Academic Update

FALL 2019

New Programs

We are pleased to announce the addition of the following new programs:

New Zealand

Starting January 2020, two new quarter program options will be offered in partnership with AUT University. During the New Zealand Studies + Internship program, students enroll in the required Introduction to New Zealand History course plus an eight-week ISA custom placed internship.
Students participating in the New Zealand Studies + Business program will enroll in the Introduction to New Zealand History course plus two additional business courses.
Both tracks offer a full academic load for quarter students and finish by March 31, 2020, allowing students to return home in time for Spring quarter. Learn more about the two new programs here.

Port Elizabeth,
South Africa

ISA is excited to announce the launch of two new summer programs at Nelson Mandela University. ISA students may enroll in Environment and Global Health and earn 6 U.S. semester credits, or History, Culture, and Community Service Learning for 3-6 U.S. semester credits. Each four-week program includes experiential learning opportunities within the local environment and community.


Starting Spring 2020, the Universidad de Barcelona will offer students the opportunity to participate in the Hispanic Studies and International Business program and opt out of the previously required Spanish course. Students may enroll in Spanish Language plus Hispanic Studies or International Business electives (13-16 U.S. semester credits), or all electives if they prefer (12-15 U.S.).

Program Updates

Paris, France

ISA's partner host institution, the American Business School Paris (ABSP), has earned recognition by the U.S. Department of Education as an eligible institution under the Higher Education Act of 1965. The ABSP is now published in the U.S. Department of Education's directory of recognized Post-Secondary Institutions.

Paris, France

The title of ISA Paris host university "The Sorbonne - Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne" has been changed to "Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne." This update is meant to better reflect the host university's official name. The Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne (CCFS) was founded in 1919 by the Société des Amis de l'Université de Paris with the mission of contributing to the internalization of the Sorbonne and continues to offer exceptional French language, phonetics, and culture courses to our students who want an immersive linguistic experience.

Florence, Italy

We are pleased to announce the addition of a Spring semester to the Filmmaking or Acting for Film program at the New York Film Academy Florence. The two tracks, Filmmaking or Acting for Film, will award 13 and 12 U.S. semester credits, respectively.

Rome, Italy

The American University of Rome has discontinued its J-Term program starting Spring 2020. Students interested in another J-Term option in Italy may still enroll in the Arts, Business & Italian Language program at the Florence University of the Arts.

Bilbao, Spain

The Universidad de Deusto has expanded their academic offering. New courses taught in Spanish include: Writing and Translation, Cinema in Spain and Latin America, and Gender Topics in Spanish Society. These courses are open to students enrolled in either semester program at the appropriate language level.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

High-achieving students participating in the Science, Liberal Arts & Business Courses with Locals program at VU Amsterdam may now enroll in honors courses. These courses are smaller, more intensive, and discussion-based. Interested students will submit a motivation letter and must have a minimum GPA of 3.5.

San José, Costa Rica

Starting Spring 2020, the term index for the Spanish Language, Liberal Arts & Environmental Studies and Health Care Courses in English & Medical Spanish programs will change from Winter to Spring.
The Intensive Spanish Language quarter program, previously called Winter 3, is now Winter 1.

Program Name Changes

We have changed the names of the programs below to better reflect their curricular strengths and differentiate them from other programs offered in the same city, country or geographic area.
Seville, Spain - Semester
New program title: Education in a Multicultural Context + Teaching Practice
Formerly: Education in a Multicultural Context
Seville, Spain – Intensive Month
New program title: Multicultural Education in Seville + Teaching Practice
Formerly: Multicultural Education in Seville

Suspended Programs

As we expand, we are eliminating curricular redundancies, and suspending programs, locations and placements that have historically been under‑subscribed. Through this process, we strive to better serve the needs of our students and North American university partners.
Effective Spring 2020, we are suspending the following programs:
Havana, Cuba: all programs
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Spring 1/Fall 1, Intensive Spanish Language
Madrid, Spain: Spring 4/Fall 4, Spanish Language & Courses with Locals at Universidad Antonio de Nebrija
Valencia, Spain: Summer 3, Soccer, Spanish Language & Culture in Valencia
Madrid, Spain: Summer 3, Sports Management
ISA Service-Learning in Heredia, Costa Rica (San José remains an option)

Enrollment Management

Rachel Rogers

Vice President, Enrollment Management

We are pleased to announce that Rachel Rogers has been promoted to Vice President, Enrollment Management. Rachel has been with ISA for almost 14 years and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this department. Prior to accepting this position, she was Director, Enrollment Management, served as Program Manager for over 10 countries, as well as
former Director of Service-Learning.

ISA Launches New Department Structure

In an effort to refine our structure for student support and outreach during the pre-departure process, we have updated the positions on our enrollment management team! Our team is now divided into two positions: Program Manager and Region & Account Manager. Our Program Managers will be responsible for all student advising, including: the application, housing, academics, excursions, and site-specific details. Our Region & Account Managers will handle student finances and invoices.

The goal of this change is to provide one point of contact per program location, the Program Manager, who will help guide students, parents, and advisors through the pre-departure study abroad process. We are excited and optimistic about this change and how it will be impactful for those we serve. We encourage you to visit the Enrollment Management section on the ISA website! 

Diversity & Inclusion

Malaika Marable Serrano

Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion

Malaika Marable Serrano was recently promoted to Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion. This appointment is a reflection of Malaika's significant work in this space, as well as WorldStrides and ISA's commitment to diversity and inclusion in international education. Malaika has served as a trainer and presenter on a number of topics, including: inclusive program design, intersections of diversity & inclusion with health & safety, navigating social identities abroad, facilitating diverse student panels, and workshops for faculty program directors.

Additionally, she has created and delivered diversity and inclusion training for Education Abroad offices. If you would like to explore opportunities for ISA to support your diversity goals, please reach out to Malaika at

Diversity Abroad Task Forces

ISA is proud to announce that two of our team members were recently appointed to the following Diversity Abroad Task Forces:

Candace Ricks
Regional Director, Race/Ethnicity Task Force

Aley Bedair
Regional Director, Religious Identity Task Force

Both Candace and Aley have been engaging in diversity and inclusion work for some time and this appointment recognized their continued dedication to support underrepresented students and contribute to the field of Education Abroad.



Updated Curriculum

After reviewing participant feedback, students now have the opportunity to choose the journal and essay prompts that best fit their experience from a list of options. Additionally, the number of required journals and essays have been reduced and replaced with online discussion posts.
These discussion posts connect ISA students across the globe to share their experience and reflect together. Online discussion posts, or "Shared Reflections," cover Ethics of Community-Engaged Service-Learning and Cultural Humility. Our hope is that with more varied and intentional reflection assignments, participants will meet the program's learning objectives of personal growth, civic learning, cultural competence, and academic application.

Community Engagement Scholarship

The Community Engagement Scholarship, formerly the Kalyn Peterson Memorial Scholarship, will now be offered for all program terms.
Any ISA student participating on a full-time or study + service-learning combo program is eligible to apply for the $1,000 scholarship.


Career Readiness Course

In January, ISA Internships soft-launched a free Career Readiness Course for students. Developed with the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE) eight career readiness competencies in mind, this course provides students with many resources to aid in their professional development.

Students that complete the course earn a Career Readiness digital badge to add to their LinkedIn profile. Learn more about this program or email the Internships team at for more information.

Internships now in Ho Chi Minh City!

Beginning Summer 2020, ISA Internships will begin offering internships in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Interns receive custom-matched internship placements across a variety of career fields and majors. This program offers unique professional development opportunities while also including 24/7 on-site support, excursions, and cultural activities. This is our most affordable program yet!

Program Dates:
May 8-week:
May 21-July 19, 2020

June 8-week:
June 18- August 16, 2020

September 8-week:
September 17- November 5, 2020

Please contact Riley Wenger at for inquiries.


ISA is excited to announce the launch of new scholarship opportunities in 2020 to participating students!

  • In an effort to decrease barriers for students who receive GI Bill and Veterans benefits, ISA will be awarding a $500 supplemental scholarship to GI recipients participating in an ISA program starting Spring 2020.

  • Starting Fall 2020, ISA will award its first annual ISA GO (Global Opportunity) Scholarship to one participating student for the FULL LIST PRICE of the ISA program.

  • ISA’s host university partner, Universidad de Barcelona-CETT, is now offering an ISA-specific Diversity Scholarship. Students who are attending a semester program at the CETT through ISA are eligible to apply for this scholarship.

Check out the Scholarships & Grants section of our website to learn more. ISA awards over 75% of our students with a scholarship, grant, or discount towards their program abroad!

Congratulations to the Fall 2019 ISA and Host University Scholarships recipients! Winners of ISA's Castañeda and Diversity scholarship are given the opportunity to participate as ISA student bloggers during their term abroad. Follow along with our selected scholarship winners as they write about their experiences during a semester abroad with ISA.


Veritas Abroad is implementing a Cross-Cultural Engagement Certificate and digital badge program to showcase the growth and achievements of our students while they are serving and studying abroad. Students can earn the following badges: Leadership, Cultural Explorer, and Storyteller. Students who earn all three badges will receive the Cross-Cultural Engagement Certificate, and those who complete the requirements of the Certificate will…

  • Increase intercultural awareness, problem solving skills, and professionalism

  • Identify and apply the impact of global immersion through critical thinking, research, and reflection

  • Develop promotional, oral and written communication skills by utilizing digital technology and social platforms

Agreements & Collaborations

Since the last issue of the Academic Update Newsletter, ISA is proud to have entered into affiliation agreements with the following universities:

  • Benedictine College
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Belmont University
  • Morgan State University
  • Mercyhurst University

For a complete listing of ISA's U.S. affiliates, please visit the Affiliated Universities page on the ISA website.

Q & A: Jennifer Acosta

ISA Senior Vice President & General Manager

What’s your favorite part of your new role?

Working more closely with all departments within ISA and liaising with so many of my WorldStrides colleagues. In my previous role in Enrollment Management, I had a large team and worked across several geographic regions, but my position did not have the wide range that it does now, and I find that very exciting. I am seeing things through a new lens and am learning new things every day.

If you could study abroad again where would it be and why?

Buenos Aires. As a dual Spanish and Latin America Studies major I came very close to studying in Argentina. Ultimately Spain won out, and took my heart along with it, but I still regret that I have never been to Argentina and have it on my bucket list.

What does a fun night out look like for you?

A trip to our local Texas dance hall with my husband and friends for a night of country dancing, most notably the Texas two-step.

Who inspires you?

My children. I have 12 and 13-year-old daughters who can be anything they want to be and they are watching me. They see how I react to adversity, how I celebrate, and how I treat others.  I want them to be proud of who I am and what I do, so they inspire me to the best version of myself.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

See the world, take chances, meet new people, and maintain connections.

Describe yourself in three words:

Efficient, resilient, grateful