a wide range of subject areas – including arts, humanities, social sciences, STEM, business, and world languages. Students may study at one of CIEE’s 14 FYA locations for the duration of the 12-week program, or they may design their own program, studying in one location in the fall and another in the spring, or spending six-week academic blocks in multiple locations.

“The wide-ranging offerings will allow for a breadth of study that builds a solid general education framework for further exploration,” said Sibley. “First Year Abroad will allow students to see the world around them, and their place in it, in new ways.”

Semester programs are offered in Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Kyoto, Monteverde, Prague, Rabat, and Seville. Semester programs allow immersion in up to four courses at once, including those with labs or language classes.

Six-week academic block programs are offered in Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, London, Paris, Rome, and Sydney. In a 12-week semester, students can combine six-week academic blocks to study in two different locations or they can spend two six-week academic blocks in a single location. Block courses are 3 or 4 credits, contain requisite contact hours and content, and count for the same credit as if they were spread out over a traditional semester. This allows for more intense study of fewer subjects at once.

FYA students benefit from on-site support provided by international education professionals with best-in-class health, safety, and security training. The program also offers academic tutoring and First Year Workshops, which focus on valuable life skills such as time and money management, resilience and self-care, goal-setting, problem-solving, and interpersonal communication. Activities and excursions organized by CIEE immerse FYA participants in the local culture as they build friendships with college peers.

"CIEE First Year Abroad offers a unique opportunity for students to begin college with a well-supported global experience that fosters personal and academic growth and lays the groundwork for a successful undergraduate career," said James P. Pellow, president and CEO of CIEE. “This program is for any student who wants to see the world and enrich their global perspective right at the outset of their college journey.”

“CIEE works with more than 400 high schools and 1,000 university partners annually to engage students in global learning experiences. So, we know very well that the first year of college plays a crucial role in a student’s academic retention,” said Alexandra Wood, vice president of global ventures at CIEE. “We are enthusiastic about collaborating with high school guidance counselors, college advisors, global education offices, and college admissions offices, to establish First Year Abroad as a pathway to college success."

Learn more about CIEE's First Year Abroad program.