It was an amazing learning experience that I will never forget. December 28, 2015

By (Human Resource Development, Texas A&M University - College Station) - abroad from 05/24/2015 to 06/26/2015 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?
I learned great time-management skills, interpersonal communications skills, and adaptability. I also developed a sense of direction and the ability to step outside my comfort zone. Yes it was most definitely worth while!

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.

The courses I took had a large workload that I had not expected. The topics were interesting though and I Iearned a lot from them.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They orientation and tours they put together at the beginning of the program was very helpful and they were very quick to reply to emails if we had any questions. They also had an office we could go walk to if needed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The location was right across from a noisy bar. Not ideal for a student.

* Food:

The food was absolutely amazing, I never had a bad dish. There was gelato on every street corner that I could eat guilt free because I walked off everything I ate. The markets had the freshest produce I had ever tasted. I didn't realize how fruit and vegetables were actually suppose to taste like until I had them here.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Florence has a lot of tourists so it was hard to really become immersed in the Italian culture. A lot of Italians lived outside the main part of the city. Most of the Italians in the city spoke English so I was rarely challenged to speak Italian.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

We were given a map with a clinic marked on it that we could go to if we had any issues.

* Safety:

The city is very safe during the day, the main thing to be aware of was the pickpocketers. Keep your bags closed and close to you, especially when entering a crowded area or if using transportation such as a bus or a train. Make it a point to always have someone with you if going out at night. The streets are not very open and it would be easy for someone to attack you. I never had this problem and only heard of one incident the entire time I was there. It was also past 3:00 am which I am sure had a lot to do with it.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

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? $100

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

I only had to use it a few times at the beginning when I got lost.

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? 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? If the people do not challenge you to use the language, challenge yourself.

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 city I lived in (Florence)
  • The excursions
  • The classes
* What could be improved?
  • interaction with Italians
  • location of apartments
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew the importance of reaching out to the locals. There were many places I could have gone to talk and interact with them but I was too comfortable at the beginning. There were a lot of American places that I spent most of my time at.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.