Bella Italia! Past Review

By (The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 01/14/2013 to 05/03/2013 with

AIFS: Florence - Richmond in Florence and Internship Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned I am perfectly happy with who I am. I thought I was going to go on this adventure and be "changed" completely. In some ways, yes I grew as a person...but I did not have a personality overhaul. I was comfortable enough with who I was at the start, that I did not have to change completely, but instead, just grow in understanding of the world.

Review Photos

AIFS: Florence - Richmond in Florence Photo AIFS: Florence - Richmond in Florence Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* 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)

Depending on what your budget was per week, there was a lot of flexibility in how you spent your money that allowed you to save or spend depending on what your personal finances entailed.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? When traveling, pack lunches and food. Always find a local grocery store to shop in instead of going out to eat every day. Eat half a meal and save it for lunch the next day.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? six hour course in Italian
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Be in the culture. Look where the other American study abroad students are....and do not go there. Go to where the locals go. Make friends with locals who can show you around. Be smart, but be THERE.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The food
  • The teachers
  • The staff workers in office
* What could be improved?
  • Integrating us into the culture
  • field trips not on fridays
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How easy it is to get sucked into making this an American-Italian experience. If you want to make it an Italian-Italian experience, it takes a lot of intentional actions on your part.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'