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FYE Abroad
(First-Year Experience Abroad)

About FYE Abroad

FYE Abroad is a valuable high impact practice that sets U.S. institutions apart and supports student development and academic success. By partnering with CEA, you’ll have access to our cohort model in which institutions share resources with other first-year programs. Whether it’s for the fall or spring semester, we are here to help you make your institution stand apart. Learn more about how CEA can support FYE Abroad initiatives on your campus.



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.

University Benefits
Academic Options

Academic Options

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

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

Enrollment Management

Enrollment Management

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

Student Benefits
Access to Study Abroad

Access to Study Abroad

Avoid obstacles accessing upper level courses abroad by focusing on general education requirements

Transformative Learning

Transformative Learning

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

Résumé Builder

Résumé Builder

Develop leadership and intercultural competence skills to enhance one’s résumé

Personal Development

Personal Development

Explore the sense of self while developing an awareness of the relationship between culture and identity

Partner With CEA

Partner With CEA

Allow us to serve as an extension of your campus. By partnering with CEA Study Abroad, you can tap into the program structure and student support services necessary for students to succeed. We understand how important it is to have a knowledgeable partner in developing and delivering intentional first-year experiences, particularly in an international context.

The mission of CEA is to create and facilitate opportunities for academic achievement, global competence and personal growth through quality international education.


We understand there are multiple stakeholders involved in the development of first-year experiences. CEA has experience working across various university units including Study Abroad, Admissions, Enrollment Management, First-Year Program Offices, and Academic Departments. We've facilitated collaboration across these units to build programming that aligns with the mission and values of the home university, and to co-develop seamless processes for students and families.

Specialized Support

Traditional first-year students require specialized support as they transition from high school to college. We understand the unique needs of this student population, and have staff in the home office and in each location dedicated to helping them thrive and flourish. Our team develops programming and provides support services related to mental health, study habits, living independently, connecting students with the local community, and much more.

Experienced Partner

Working with an experienced partner to develop your first-year program will set your students up for success while abroad. CEA has effectively supported first-year student cohorts in Paris and Florence. And most recently, CEA worked with Colorado School of Mines to develop a signature program for first-year engineering students in the French Riviera.

Cohort Model

Your institution can take advantage of CEA's cohort model which allows U.S. institutions to share courses, co-curricular activities, and resources while building a program rooted in your own missions, values, and identity. Each institution is able to build in features that make it uniquely their own while sharing program costs.

School of Record Partnership

Our School of Record relationship with the University of New Haven (UNH) sets CEA apart from others in the field. UNH offers robust first-year programs on its home campus and has many years of experience running its FYE Abroad program in Italy. We benefit from expert guidance, shared resources, and training related to first-year programming.

Go-Again Scholarships

Students have access to a Go-Again scholarship from CEA. Studies have shown that students who study abroad early in their college career are more likely to go abroad again. We are committed to making study abroad affordable and accessible for your students.



We have chosen a set of locations we believe are ideal to host first-year experience programs, based on a variety of factors:

Ease of Navigation

Size of city and ease of navigation

Community Building

Housing options that lend themselves to community-building

Staff and faculty experience

Staff and faculty experienced in working with first-year students from U.S. institutions

CEA Study Center

Home to a CEA Study Center

Co-curricular activities

Access to co-curricular activities within the host community

CEA's FYE Abroad Destinations Are:

Dublin, Ireland

  • 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

Florence, Italy

  • 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

Prague, Czech Republic

  • City is easy to navigate by foot
  • Situated in the heart of Europe and serves as a wonderful base for day trips out of the city
  • Apartment living gives students exposure to the local community
  • One of the most affordable capital cities in Europe

Seville, Spain

  • 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
College Readiness

We understand the importance of helping first-year students acclimate to college life. As such, CEA offers a College Readiness seminar at each of our FYE locations to help students make the transition to college.

This 1-credit course focuses on helping students develop effective strategies for academic success and personal growth. The course highlights topics such as learning/study strategies, time management, wellness, managing stress/anxiety, career planning, and navigating college resources, and it 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'

CEA Support Services

Student housing is carefully selected for all CEA students and special attention is given to the needs of first-year students. FYE Abroad cohort students will have access to homestays, residence halls, and/or apartments depending on their location. All housing options are located in safe neighborhoods and are vetted by qualified housing staff.

We put extra care into setting students up for success from the very beginning - we recognize that most first-year students have never lived on their own. To facilitate this, we deliver an extensive orientation covering basic topics such as cleaning and reporting maintenance issues, as well as a hands-on session demonstrating how to properly use all of the amenities in their housing. In addition, we facilitate housing "check-ins" throughout the semester to ensure students are settling in well.

We recognize that each U.S. institution will have a housing preference and we commit to reasonable accommodation of such requests. We are open to discussing additional levels of guidance and mentorship for students such as a RA in an apartment building.

Regardless of the housing option, we are prepared to assist first-year students more broadly as many of these students have not lived away from home. We are committed to supporting students in their transition to college life through programming on topics such as personal safety, roommate conflict, housing maintenance, etc. Our staff is sympathetic, knowledgeable in student development, and ready to help students with any housing transition issues that may arise.
We acknowledge that positive engagement with students early on in their college career leads to academic success. A large part of the student experience will be the time spent outside of the classroom in the FYE program activities, all of which will contribute to their personal and academic growth. Community Building, Health & Wellness, Personal Growth & Development, Life Skills, and Cultural Exploration are the five pillars that form the foundation of the FYE Abroad Program. Each program activity is tied to one or more pillar, and sample activities may include the following:

  • Welcome Week – Modeled off of higher education best practices, the FYE Abroad program incorporates a full Welcome Week of activities. The goals of Welcome Week are to positively start each student’s transition to college, help build community, introduce students to the local culture, and set them up for an engaging, successful, and safe semester.
  • Career Development Workshops – Through a series of workshops, students will begin to explore their interests and career goals. This includes creating an action plan to fully utilize their time abroad and be able to articulate it when they return. These workshops will be facilitated by CEA's NACE-Certified career coaches who will also be available as a resource to students throughout the semester.
  • Social & Cultural Activities – To support the holistic student experience and foster community engagement, a number of social and cultural activities are offered throughout the program. These activities provide opportunities for community building and introduce students to the local culture. Activities vary by location, and are facilitated by CEA staff and local experts.
First-year students studying with CEA will find a myriad of resources available to them. We have staff dedicated to advising these students both in the home office as well as in each FYE Abroad location.

FYE staff are responsible to:
  • Organize program activities such as Welcome Week
  • Monitor student academic progress and emotional well-being through regular check-ins with faculty to see how students are doing
  • Facilitate many of the first-year co-curricular activities
  • Meet with students regularly throughout the term

FYE staff are also responsible for ensuring each student understands the resources available to them while abroad. Staff are trained regularly on topics such as student development and diversity and inclusion, as well as addressing the challenges of U.S. college students abroad. Furthermore, FYE staff will liaise with the student’s home institution to ensure there is a consistent connection between our two institutions.

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'

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.

Program Customization

Program Customization

Does your vision for FYE Abroad align with CEA’s ready-made cohort model as outlined above? If not, CEA can also partner with you to create a Custom FYE program. See below for a guide about which option is best for your institution’s needs:

LengthSemester-lengthAs short as 3 weeks, as long as an academic year, and anything in between
TermFall or Spring semesterAny term, including J-Term, summer, Maymester, intersession, quarter, trimester, block or academic year
DatesAlign to CEA’s established start and end datesChoose start and end dates aligned to your institution’s calendar
LocationsDublin, Ireland
Florence, Italy
Prague, Czech Republic
Seville, Spain
Potential to host your FYE program in any of CEA’s international destinations
CourseworkTake advantage of CEA’s established FYE course list, developed to fulfill first-year and general education requirementsCustomize your course list, drawing from syllabi taught on your home campus, tapping into our international partner institutions, and/or collaborating with CEA to develop new courses
Faculty-LedCEA leads and teaches all courses onsiteOpt to send faculty to teach one or more courses onsite
ClassmatesEngage your students with other first-year students in classes and activitiesOpt to run courses and/or activities exclusively for your students
ActivitiesTake advantage of CEA’s established co-curricular activities developed for first-year students, as well as shared cultural events and excursionsOpt to partner with CEA to design co-curricular activities, cultural events, and excursions especially for your students

Click here to learn more about FYE options available as part of CEA's Custom Programs offerings.

Custom ProgramRequest to learn more about FYE Abroad programs