(First-Year Experience Abroad)
CEA's FYE program invites U.S. institutions to send student cohorts to one of our FYE destinations to share courses, co-curricular activities, and housing. Developed based on best practices in higher education, our program incorporates many features of first-year experience programming commonly found on many U.S. campuses, including a strong student support system and facilitated reflective pedagogy and mentorship. By enrolling student cohorts into shared programming, U.S. institutions can mitigate expenses - they are not required to meet high enrollments for programs to operate while ensuring their own signature brand of their institution is infused throughout the student experience.
By offering an intentionally designed FYE Abroad program, your institution and students will benefit in a myriad of ways.
Create options for majors that traditionally have difficulty studying abroad as upper-level students
Support curriculum and campus global learning goals through coursework abroad
Brand & Reputation
Position your institution as more competitive amongst prospective students and faculty and attract high achieving students
Engage students in a high impact practice from day one and enhance their college success
Enroll an extra set of students and minimize the financial impact of students who may transfer or fall out during or after their first year
Access to Study Abroad
Avoid obstacles accessing upper level courses abroad by focusing on general education requirements
Benefit from the transformative learning that comes with starting college in an international context
Bond with and create a shared experience with peers as part of a learning community abroad
Develop leadership and intercultural competence skills to enhance one’s résumé
Explore the sense of self while developing an awareness of the relationship between culture and identity
We have chosen a set of locations we believe are ideal to host first-year experience programs, based on a variety of factors:
Size of city and ease of navigation
Housing options that lend themselves to community-building
Staff and faculty experienced in working with first-year students from U.S. institutions
Home to a CEA Study Center
Access to co-curricular activities within the host community
- English-speaking location
- Cosmopolitan city that is easy to navigate
- Residence halls which facilitate opportunities for community building
- Wealth of immersion activities not limited by language
- Strong student appeal; welcoming to American students
- Shared apartments that are embedded in the community, allowing students to live alongside the Florentines
- Staff highly experienced in supporting student cohorts
- Strong liberal arts curriculum which takes advantage of Florence as its classroom
- Southern hospitality of Andalucía makes students feel welcome
- Walkable and easy to navigate
- Homestay and residencia housing options provide additional oversight for first-year students
- Attentive staff with experience hosting diverse student groups
With devoted staff, curriculum, and infrastructure to support your program, these locations are ready to welcome your first-year students. However, we may be able to support your FYE Abroad program in other locations through our Custom Programs offering.
CEA’s FYE Abroad course list has been developed to fulfill core/general education requirements at most U.S. institutions. Many courses can be offered in any location, while others are uniquely designed around themes and topics specific to a location. Our goal is that all students participating on an FYE program will stay on track with their academic requirements, thus facilitating a smooth transition back to their home campus.
We anticipate all FYE cohort students, regardless of home institution, will choose from the same set of courses.Sample Course List
- Composition & Rhetoric
- Introduction to Psychology
- Introduction to Intercultural Communication Abroad
- Calculus I
- Plants, Humanity & the Environment
- Culture & Civilization of Spain
- A Survey of Italian Art & Architecture
- Irish Music: A Cultural Heritage
We understand the importance of helping first-year students acclimate to college life. As such, CEA is proud to offer signature First-Year Courses at each of our locations.
FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR: Each 3-credit First-Year Seminar is designed to spark a student’s intellectual curiosity through the lens of a specific topic or theme. Course topics will vary by location and will be grounded in the context of the local culture/country. Students will actively use the city as the course's classroom as they explore various topics. In addition to academic discovery, the course will focus on developing critical thinking and writing skills.
COLLEGE READINESS: This 1-credit course focuses on helping students transition to college and developing effective strategies for academic success and personal growth. The course highlights topics such as learning/study strategies, time management, wellness, stress/anxiety, alcohol/drug use, plagiarism, and navigating college resources. The course is meant to complement resources at a student's home institution.
We will continue to expand our first-year course list based on feedback from our U.S. partners. We welcome your ideas. You can also explore customization of the course list and/or teaching faculty as part of CEA's Custom Programs offering.Teaching Faculty
CEA faculty are an essential part of what makes our students successful and their experiences on our programs rewarding. Faculty have decades of experience teaching U.S. students and typically are affiliated with local academic institutions. In many cases, they bring a wealth of industry knowledge and professional experience to the classroom. Our FYE faculty are some of our more senior professors, with experience teaching first-year students as well as in-depth knowledge of the host country, region and culture.Academic Support
Part of the criteria for selecting our FYE program locations is that each site is home to a CEA Study Center, which includes a dedicated Academic Director and student support staff. It is through the Study Center that students can receive the most thorough academic support. We have developed a Student Success Model 360 that promotes academic success, cultural engagement and personal well-being. We believe student success abroad is predicated on a student’s academic, emotional, and logistical preparation which enables the student to holistically engage in a culturally relevant and academically challenging program. With the support of staff who facilitate safe and healthy environments, student success is a state of being in which inclusive learning, personal growth and global insight can take place.
Common types of support available to students include:
- Academic Tutoring
- Writing Support
- General Academic Advice
- Academic Accommodations catered to each student’s specific needs
- Holistic approach to preparing students for successful re-entry back to the U.S.
CEA Support Services
Since our founding in 1997, CEA has maintained one simple philosophy: to provide high-quality international academic programs and services. This philosophy is woven into our fabric – it’s who we are and what we do.
Make It Your Own
U.S. institutions can incorporate additional features to brand the FYE Abroad cohort program as its own. We encourage our U.S. partners to consider one or more of these features to enhance student engagement and promote institutional loyalty. We are committed to working with our U.S. partners to ensure each FYE Abroad program supports and aligns with the home institution's culture and goals.
PRE-DEPARTURE ORIENTATION: We encourage U.S. institutions to host an orientation prior to the start of the program either on campus or virtually. This university-sponsored orientation would allow students to meet institutional representatives and fellow FYE program participants while fostering a bond to the student's home campus before they leave the U.S. Consider including a tradition that a first-year student might normally participate in while on-campus such a common summer reading book discussion.
PEER MENTOR: We recommend that each U.S. institution send an older student to participate in CEA’s standard study or intern abroad program who will serve as a mentor to the first-year students. The mentor, an ambassador for the home institution, will serve as a resource and help build a bridge to the home university. Depending on the experience of the mentor, they may even be able to serve as a resident assistant in student housing. We are open to considering a joint scholarship for the mentors to encourage competitive applications.
COLLEGE NIGHTS: As an extension of CEA's College Readiness Seminar, we welcome U.S. institutions to participate in a series of "College Night" live video sessions. These sessions will introduce FYE Abroad students to important resources on the home campus (such as Academic Advising, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and Student Activities). The live video would be hosted by the university, but CEA will set up a virtual classroom in-country and will encourage students to attend. These College Nights will be scheduled in the latter half of the program as we work collaboratively with the U.S. institution to prepare students to return to their home campus.
SITE VISITS FROM STAFF & FACULTY: Whether for program orientation or during the semester, we encourage you to send a campus representative to visit the students, check out the program, and bring a little bit of “home” to continue fostering the students’ connection to their home campus.
TRANSITION TO CAMPUS: We know the transformational experience studying abroad can have on a student. To facilitate a smooth transition back to campus, we encourage U.S. institutions to organize events that intentionally connect students to their home community and campus culture. Possible activities could include an FYE Alumni Mixer, a local scavenger hunt activity, or a meet and greet with faculty and staff. Integration back to campus begins long before students physically return to campus and CEA is committed to alignment with various home school expectations such as academic advising and course registration.
BUDDY PROGRAM: We recommend that U.S. institutions assign each FYE participant a buddy who is studying/living back on the home campus and can serve as a resource as the FYE students transition back to college life.