Florence: Art, Culture, Food July 12, 2011

By (Advertising, The University of Texas at Austin) for

AIFS: Florence - Richmond in Florence

Would return abroad with the same program
What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I definitely feel I benefited from this study abroad experience. I came back a more indendent woman, and I think it really helped to prepare me for when I graduate college and am living on my own.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

There weren't to many differences between the study abroad university and UT. The main difference was just the expectations of the professors. The workload was definitely a lot lighter and less stressful.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The faculty at Richmond was fantastic. They were always available to answer questions and give suggestions. They would plan weekly activities for the students to take part in, like wine tastings, cooking classes, etc...My expectations were definitely met.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I would highly recommend living with a host family. I was able to practice my language skills in a more comfortable and relaxed environment and I also had the opportunity to learn about the culture. Talking with them allowed me to learn vocuabulary that I would not have learned in class. My host family provided all the items I was going to need to live, including a small kitchen in my room for cooking! My house was also very close to everything. I was a 20 minute walk to class, 15 minute walk to the Duomo, and there were numerous places to eat in the surrounding area. It was a great location.

* Food:

AIFS has a meal plan with vouchers that you give local restaurants for dinner and lunch. It was a great way to get out and explore the city.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program set up trips to Venice and Rome, which were fantastic! It was a great opportunity to visit and see more of Italy.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The city was very safe, but like any place you have to be aware of your surroundings and be careful after dark. I felt very safe the entire time I was there. When the program started a local police officer was brought in to address us about certain things we should look out for and what to do in an emergency.

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? No, even though it was very expensive, it was a lot less stressful not having to worry about finding my own place to live/transportation to and from the airport, etc...

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I had taken one year of Italian prior to departure.
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I was able to use my language skills with my host family, professors, campus faculty, and while I was out and about in Florence. Almost everybody can speak English, but they appreciate it if you make an effort to speak their language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Be patient and explore, not just Italy, but around Europe. It's not everyday that you find yourself a two hour plane ride away from Germany...so take advantage of it! Also...try the food, everything is amazinnggg!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Intermediate Italian I

Course Department: ITL 203
Instructor: Professor Maria
Instruction Language: Italian
Comments: This course was a little frustrating. I took this class during orientation and they tried to jam an entire semester in to two weeks. Since I was the only student at this level of Italian I had to be placed in the Italian class below me during the week, then attend tutoring sessions after class so that I could learn the material I needed. It was as if I was being taught at the level below me, but being tested at the level above me.
Credit Transfer Issues: N/A
Course Name/Rating:

Intermediate Italian II

Course Department: ITL 212
Instructor: Professor Sara Scarcelli
Instruction Language: Italian
Comments: This class was fantastic. There were only two students in the class so there was a lot of professor and student interaction. The class was very conversation heavy which allowed my speaking skills to improve greatly.
Credit Transfer Issues: N/A
Course Name/Rating:

History of Italian Fashion

Course Department: ARH 317
Instructor: Professor Costanza Menchi
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Very interesting. During this class we were able to visit various places and museums around the area to view actual attire from the Renaissance era.
Credit Transfer Issues: N/A
Course Name/Rating:

History of the Italian Mafia

Course Department: HST 326
Instructor: Professor Lorenzo Picci
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I loved this class. It was very interesting and gave me the opportunity to learn about something I wouldn't normally be able to.
Credit Transfer Issues: N/A