Best experience of my life! There is a reason I stayed another semester. July 21, 2014

By (Journalism., The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 08/21/2013 to 12/06/2013 with

AIFS: Florence - Richmond in Florence and Internship Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned more about my self independence. I learned how big and small the world is at the same time. I learned about traveling and languages. Also that the US is not the biggest, best nation in the world.

Review Photos

AIFS: Florence - Richmond in Florence Photo AIFS: Florence - Richmond in Florence Photo AIFS: Florence - Richmond in Florence Photo 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? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Best program available.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Amazing staff in Florence. Was one of the main highlights of the program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had an amazing homestay family which was a reason I decided to extend my stay for a semester. Highly recommend homestay.

* Food:

The food does not get better than Italy!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My university did a very good job creating events for students to interact with local italian students and finding ways for us to get involved with the culture in Florence.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There is an English doctor in Florence who has limited walk in hours, but is usually available help.

* Safety:

Had a couple of events happen to friends of mine in the program while in Florence, but that can be expected in any large city.

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

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $300.00
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? My program had meal plan vouchers for local restaurants which really helped not spending a lot of money on food.

Language

* 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? None
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? I was fluent in German before this program, but never took a 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? Venture out of the program group. Florence is very easy town to stay in the center with Americans and only speak English, but it is also very easy to meet other italians and venture outside of the English speaking part of Florence.

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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The staff.
  • The events.
  • Meal vouchers.
* What could be improved?
  • Classroom furniture.
  • Upgrade of computer operating systems.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't be afraid of anything abroad!

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Sociology of Italian Soccer

Course Department: SOC
Instructor: Pierluca
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I learned a lot in this course. A lot of time spent just talking in the classroom and going off on tangents. Worth every minute of it!
Credit Transfer Issues: No issues and I recommend to anyone wanting to learn more about Italian culture, not just about soccer.
Course Name/Rating:

Early Renaissance Art

Course Department: ART
Instructor: Peter Morical
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Peter was the best teacher ever! He was an old man that could relate to college students. Every class was fun and informative.
Credit Transfer Issues: No issues with credit transfer and would recommend.
Course Name/Rating:

Italian Elementary I

Course Department: ITL
Instructor: Giovanni
Instruction Language: Italian
Comments: This was a quick two week course. Loved every day of it! Great teacher who cared about teaching and his students!
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Italian Elementary II

Course Department: ITL
Instructor: Juliano
Instruction Language: Italian/English
Comments: Great class for learning Italian. The teacher really cared about teaching his students and was great at involving everyone.
Credit Transfer Issues: No issues transferring and would recommend.
Course Name/Rating:

History of Italian Mafia

Course Department: HIS
Instructor: Lorenzo Picchi
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Great class for learning about the history about italian mafia. Watched a lot of movies, but helped with the learning. Sometimes the professors lecturing can be very dull and hard to sit threw, but was not too often.
Credit Transfer Issues: No issues transferring credit and would recommend.