At ICEE, we focus on real achievement. The adventures experienced by every ICEE student who participates in our programs are under the supervision of both an ICEE Academic Director and our local partners, all of whom are accredited through internationally recognized certification agencies. For example, our study tours which include scuba diving are accredited by PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors).
One question we frequently receive from students is whether they can receive college credit for participating in our programs. The answer, however, is not all that simple.
For all of our programs, students can earn college credit for their participation but we normally recommend that they attend the trips without earning credit. When we first started ICEE, all students earned 3 credits for going on the study tour and completing a major paper. But what we noticed over time was that many students weren't bothering to take the time to transfer the credits back to their home schools - even though such transfers would have been a simple procedure. As purchasing the credits added at least 35% to the price students paid for their international experience and they didn't seem to want the credits anyway, we decided to eliminate the credits and add additional experiences. This also allowed us to maintain the prices of our study tours as tuition prices continue to climb.
But, for students who still want to earn academic credit, we encourage them to do one of the following:
- For those colleges and universities that have approved us for their "international experience," we encourage students enrolled at these institutions to take advantage of the opportunity to earn college credit and work on courses related to their ICEE experience within their respective majors in order to earn 3 credits.
- For colleges and universities with whom we do not have any relationship, we encourage students to arrange an "independent study" with a professor at their home college or university. That way, the cost of the course can possibly be included in their fall or spring course load and not cost any additional money. This also allows them to potentially get credits for a course in their major.
- As a last alternative, students can enroll in an “Independent Study” with the Academic Director of their program at the Academic Director’s home school. Unfortunately, this option requires students to pay additional tuition in order to enroll in a different university for the 3-credit course.
Regardless of the option selected by a student, ICEE works with students to ensure that they are able to obtain everything they need (i.e., research materials, data, etc.) during the study tour to complete any of the aforementioned options successfully.
But, in general, ICEE students really don’t want the college credits...
Our recommendation, based upon the recommendations of tenured faculty members at a variety of institutions, is that students should go on the ICEE study tour and concentrate on maximizing their experiential learning opportunities. Students can then take a 3 credit course that interests them at their home school instead of simply getting credits for the study tour. In this way, when students interview for jobs, they can show potential employers that they not only have an international experience but they can also talk about the extra course they've taken at their home school. In addition, our Academic Directors write letters of recommendation for students who go on ICEE study tours all the time and are able to emphasize the qualities of "the person" to potential employers (after all, they know students extremely well as they spend as much time with the student in 21 days as they would if they were in two 3 credit classes). Potential employers interview a lot of people who have taken the same college courses -- what they are really interested in is the person…and that is the information that ICEE is able to supply…
An added benefit to students conveyed by our short-term programs is that they allow for student exploration and learning without "losing" an academic semester.