IGE has its roots in a university operated study abroad program in Vienna, Austria in the Fall of 2001. Originally there were thirteen students who wanted to spend a semester abroad on a different kind of program; a program that was small, immersive, and collegial – with lots of travel. From those original thirteen our alumni now number into the hundreds, all of whom will tell you – “don’t just study abroad, study abroad with IGE.” Our students were never looking for just another study abroad experience – they wanted something better. At IGE we strive to preserve that “something better” in everything we do and aim to facilitate the best study abroad experience a student can have. Because IGE runs small programs we are approachable and open. We encourage students to communicate their needs to us so that we can help them have the term of their lives! While other programs might enroll two hundred students or even five hundred students, IGE runs programs that are capped at twenty – insuring that students have access to faculty and opportunities that are simply unknown in the world of study abroad today. All that to say, after ten years of running programs in Vienna, Austria and San Jose, Costa Rica, we still know the names of every single student who has ever studied with IGE. If you do one of our programs you won’t just be studying abroad, you will be joining a group of students that we like to think of as friends for life.
Kevin Archer discovered his passion for international studies while on a study abroad program in Cairo, Egypt during his senior year of college. Since that initial study abroad experience he has traveled the world as a graduate student, a professor, an administrator, and now as the Founder and President IGE. Kevin is a firm believer in experiential travel and learning and beginning in 1999 he dedicated himself to developing some of the best study abroad programs in the world. Initially he did this as the Director of International Studies at Point Loma Nazarene University and since 2005 he has done this through IGE. Kevin has literally been “around the world” with students. He loves to travel but rarely does so without undergraduates in tow. Since 1999 he has traveled with students to Japan, China, Thailand, U.A.E, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bosnia – Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, the United Kingdom and Turkey.
From 1999 to 2005 he served as Asst. Professor and Director of International Studies at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. In 2005 he founded IGE and accepted a teaching position at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. He holds a Ph.D. in International Economics and Politics and teaches International Relations and International Political Economy.
When Kevin isn’t orienting students in Vienna or lecturing at the University of Denver, he enjoys spending time with his family and has been known to schedule the occasional fly fishing trip.
Eric Liljenstolpe’s experience in Costa Rica began in 1992 when he came as a university undergrad on an international studies program. His experience as an undergraduate in Costa Rica left a lasting impression that would shape that rest of his personal and professional life.
After a stint in bilingual education in northern California, he has been a semi-permanent resident of Costa Rica since 1999, first, administering a University experiential learning and cross-cultural training program and later as an intercultural trainer with Prudential Intercultural and as a management consultant Franklin Covey. Extensive experience with the Latino population in California and work experience throughout Central America and the Caribbean have helped him to develop a comprehensive understanding of Latin American culture and society.
With an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Education Eric is uniquely qualified to assist others to adapt to life in a foreign culture. His Master’s thesis focused on the process of cultural adaptation of university students from the US during a semester abroad in Costa Rica and brought greater depth to firsthand experience of the cultural adjustment process. Since 1999 he has assisted literally thousands of people in maximizing their experience in Costa Rica.
When he needs a break from the working life he can be found with his wife Karol Sancho, in the backcountry of the Sierra Nevada in California, playing with his beautiful nieces in Santa Cruz California, playing tennis or at the beach in Costa Rica diving and surfing.
Karol Sancho Araya has been working in student programs since 2008 and enjoying every minute of it. Karol makes sure that all the trips go off without a hitch and that whether we are in the rainforest on the lookout for sloths, protecting our food from monkeys or taking buses around downtown all students are safe and having the time of their lives.
Karol held many different positions from the training and development director to a marketing executive at an internet company in Costa Rica. She left the company to dedicate herself to her own projects and to expand her work with student programs.
Her undergraduate studies in HR management and Master’s in Business Administration and International Management give her a strong educational foundation to assist the students who study with IGE in Costa Rica. She is from a small town in the mountains outside of San Jose and if you’re lucky maybe she’ll invite you to her mom’s home where you can sample some serious Costa Rican traditional cooking.
When Karol needs a break from work, you can find her at the gym working up a sweat, traveling with her husband Eric, dancing salsa or catching up with her numerous friends or family over “cafecito” around San José.
Joaquín is a Costa Rican who has many years of experience helping foreigners maximize their experience in Costa Rica through cross-cultural training, coordinating immersion programs and teaching the academics of culture.
Apart from the work with IGE, he also collaborates as an Intercultural Competence trainer with the Global Solutions Group while teaching Intercultural Communication, Economics and Spanish for Veritas University in San José, Costa Rica. Joaquin has also taught for U.S. universities in the areas of Intercultural Communication and Competence, Human Rights in Latin America, Critical Issues in Latin American Development and Migration.
Joaquín coordinates a volunteer program for foreigners in Heredia, his hometown and spends time with other projects of interest such as co-managing “Voices and Actions against Xenophobia and Exclusion”, a web-list dedicated to foster increased acceptances of difference in society.
His undergraduate studies were in International Business and his graduate studies in Communications, with an emphasis on Intercultural Education. His fluency in written and oral Spanish, French and English allows him to converse in the first language of many of his visiting students and groups.
Colin Wayne is the Director of Marketing and Recruiting at IGE. He is responsible for creating fresh marketing campaigns and ensuring that IGE is “keeping it real” at all times. Aside from running the company’s marketing, Colin provides support to prospective students. Being a graduate of IGE Vienna, Colin is an excellent source of first-hand information for students interested in the program.
Prior to working at IGE, Colin worked in the snow sports industry. Through his ski industry connections Colin has helped develop IGE’s snow sports intensive travel program which runs during the winter terms in Vienna, Austria.
Colin studied at the University of Denver where he earned his BSBA in Marketing and later his MBA. Outside of his busy work week, Colin spends his time in the mountains skiing, hiking, fly fishing, and climbing.
Alfred Pfabigan is IGE’s on-site Austrian Director and IGE couldn’t ask for a better person to fill this job. Alfred is as Viennese as they come. Born, raised, and educated in Vienna, Alfred brings a classic Vienna touch to our programs that you really can’t find anywhere else.
Aside from working with IGE, Alfred has served on several councils and authored many publications. Alfred majored in Jurisprudence with a minor in Political Philosophy at the University of Vienna. Upon completing his undergraduate studies he continued his education at the University of Vienna and earned a PhD in Law.
When not serving in his role as Austrian Director with IGE, Alfred is a professor at the University of Vienna, visiting professor at the Diplomatic Academy, visiting professor at the Master of Interdisciplinary Science Program, and regular contributor to “Die Presse”, “Der Standard” and the Austrian Radio station ORF – O1. For more information on Alfred, check out this CV here.