ISA (International Studies Abroad)

www.studiesabroad.com
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ISA (International Studies Abroad) Reviews

Updated June 10, 2015
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ISA (International Studies Abroad) CEO Rafael Hoyle Ph.D.
Rafael Hoyle Ph.D.
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39 Employee Reviews

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  1. Global Ambassador

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Morristown, NJ
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Morristown, NJ

    I worked at ISA (International Studies Abroad) (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Very helpful and responded to my questions in a timely manner
    Always did monthly check-ins on our progress

    Cons

    None that I can think of


  2. Great!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Intern
    Former Employee - Intern

    I worked at ISA (International Studies Abroad)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    This company is amazing to intern for! Everyone is so friendly and they are very understanding of my need to build my skill set as an intern and the fact that I still have classes to deal with! Would definitely recommend this place to students looking for an internship.

    Cons

    Not much I can say for the cons as I only have a limited view of this business.


  3. Helpful (7)

    Challenging, fast-paced and fun work environment for those who give it a fair shot.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Director of Alumni Relations in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Director of Alumni Relations in Austin, TX

    I worked at ISA (International Studies Abroad) full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I was employed at ISA for 4 years, and recently transitioned into a completely new field. ISA was and will always feel like a family to me. Throughout the years, I grew tremendously - both personally and professionally. I initially began as a Student Services Representative, then transitioned into the Alumni Relations Coordinator role, then ended my tenure at ISA as the Director of Alumni Relations.

    Here's the thing - if you are willing to do more than just what is expected of you, it won't go unnoticed. No company is perfect, but I sincerely believe that the mid-level and executive team has implemented really positive changes to not only increase morale, but also place a tremendous amount of trust in their employees. If you want to be the status quo and do the bare minimum, chances are, you won't be that successful at ISA. There were countless times when my direct supervisor (who also happened to be the CEO), allowed me to initiate and execute major projects. It can be a sink-or-swim work environment, but if you're looking to work somewhere where you can make a significant and long-lasting impact on the company, ISA is the place for you (as long as the work ethic is there).

    To speak candidly about the pros:
    Compensation: It's international education. Emphasis on education. Don't expect a $60,000 salary, right out of college, with little to no experience - that's unrealistic. However, I lived comfortably starting out with a fair salary in the field. As the years progressed and with every mid and end-of-year review, I was compensated pretty generously based on the work that I had put in.

    Benefits: Over the duration of the 4 years I was there, vacation time was significantly increased, tuition reimbursement was implemented, flex days and telecommuting became an option to allow some of the more senior employees to take advantage of, international site visits were granted more regularly to allow staff members who have a true need to go visit our offices abroad, and we have a social committee who plans monthly activities to keep things fun and light for our colleagues (i.e. Thanksgiving potluck, ISA-sponsored happy hours, food trucks to come to our office, ISA-sponsored intramural leagues, World Cup watch parties with our trusty margarita machine, etc). There's also an awesome 401k match program, as well as a decent Humana medical plan.

    Colleagues: Anyone at ISA (past or present employees) will tell you that the best thing about working there is the people. We're all like-minded individuals who have an affinity for traveling and exploring new cultures. Because of this, you will work with some of the most hilarious, hard-working, interested and genuinely awe-inspiring people. Without a doubt, I have made some of my very best friends there.

    One last thing that I want to touch on is the merger with GlobaLinks and the impact that it had on ISA. Again, ISA is not perfect by any means, and I acknowledge that. However, I think there's some disparity between what former employers of GLA have posted on Glassdoor, with what really happens at ISA. There were a couple of scathing reviews from those who transitioned over, were employed for only a few months under the GLA/ISA umbrella, then made a very hasty and misinformed judgement on ISA upon their resignations. In any corporate acquisition or merger, there are going to be major changes. You either go with the flow and try and find solutions on how to make the cross-over as smooth as possible, or you decide that it may not be the best fit for you, which is also fine. To say that ISA is a place where management doesn't trust you or is micro-managing you is simply not true. As I mentioned before, the CEO was my direct supervisor. From first-hand experience, this is not the case; in fact, I was able to work quite autonomously with his encouragement.

    After 4 years (which included work travel to 14 states, 32 cities, 48 universities, and 2 international site visits), I can confidently say that my formative time at ISA has equipped me with all the necessary tools to help me succeed in any venture I decide to take on in the future.

    Cons

    There are a lottttt of very strong (not necessarily in a bad way) personalities in the office. It's sometimes hard to navigate certain subjects with various colleagues because nothing is really taboo to talk about, but you also don't want to jump in like you already know everything if you're relatively new. If you're not used to bold and very blunt people, you may struggle with knowing how to communicate certain things to management.

    ISA is also deceptively casual, so for newer employees especially, it may be hard for them to distinguish when it's okay to joke around with upper level management, and when to keep it more buttoned up.

    These obviously aren't earth-shattering cons, but I think it's important to note the dynamics in relationships at ISA due to the nature of the city of Austin, as well as the familial work environment at ISA.

    Advice to Management

    As the company continues to grow and flourish, make sure that you are checking in with your employees semi-regularly (maybe once per month) to make sure that they don't feel overwhelmed or bogged down by additional responsibilities. Something else that I was always adamant about was transparency. If someone is transitioning within the company, or someone has resigned, continue informing your team.

    Overall, there have been some really positive changes that have been implemented over the years, so keep it up!


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  5. Program Manager

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Manager
    Current Employee - Program Manager

    I have been working at ISA (International Studies Abroad) full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    It is fun to work around so many great and globally minded colleagues who are passionate about studying abroad and helping students.

    Cons

    I found upper management to be very disorganized and communicated very poorly. Nearly every decision must go through the highest level of management and micro-management is common place. Staying late and long hours are expected and usually do not match compensation. High volume of staff turn-over makes for a stressful work environment.

    Advice to Management

    Make employee retention a higher priority.

    ISA (International Studies Abroad) Response

    Apr 21, 2015Human Resources Coordinator

    We're sorry to hear about your concerns regarding upper management. It looks like you are a current employee. I would like to encourage you to take these concerns to your supervisor or to any member ... More


  6. Helpful (1)

    Exciting, forward thinking group of professionals

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX

    I have been working at ISA (International Studies Abroad)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I have been with ISA for the past 4 years. The company has grown immensely in that time, our offerings have expanded consequently and we are doing what we can to responsibly push the field forward.

    - The opportunity to work with a big group of professionals in different aspects of study abroad
    - An 'open-door' policy. You can walk into anyone's office and talk with them.
    - Welcoming, friendly & motivated people

    The best thing about ISA is the group of people you have the opportunity to work with. We are constantly getting new, awesome talent walking in our door with great stories, ambitious goals, and fresh motivation. I don't think this atmosphere can be beat for a young professional entering the field of International Education.

    Cons

    Newer employees often cover later shifts and work a bit later in the day than veteran employees. We still need to get another bike rack outside!


  7. Helpful (3)

    A fast-paced work environment for people that work hard and like the field of International Education

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX

    I have been working at ISA (International Studies Abroad)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I have been at ISA for over 5 years now and have seen this place grow and change for the better. It's hard to come on Glassdoor and read negative experiences from people that have been here for a year, or didn't like the new management under the merger with Globalinks, because I don't feel that's their assessment is indicative of where I work. I think ISA is actually very fair and willing to make changes to better their employees to those that are motivated and not afraid of responsibility. Just last year, I was able to telecommute and have flex-time, I got extra vacation days, and they now reimburse you for classes you want to take.
    ISA values hard work, and gives opportunities to young professionals like myself to learn about the field that I want to be a part of. My co-workers are incredibly talented and diverse, and many of us are friends in and out of the office. There is a strong sense of team by department here, and as we work to incorporate Globalinks programs into ISA, the vibe in this office and in Denver is definitely changing for the better.

    Cons

    The field of International Education is, by definition a transient field. People that want to travel think this is the right field for them because they think they are going to travel the world for weeks at a time. That's not the reality of a position here. Much of the travel, if any is domestic and after you earn your stripes, you will have the chance to go abroad. That usually takes over a year, but is well worth the wait. Pay is low to start in Austin, but many people that are successful here see a salary increase every year. After the 3rd year mark, I was really happy with my salary and we have Humana (health, vision, dental which i've never had a problem with).

    Advice to Management

    -Focus interviews to weed out potential people that would not be a good fit for the organizational culture.
    -Keep providing opportunities for mid-level people like me to add responsibilities that are of interest to us, to keep us engaged in our work.


  8. Helpful (7)

    Such a waste

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Manager
    Former Employee - Program Manager

    I worked at ISA (International Studies Abroad)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Opportunity to work with colleagues who are passionate about travel
    Opportunity to work with incredible people

    Cons

    Where do I begin? As a former GlobaLinks employee, the so-called "merger" with ISA was a completely wasted opportunity on the part of ISA management. GlobaLinks had incredibly talented and dedicated staff who could have been an incredible resource to new management. However, as a result of how ISA treats their employees, nearly all former GlobaLinks employees have left the organization. What a waste.

     All decisions at ISA are made by a small group of people(the executive committee) that feels a bit like an "old boys club." Decision making by this group is often rash and reactionary and communication to other staff is, at best, incredible muddled. There is very little strategic thinking at higher levels of management and nepotism runs deep. As such, key "leaders" are given roles for which they are entirely unprepared and ill-suited. The organization also lacks an organization chart, coherent reporting structures, and realistic job descriptions. Most disturbingly, is the incredible level of micro-managing done by CEO Gustavo Artaza, who runs the organization much as a dictator would run his kingdom.

    Advice to Management

    Before working for ISA due to the "merger" with GlobaLinks, I had a high respect for ISA, its employees, and its programs. Though I can say that there are still many wonderful people working at ISA, my respect for this organization has completely disappeared. In fact, knowing what I now know, I would not trust my child to study abroad on an ISA program.

    ISA (International Studies Abroad) Response

    Jan 15, 2015Human Resources Coordinator

    We are sorry that you had a negative experience during your time with ISA. While we believe that ISA is a great place to work, with an open atmosphere and many opportunities available to young ... More


  9. Helpful (1)

    Global Ambassador

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Global Ambassador in La Jolla, CA
    Former Employee - Global Ambassador in La Jolla, CA

    I worked at ISA (International Studies Abroad) part-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Nice staff, People are very willing to help you.
    Great perks after working for 10 hours.
    Easy way to make some money.

    Cons

    First 10 hours are not paid
    Can be time consuming

    Advice to Management

    Best to have more than one global ambassador on each campus so they can work as a team


  10. Helpful (9)

    Not worth it...

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Denver, CO
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Denver, CO

    I worked at ISA (International Studies Abroad) full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    You can meet some great people while working there. There are people that are passionate for the field and enjoy advising students.

    Cons

    You do not get paid enough for the amount of stress that you have to go through. Upper management cannot make a decision and the stress falls on the entry and mid level employees. Letting the upper management and the CEO always make the decisions, leads to chaos in the office and no one ever knowing what is going on. The changing of deadlines and locations at the last minute is appalling. As a former GlobaLinks employee, witnessing the merger and the actions taken over the last few months were unprofessional and insulting. Taking programs with good numbers and literally watching them crash and burn due to the lack of leadership is also appalling.

    The vacation and sick time is minimal and the traveling for work is not a perk. They make it as difficult as possible to make arrangements for yourself.

    Advice to Management

    When half of your company quits without another job lined up, maybe you should snap out of your delusional mindset and face why they are actually leaving.

    ISA (International Studies Abroad) Response

    Nov 6, 2014Director of Human Resources

    Thank you for your feedback. We would like to clarify that prior to the merger, the staff turnover rate for GlobaLinks was higher than it has been since the merger, which we hope will put some of ... More


  11. Helpful (5)

    It Depends Who You Ask

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - University Relations Representative in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - University Relations Representative in Austin, TX

    I worked at ISA (International Studies Abroad) full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Your coworkers at ISA are what makes working at ISA enjoyable. Most are passionate about what they do and really want to help make the world better by helping students study overseas. There are opportunities for lateral movement and very few opportunities to rise above middle-management. Dependent on position, there are opportunities to travel and relocate. If you're fresh out of school with no experience, I would say take a job here, otherwise unless they are going to pay you what you're worth, don't bother.

    Cons

    The below average pay, lack of consistency in management (one person says this and another will say that), micromanagement/over involvement. Growing too fast and wanting to stay a "mom and pop shop." The money hungry attitudes of the higher ups.

    Advice to Management

    It's a shame when nearly all of your employees roll their eyes, say things tongue in cheek regarding certain aspects of the way you're doing business. I would say the number one thing that needs to happen would be giving a damn about the people that are making you money; it's certainly not reciprocated for the amount of time and effort they put into their jobs.

    ISA (International Studies Abroad) Response

    Oct 24, 2014Director of Human Resources

    We agree that the ISA offices are brimming with passionate, dynamic individuals who are dedicated to providing an exceptional study abroad experience for our students. We appreciate the hard work ... More



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