Can't wait to go back! Past Review

By (Political Science and Government., University of Southern Maine) - abroad from 01/09/2012 to 05/05/2012 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience was completely worth the time! I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I learned things about a different culture, got to explore a new part of the world and even learned a little Italian, and got to practice my French!

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.

Most classes were very educational, and professors were mostly willing to help. However, I had two classes in which nothing was taught during class. One professor simply seemed as if he did not want to be there, and the other was so difficult to not only talk with but simply understand what he wanted from the students.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The three women running the API Italy program in Roma are very inexperienced at dealing with problems related to pretty much anything. They are highly disorganized and are unwilling to help with problems dealing with housing, roommates, the school, etc. They really need to get some people with experience and willingness to communicate with students and help them out in the best way that they can. We paid a lot of money to this program and were not provided with hardly anything promised by the Italian staff on site!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing was decent, our apartment was very far away from the location of the school, but bus passes were provided and almost a necessity. The housing agency that deals with repairs was very unhelpful, and it would take multiple emails and phone calls just to get someone to come to the apartment to fix something. We had multiple problems with our showers and the hot water and after some rather heated arguments with both the program leaders amongst ourselves and parents we got what we needed taken care of toward the very end of the program.

* Food:

Food in Italy is top-notch! People in local supermarkets are so helpful at finding things for you, and restaurants are always excited to explain their specialty dishes to you, and suggest certain items to you! I highly recommend not only experiment with cooking for yourself with the Italian food sources, but also dining out!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I lived with all American students, which was nice, but it made it hard to practice our Italian as some of us were not even enrolled in an Italian class. We were however set in a part of Roma called Prati where the locals were very helpful and there were not many other tourists!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Healthcare is extremely accessible, I went to the tourist clinic listed in our program booklet and it was completely free. They did not speak much English but were patient with me and used google translator on sight to help with communication barriers. No specific vaccinations were required but there was a lot of strep throat going around. Approximately 4 out of my 8 roommates including myself contracted strep throat, along with many other people in our program which is awfully high.

* Safety:

I always felt relatively safe. For women I suggest not going out alone and leaving with your friends. Italian men can be very aggressive and if you are by yourself it can put you into a situation that you might not be able to handle.

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)

I did exhaust all of money supply by the time I left but it was fairly easy even with traveling, to live on a student budget.

* 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-$200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try and set aside a set amount of money each week for food and other daily expenses you might need. That way you won't overspend when traveling. Also take out large amounts of money at a time in order to secure low exchange rates.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The excursions.
  • The apartments.
  • Professors.
* What could be improved?
  • New On-sight program managers.
  • More university organization.
  • More international student interactions!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Italians are much more willing to interact with you if you 'look' Italian, which in my case was very fortunate; for my roommates however it was a different story. Also, Americans attract a lot of attention especially in the night-life scene, sometimes it is very difficult to deal with Italian men and it is imperative to keep ones wits about you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

United Nations and International Diplomacy

Course Department: Political Science
Instructor: Alberto Schepsi
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class had so much potential but utterly was a failure. The professor simply when on tangents about his life as a diplomat in the United Nations, and he did not really teach us much of anything. It was easy to pass the exams, as I don't think he even really looked at them. This class should be merged with the International Organizations class taught by Professor Silvia Scarpa as she seems much more educated and enthusiastic about the material!
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Italian Politics

Course Department: Political Science
Instructor: Federigo Argentieri
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The field trips were extremely relevant and even educational. The material taught in class was not on the test whatsoever, and he was unwilling to go over the material in the book which was what the exam was based on entirely. Most people did not do well on any of the exams or the papers. He is not good about communicating what he expects from students and really should rethink his entire class setup!
Credit Transfer Issues: Yes but this is issues with my home university that need to be dealt with, because of lack of communication on the study abroad office part!