The best decision I could have ever made during college Past Review

By (Merrimack College) - abroad from 08/01/2008 to 12/20/2008 with

API (Academic Programs International): Rome - John Cabot University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes it was worth it. I really feel I picked a great location to go to. Additionally, having met students from all programs, no programs, other schools in Rome, I am VERY happy that I chose API and John Cabot University, above all other options. Having a memory like riding a moped across the Bridge of Angels is priceless & just can't be experienced anywhere else.

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.

The classes were quite rigorous in all areas from art history to finance. All of the professors were very strong in their field and I not only worked hard during my semester, I also, grew my interest in certain academic areas as a result. My italian skills grew more from my class their in one semester than I received a year and a half back home.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The leaders of API based in Rome were excellent; wonderful guidance, really organized, thoughtful excursions and the orientation was very helpful. I have only wonderful things to say about the professors and dean of JCU as well. My only negative would be that-- I began enrolled in a finance course that was VERY challenging. After being in the course for two weeks I felt that I should really switch to a class level that I would be more comfortable in. The class met Thursday nights, the end of the week for JCU and because I had to wait till the following Monday to speak with the administration about switching the class I was told it was then TOO LATE. That in fact, the previous thursday was the last day to switch. I was forced to drop the course and had to pay the tuition for the course and lose the credits. I don't think I was given enough information about what to do if you need to alter any classes but, both API, home university, and JCU staff were very responsible and considerate.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing though API, placed me in an apartment building 15-20 minutes from Campus. I had a wonderful experience there; very clean, easily accessible, terrific roommates/landlord; great location.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

John Cabot is very international and the courses integrate all of the students very well. I found it very easy, despite only having american roommates, to make friends and spend most of time with italian and international students.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The pharmacies in Rome are very good- I recommend if in doubt go right there and ask questions.

* 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)

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 150/week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? There is so much to see in Rome, you can save money by spending more time getting to know the city than traveling so much around Italy. Don't bother purchasing a tram ticket (people rarely check)- just buy a day pass and don't validate it unless you have to- then you only have to buy one! Make dinner- the food stores are great and the produce markets are unbeatable. If you like going out at night to clubs and discos- get to know your promoters that work with american students and hire international students- will save you money on entrance fees. Use airports outside the major cities when traveling- cheaper ticket prices.


* 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? Italian II
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? Just do it. Everyone speaks italian so once you get over being so nervous, everyone is open to have small to lengthy conversations. Start by buying a coffee, ordering lunch, shoes or greeting and let it grow.

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

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • Location- Rome is breathtaking
  • People- John Cabot attracts an amazing group of international students, Romans are very warm people
  • Housing- Great job with the apartment housing, roommates/landlords, API leaders
* What could be improved?
  • Having JCU administration introduce themselves at orientation so as to make themselves accessible right away.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known more about dropping/adding classes. I wish I had known more about the best ways to get around Italy and recommendations on places to stay in other cities. I wish I had known the layout of Rome a little better/ neighborhoods/ areas/ metro stops- Rome is VERY large. It takes a while to figure it out and couldnt possibly see the whole thing. It would have saved time to have more than a map but a real layout with advice and direction. Yes, pack the hair dryer. Yes, Rome gets pretty much all seasons. Yes, its a little dressier- pack your best things, that don't wrinkle, that don't require much washing, that breathe easily. Takes all day to wash and dry one pair of jeans..