International Field Study Experience (IFSE)

italy scene

IFSE is an international, experiential learning program in which students have the unique opportunity to serve as international consultants for global organizations on a current challenge they are facing.    


Throughout the program, students will work collaboratively in small, interdisciplinary teams and develop intercultural competencies necessary to succeed in the global workplace. IFSE Summer 2017 will meet for a total of seven weeks online and one week (in August) on location in Italy. Students and faculty will be accommodated in an historic villa in the Tuscan countryside, which will serve as a base for class discussions, collaborative work, and daily site visits. 

All Graduate CPS programs are invited to participate.


  • Consult for real companies
  • Experience diverse organizational and national cultures
  • Engage with Industry leaders
  • Experience deep cultural immersion
  • Hone research skills in a professional setting
  • Practice intercultural, interdisciplinary, and virtual teamwork
  • Explore the global problem of sustainability from an interdisciplinary perspective

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Course Details


Class Deliverables

Students have the unique opportunity to serve as international consultants for global organizations on a global problem. Students will work collaboratively in small, interdisciplinary teams and develop intercultural competencies necessary to succeed in the global workplace. Please refer to the class syllabus for all course requirements.

What do I need to prepare for the course?

There will be pre‐departure orientation sessions (held on campus and virtually) in May and June for all accepted students.

Are there pre‐requisites?

No. Any student with a GPA above 3.0, who has successfully completed a minimum of 24 q.h. in his or her program of study, is eligible to apply. Please speak with your academic advisor to discuss how to fit this class into your overall academic program. 

Who is the class instructor?

INT 6900, visiting (Tuscany) Italy, will be led by Dr. Marissa Lombardi.

How many quarter hours is INT 6900?

INT6900 is a 4QH course.

Does this course count as a Global Studies Capstone option?

Yes. Students who have fulfilled the general requirements (3.0 minimum GPA and 24 q.h. completed) and have also successfully completed GST 6109, may take INT 6900 as their Capstone.

Does this course satisfy the global requirement in the M.Ed.?

Yes, this course satisfies the global requirement in the M.Ed program. It also qualifies as an elective course in several other programs, including M.S. in Leadership, Sports Leadership, Organizational Communication, MAT, M.S. in Project Management, and M.S. in Human Services. Students are required to complete the Course Substitution Form and receive approval from their respective programs. Global Studies students can use INT 6900 to fulfill their Capstone requirement.

If I am not in the GST or M.Ed. program, would I be able to take this course?

Yes, however, please speak with your academic advisor to discuss how to fit this class into your overall academic program.

What will the week in Italy be like?

The week in‐country will include various site visits to Italian organizations and with local experts and small group meetings with the Northeastern faculty classmates. Faculty will be accessible to students throughout the week.

Will this course be offered again?

Yes. This is the fifth year of on‐location international classes. CPS is committed to providing short‐term international opportunities for students.



Important Dates for IFSE Summer 2017 - Italy

  • April 7, 2017 - application deadline 
  • April 7, 2017 - complete admissions interview
  • April 10, 2017 - $2,000 non-refundable deposit due


In addition to tuition charges (please note that this program falls in the 2017-2018 academic year and tuition rates for it will likely be determined in the coming months), students are charged a program fee of $2,995. The cost covers seven nights of accommodations in a double room in a historic villa, pre‐departure orientation session, site visits to Italian organizations, all ground transportation, breakfast and dinner, and medical and evacuation insurance is included. Students will be responsible for all other meals and any additional travel. For liability purposes, students may not arrange their own housing or opt out of the travel insurance.

How to Apply

1. Attend information session (in person or online) or review recording of session.

 A recording of the webinar session is available, view the Blackboard Collaborate recording

2. Discuss INT 6900 with your academic advisor to determine how it fits into your academic program.

If necessary, submit course substitution request to your academic advisor.

3. Submit application to by February 10, 2017.

Please complete the application form and submit with a copy of the photo page of your passport, by sending it to, with the subject line “IFSE 2017 Application – Florence.” 

Applications will be accepted until February 10, 2017, and students must complete their entrance interviews by March 3rd. Applications are reviewed and accepted on a first-come, first-served basis; space on the trip may be limited. Once accepted to the program, students will be registered for the class INT 6900, International Field Study Experience. 

4. Schedule and complete admissions interview with Dr. Marissa Lombardi by March 3, 2017.

Dr. Lombardi will reach out after receiving your application.

5. If accepted, to hold place in class, submit a $2,000 non‐refundable deposit by March 10, 2017.

The deposit will be applied toward the full fee. If the trip does not run due to low enrollment, all student deposits will be refunded.


Common Questions

Does this qualify for academic year 2017‐18 financial aid?

Yes. Please contact the Student Financial Services office for specific information.

If I am on financial aid, do I need to take two courses to qualify?

Yes, you will need to take the required minimum number of credits to qualify for aid. We will work with your faculty to make adjustments so that you can maximize your study and research time in Florence.

How do I secure my spot in this course?

To secure your spot, you need to make a non‐refundable deposit of $2,000 by March 10, 2017. The deposit will be applied toward the full fee.

Are a minimum number of students required for the class to run?

Yes. The minimum number of students is 14. If the trip does not run due to low enrollment, all student deposits will be refunded.

Is there a cap on how many students can attend from any one program?

One of the objectives of this course and opportunity is to increase understanding of the ramifications of globalization and to also offer a highly interdisciplinary experience. There is, however, a cap of 18 students for the class.

Travel & Logistics

When does the course start and end?

IFSE Summer 2017 is an eight‐week summer course, beginning July 10, 2017 and ending September 2, 2017. In addition to the on-location segment, participation for the other weeks will be online through Blackboard. There will be two groups participating in IFSE summer 2017; the first group will be on-site from July 22 - July 29, and the second group will be on-site from July 30 - August 6.

Will Northeastern arrange my visa?

No. Students are responsible for obtaining their own tourist visas for travel. All U.S. students must have a passport valid at least six months after the end of travel.

I am an international student, how will my visa work?

IFSE Summer 2017 is a summer‐term, online class. You are not required to enter the U.S. at any point for this class. This class will not qualify you by itself for a student visa. If you are a current international student on a student visa and plan to stay in the U.S. this summer, please contact the Office of Global Services to determine your ability to travel for this class.

How do we get there?

Students are responsible for arranging their own travel to/from Florence.

Do you know what the airfare might cost?

This is entirely dependent on your location of departure and specific dates of travel. For sample fares, please visit or any other travel website.

When should we plan on arriving? On leaving?

Students should plan on arriving at the meeting point in Florence on Sunday, July 22nd, if they're part of the first group, or July 29th, if they're part of the second group. Accepted students will be notified of the meeting location during the pre-departure orientation session. Students are required to stay through the entirety of the on‐site program. Housing is provided through the last day of the on-site portion of the program (July 29th for the first group, and August 6th for the second group); this excludes the nights of the 29th and 6th. Transportation to and from the meeting point and villa will be provided and students are responsible for being present at the meeting location at the designated time. If a student's travel schedule does not align with the meeting time, the student is responsible for her/his transfer to and/or from the villa/meeting point.

Can we arrive early or stay longer after the program is finished?

Housing is provided from July 22 - July 29 for the first group, and July 30 ‐ August 6 for the second group. However, if you wish to stay longer, we will help connect you with people on location who can guide you to suitable accommodations.

What are the accommodations like?

Students and faculty will be accommodated in a historic villa in Tuscany.

What about transportation on location?

We will provide all on‐ground transportation.

Are any meals included?

Students will be provided with breakfast and dinner each day.

Can I bring a friend, partner, family?

Our liability insurance does not allow for any persons on this trip who are not registered for the class. Accommodation is included in the program fee and is students only.

Pool view from the villa

Villa pool


Testimonial from student who was part of IFSE 2016





Testimonial from student who was part of IFSE 2016




Testimonials from students who were part of IFSE 2015

Maria Alcaraz



Jonathan Hoogendorn



Arlie Reeves


Marissa Lombardi, Ed.D - Profile

Dr. Marissa LombardiDr. Marissa Lombardi oversees and teaches the International Field Study Experience (IFSE), and is also an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Master of Science in Global Studies and International Affairs program where she leads the International Student Mobility concentration and certificate.  

Previously, Dr. Lombardi lived and worked for nearly eight years in Italy, where she served as dean of students at Lorenzo de’ Medici Italian International Institute in Italy, and was part of a senior leadership team responsible for the oversight of campuses in Florence, Rome, and Tuscania. Dr. Lombardi also has worked extensively as a cross-cultural consultant in Rome, Italy, and in the U.S., and incorporates her deep intercultural experience and knowledge of Italian culture into all aspects of the International Field Study Experience.