Patience July 07, 2014

By (Public Relations and Advertising, Anonymous University) - abroad from 01/27/2014 to 05/17/2014 with

API (Academic Programs International): Florence - Lorenzo de’ Medici – The Italian International Institute (LDM)

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Mostly personal things is what I learned and gained. It was definitely worthwhile, maybe at the time it was a struggle, it was a fight here and there but looking back, it was worth it

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I would like to say that some students give studying abroad this apperance/facade that you do not do any work. I know that there are some students who tell you thats not true and they did, but I actually did hours of work while I was abroad. I was required to learn Italian which was difficult because they moved at a fast pace and because everything counts at Uhart and I was having credits count and what not I needed to do my best, the classes were challenging but they were not impossible. The resources are like any other class we take in America. We use some of the suggested and may not use the others.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were very supportive and even arranged trips for us throughout our time there which was great! All of them were organized and it was a great learning experience. They tried their best to have us adjust and gave us tips as to what we should and should not do.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I felt like my apartment was located in a sketchy area.. My program told me to avoid one road connecting to my apartment road at night and to take a different route if I am ever out. My apartment itself was very nice and new! The wifi however sucked and would go out all the time and the program was not very understanding of this. It was the most frustrating during finals week when my roommates and I had to study or get into contact with our family and couldn't.

* Food:

Food was amazing! I was in Italy! I tried so many great things! I cook for myself at home so it wasn't hard for me to prepare dinner for the night and make sure I had left over for lunch the next day and what not but I know that my roommates didn't know how and that could be a struggle.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Very little. It's hard and intimidating. Italians don't like Americans and because I am a girl I would get those comments like "hey baby girl, oh my god, blah blah blah" I ended up blocking out everyone which was a shame but when it actually came to interacting with locals for obvious reasons like grocery shopping and what not, it was a pleasant experience most of the time

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

TERRIBLE! I can not express how terrible it was for me! The flu was really bad this past winter and I got it. I had to walk myself twenty minutes to this building where the "doctors office" was and ended up walking an extra 15-20 minutes with a terrible fever because I couldn't find it. The office was small and the doctor treated me in a room that looked like my bedroom in Italy. My doctor had poor English, in the sense that she knew words but didn't understand what I was saying and spoke very fast with a thick accent. She ended up giving me a basic antibiotic and some kind of Italian tylenol I could pick up at a pharmacy, in the end, I diagnosed myself because she didn't, she just wrote down my symptoms and shooed me away with a prescription, which she also told me I didn't have to buy.. which defeats my purpose of going to the doctor because in America you go to the doctors and they tell you what to take and what to do, they don't say to you, if you want, you can take this or you can not take it and just live with your illness.

* Safety:

I was really paranoid in Italy. I think I was just lucky or smart to be honest. I was ALWAYS super cautious about what I did and where I put things but I heard of people getting their things stolen. I heard this one girl telling someone just ran up from behind her and just ripped her bag off her shoulder and ran away. Half of my roommates got pick pocketed, nothing happened to me though

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)

That is hard to say because people have different spending habits and depending on how you are situated in your country you can spend more or less. I think I did pretty well, I was really worried for a while that I was not going to have enough and I funded my own trip so I really had to make sure I managed my money well and in the end I came home with a little under 150$ which was enough to hold me over until I started my summer job.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 150 dollars give or take
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you buy something, especially food, do not let it go to waste, use it before it goes bad.

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

They encourage us all the time but Italians couldn't stand it so they would speak to us in English and we would just give in.

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? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? none
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? Study and don't be afraid to try things out in class before going out and taking on the world

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The size of the classes
* What could be improved?
  • nothing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I've been asked this so many times, I would say nothing. Maybe for me to bring warmer clothes because I lacked warm clothes.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!