There are four basic types of programs on this list, with varying degrees of academic offerings, cultural integration, language options, support services, and structure.
- Integrated: Classes are held at a host university with locals, mostly in the local language (though occasionally with English-taught classes in non-English settings.) E.g.: the University of Edinburgh, University of Cape Town, Middlebury in Chile, Bowdoin Sciences-Po Lyon Exchange.
- Island: Classes taught by American and/or local faculty to study abroad participants in the program facilities. Depending on the program, the language of instruction may be:
- entirely in English with local language classes offered (e.g. the Swedish program, Budapest Semester in Mathematics),
- a mixture of English and the local language depending on your interests/skill level (e.g. CIEE Ferrara, IES Vienna),
- entirely in the local language (e.g. Middlebury in Amman, CET in China).
- Hybrid: Students take classes taught both by the program and a local university, sometimes in English and sometimes in the local language. E.g. Advanced Studies in England, Frontiers Abroad, Hamilton in Paris, IFSA Argentina, IES Madrid.
- Field-based: Classes taught to program participants in various locations “in the field” relating to the academic topics, and often featuring a culminating independent study. Mostly focused on the natural and social sciences, program size tends to be small and English-taught (though not always) and can involve regional or international travel relating to the core theme. E.g. SIT, SFS, OTS, SEA Semester, Ecoquest.