15 ISA Advantages for Which to be Thankful*

ISA’s Custom Programs division is celebrating its 15th year in service to U.S. universities for their faculty-led and partnerships study abroad programming. Join us for this series of 15 things as you imagine, develop, and implement your own custom programs abroad.

1. Resident staff are the gravy to our ISA mashed potatoes.
Our resident directors should really be called resident rock stars, as they manage daily operations, liaise with HQ, respond to emergencies and incidents, and offer students emotional, academic, and cultural support.

2. We have a cornucopia of Austin-based staff.
The ISA Custom Programs division is made up of eight full-time staff, one of whom will be dedicated to developing and implementing your program. We also have an ISA Site Specialist for each of our 40+ sites who can help answer just about any question you, a faculty leader, or a student may pose.

3. We’ll cater to you.
Your dedicated ISA Custom Program Manager will be your main contact until you have left the U.S., which takes any guesswork about international time differences and long-distance calling off of your to-do list.

4. Skip the Black Friday sales.
We know the currency market can be a bear [or a bull] to predict. ISA custom program prices are given in U.S. dollars, and any risk of currency fluctuation is absorbed by ISA.

5. Give thanks for our health… and safety policies.
ISA health and safety resources and support have grown steadily each year. In addition to our full-time resident staff, vetted medical facilities, and incident response protocol, ISA has added a Coordinator for Health, Safety, and Security at our office in Texas who oversees incident management and response.

6. ISA emergency response doesn’t take a holiday.
From departing flight delays to the return of your program, stateside ISA support is available to students, faculty, and parents 24/7.

7. Liability coverage: easy as pumpkin pie.
Partnering with ISA for your faculty-led or partnership program abroad greatly reduces the amount of risk your university assumes by owning a study abroad program. Rest easy; your risk management office will be grateful for ISA support and liability coverage.

8. Gobble, gobble! Let’s get the word out.
A crucial step to being able to implement your custom program is recruiting students. With the help of ISA University Relations Representatives, ISA would like to help you to market your program on your campus and at nearby colleges and universities.

9. A new kind of home for the holidays.
ISA has long-standing relationships with our host families; home-stays are typically one of the best-rated components on ISA post-program surveys, with students frequently commenting that their host family had a positive impact on their experience abroad.

10. Academic quality: our recipe for success.
ISA’s Academic Affairs department manages the academic quality and integrity of ISA programs through an extensive institutional vetting process and continuous assessment of the professors and curriculum at each partner institution. Whether you enroll your students in a host university course or contract a local professor to teach as a part of your program, you can be sure ISA’s academic priority for our programs will translate to the level of academic support for yours.

11. Established infrastructure, with all the trimmings.
ISA has been operating abroad since 1987, and as such has taken care to foster and maintain strong relationships with academic institutions and contacts, transportation companies, housing agents, and guide agencies. We are able to offer trusted, high-quality services on site as well as pass along the benefit of our repeat-customer discounts to your program.

12. The Parade has begun, and we’ll float you a proposal.
There is no charge to you for an ISA proposal of support services for your custom program. In fact, there is no charge to you until 10 weeks prior to departure, when you let us know that the program is going to go abroad for sure.

13. Flexible enrollment and financial timeline… no wishbone needed.
We do eventually need to know who is going on the program, and to pay the bills, but the established relationship of trust between your university and ISA affords some flexibility to the deadline for student enrollment and the payment schedule. You can check out the specifics in this Program Development Timeline.

14. Skip the post office queue.
You can rest easy about student and faculty “paper” work, knowing that it is all submitted virtually and easily accessible online. A list of ISA forms is outlined in this description of the ISA Admissions process and we can work with your office to streamline forms requirements.

15. A tradition worth repeating.
Since our first custom program in 1998, ISA has partnered with more than 90 U.S. universities to develop custom study abroad programs for their students, successfully developed and administered more than 300 custom programs, and sent more than 5,000 students abroad on programs developed in collaboration with U.S. universities. We’ve published faculty feedback and study abroad office opinions of working with ISA, so we’ll let our References do the talking. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to be put in touch with any of our True Blue or Loyalty partners.

*16. No hanging prepositions!


Melissa Stone is a Program Manager for ISA Custom Programs. Melissa works with programs in Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, and Jordan.

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.