Home Customized Faculty-Led AIFS London Consortium: A Collaborative Approach

AIFS London Consortium: A Collaborative Approach

by AIFS Abroad Customized Faculty-Led
Big Ben in London with Underground Sign for Public Transportation

The AIFS London Consortium has close to 40 years of collaborative study abroad in London. Founded in 1982 by several US institutions, original members the University of Wyoming and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee remain active participants. Past members have included Mount St Mary’s University, Maryland, University of Nevada, Western Illinois University and Metropolitan State University of Denver. The London Consortium has a 12 week-long semester in London each Spring (end of January to mid-April). Membership is flexible as some schools participate on a biannual basis.

AIFS partners with numerous consortia of U.S. institutions on semester and short-term programming. While there are different models, generally, several schools each send one faculty and a student cohort, as one collaborative group. Each faculty teaches one or several courses. Students can take the courses from any professor he or she wishes. The program shares facilities & student services, housing, academic field trips and cultural activities.

Consortia Programming:

  • Broadens the options available to students at your institution – by discipline, destination, program length.
  • Offers a Sustainable, dependable model -coordinators can confidently advertise on a rolling basis when they have a lower minimum number to achieve.
  • Enables faculty to count on filling their program, and slot a semester abroad into their teaching schedule.
  • Makes study abroad more affordable. Healthy-sized collaborating groups result in lower student program fee for all.
  • Generates a high level of faculty interest and engagement on campus in international education initiatives.
  • Gives each member institution the autonomy to set its own policies regarding credit awards, tuition, fees and financial aid.
  • Allows for shared learning with students from other institutions.

Benefits of Consortium CFL Study Abroad programs for Students and Faculty

  • Students can often choose courses which would not usually be available at their home institution.
  • Courses are pre-approved and students remain enrolled at their home institution, removing the need for credit transfer upon their return to campus.
  • Students can enjoy a balance of both US and UK taught classes while abroad.
  • A longer summer or semester program opens up internship and volunteering opportunities.
  • Each institution allows faculty to participate with compensation according to their policies and with student fees covering travel costs and providing housing stipend.
  • Faculty have the opportunity to develop their courses, and teach new courses in another location. They can take advantage of the multitude of fieldtrip possibilities which London offers.
  • US faculty teach courses in a wide variety of disciplines – courses have included London in Film, Air Quality Management, Stage Design, Sports Psychology, Jane Austen’s England, Travel Narratives, Parapsychology…


On academics, AIFS facilitates the collaboration between member institutions.


  • Collaborate on curriculum to ensure a broad range of courses for students to select from, sharing proposed syllabi in advance of announcing the program (to avoid any redundancy of courses).
  • Appropriately designate each course with discipline and number for their home campus system (and typically consider this course as their own or as ‘exchange’ credit).
  • Conduct site visits to London to review program periodically.
  • Enlist AIFS to to provide a mandatory British Life and Culture course for all students. An interdisciplinary course, the British Life and Culture course helps to contextualize the students’ experience of London. It includes weekly lectures and related field trips to sites around the city.  
  • Task AIFS with provision of additional local courses as needed. These are selected after the US faculty/courses are chosen in order to offer as wide a curriculum as possible. The most popular courses in recent years have been those designed to utilize London as an academic resource, such as Art History, British Fantasy Fiction, International Relations, British Drama, World Politics.
Students discuss first impressions of British Culture during their first week in London

Program Features- Housing, Travel, Cultural Activities, Faculty benefits

AIFS has its own newly refurbished study center centrally located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Classrooms, Student Services, an IT lab and faculty office space are all housed in the center.

  • Students can choose to live in a homestay with a British family (with breakfast provided daily and access to the kitchen for the preparation of other meals and to the laundry facilities) or in shared self-catered apartments.
  • A London transportation pass for unlimited use within the central zones.
  • Students can opt to purchase heavily discounted tickets for a variety of cultural events designed to enrich their London experience – such as theatre tickets, daytrips, sporting events.
  • Optional weekend trips to locations such as Scotland or mainland Europe.
  • Comprehensive student health insurance and emergency service
  • AIFS staff provide pastoral support and a 24/7 emergency contact service.
Discovering the highlands on an AIFS-organised Haggis tour

AIFS can replicate the London Consortium model in other locations, such as Rome and Florence, Salzburg or Barcelona.

On a Customized, Faculty-Led Program, a faculty member accompanies a group of students from his or her campus to teach a course abroad for a short term (summer, winter, spring break) or several courses for a semester-long program. AIFS supports U.S. faculty with customized programs to teach their students abroad; in fact, we were among the first to offer this type of experiential programming, starting in the 1960‘s.  We currently arrange such study abroad programs for approximately 100 U.S. colleges and universities. 

Want to know more?

For more information about Consortium programs or Customized, Faculty-Led programs in general, please contact a member of our University Relations team.

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