Written by Aaron Fuchs, CEO and Founder of iXperience
Just five years ago, we founded iXperience with the dream of augmenting traditional university education by bridging the growing gap between industry relevant skills, meaningful work experience, and the opportunity to travel the world. To date, iX offers cutting-edge courses and internships in three countries around the world, hosting 100s of top students each year.
The growth we witnessed was especially humbling because even though students did not get academic credit for doing iXperience, they chose our program because of the high quality of our education and our team’s dedication to unlocking each student’s potential. That said, we’ve always understood that our lack of being able to award credit meant that deserving students often couldn’t find adequate financial aid to do our program, which limited the diversity of our classes.
Today, iX is taking a significant step towards increasing access to our programs and realizing our vision of becoming an inspiring, global, future-focused university.
Building the future of education, with the University of Virginia
In the last few years, we’ve noticed a dramatic shift in higher education. More and more, liberal arts schools are looking for ways to both teach their students how to think critically about the world, and equip them with the practical skills for the workplace, like those that iX teaches.
This led us on an interesting journey. One of the best universities in the world – the University of Virginia (UVA) – took notice of the waves we’d made in study abroad education. Many of our students have historically come from UVA, so the word about iX spread and our ties strengthened. Over the past years and months, we met with their senior academic team, including the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Mr Ian Baucom, and realized that we had an opportunity to create something revolutionary together.
Which brings me to an exciting announcement. As of today, we are collaborating with UVA to officially accredit the iXperience programs in Cape Town, Berlin, and Lisbon, and create a new study abroad program unlike any other on Earth.
New avenues, more opportunities for students
Forming an alliance with one of the world’s best universities to award credits and build new courses will unlock a whole new world for our future students, our company, and the incredible types of programs we can now offer at our locations worldwide.
Firstly, it means that students who might not have previously been able to afford iXperience will now have more opportunities to acquire financial aid and scholarships to do so. That means greater student diversity, both within our U.S. student body, and beyond.
Secondly, students can now transfer credits earned on our program through UVA to their own universities and potentially apply them towards major, elective, or other requirements.
Importantly, our credit-bearing status means we’ll now be able to collaborate with other universities, worldwide, to augment their programs and provide them with the agility to respond to a rapidly changing career landscape and give their students incredible international experiences.
But the exciting news doesn’t stop there.
Introducing a brand new program: iX Immerse
The world is changing faster than ever before –it’s clear that the future depends on those who have deep, critical knowledge about the world, and the skills to apply it in a global context. Modern education has been struggling to keep up with this pace of change, and our vision has always been to bridge the gap between traditional learning and futuristic skills development.
That's why – in addition to bearing credit – iX and UVA are collaborating to pioneer an extraordinary program in Cape Town, South Africa called iX Immerse: a 10-week, 9-10 credit study abroad program that we believe will revolutionize the future of education by combining global studies coursework with high-impact skills development.
We believe this one of kind experience will inspire students to not only think critically about the world in a global context, but be change makers in the world of tomorrow.
“The collaboration with iXperience has the potential to serve as a new model for higher education,” said Ian Baucom, the University of Virginia’s Dean of Arts & Sciences. “This is a compelling way to integrate the liberal arts with skills-based learning and hands-on internship experiences in a global context, and we’re excited to offer this opportunity not only for students, but also for our faculty seeking research and teaching opportunities in Africa and Europe.”
What happens to other iX cities?
Our summer programs in Berlin and Lisbon will still be 6 weeks long (unchanged). But, our Berlin and Lisbon programs will now offer 6 credits, also academically sponsored by UVA.
That means students will get the added the benefit of credit transfer and financial aid, just like iX Immerse, but with the traditional iX program structure.
The 6-week iX program in Berlin and Lisbon is now named iX Accelerate. You can learn more about this 6-week program on our website here.
Tel Aviv Update
Unfortunately, due to restrictions from the Israeli Ministry of Education, UVA will not yet be able to grant credit for iX in Tel Aviv. While we are incredibly excited to operate in Tel Aviv soon, we’ve made the decision to temporarily close applications there while we finalize a few legal loose ends related to our new collaboration with UVA. We’ll provide an update on this in our newsletter soon!
(Are you an existing applicant to any of iX’s cities with questions about our new collaboration with UVA? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch with you.)
Our vision for the future
This is a big step forward for us, and one that we hope will move us closer and closer towards our global vision.
So, what does our vision look like? We’re looking to open in new cities, build innovative courses, and work with companies, universities, and other organizations that share our passion for reshaping education.
Most importantly, we want to expand to include opportunities for students, graduates, and faculty from all backgrounds by providing increased accessibility to our programs through innovative funding opportunities.
Finally, if you have suggestions or ideas for us (courses, cities, etc), or if you, your friends, or colleagues want to work with us, please reach out to me personally at email@example.com.
We would never be here without the support, whether from near or far, of our incredible iX community. So thank you – it has made the world of difference to have so many big dreamers, visionaries, planners, and doers around us throughout the years!
Aaron and the management team in Cape Town signing the collaboration documents with the University of Virginia – December, 2018