Arcadia: Beautiful Perugia, Umbria Institute- Summer Past Review

By (Communication & Media, Brandeis University) - abroad from 05/24/2013 to 06/28/2013 with

Arcadia: ISI Perugia - The Umbra Institute Summer

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Going abroad was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Going to Perugia was also one of the best decisions I have ever made. Rather than go to a large tourist city, I recommend smaller cities like Perugia for a more authentic Italian feel, for more opportunities to practice your Italian, and for less congested streets. Perugia is breath-taking and I would go back in a heartbeat.

Review Photos

Arcadia: Perugia - Umbra Institute, Summer Photo

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Umbria staff are sweet people who help out however they can. The faculty are passionate about their subjects, and there were several mixers that I saw faculty attend to engage with students outside of the classroom. It's always great to see professors who wish to add that level of personal connection to their relationships with students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartment was perfect, even with the fuse blowing out every other week and the Wifi switching off several times a night at times. Five girls lived the apartment, in two doubles and one single. Each room had its own bathroom, so we didn't really have problems related to that. Our common room/dining room was large enough to fit 20 of our friends for dinners. The one thing I'll warn about it how sounds echo in the streets, given the small width of the street and the close distance of the buildings. Sounds echo, which can be a nuisance when people are singing at the top of their lungs in the middle of the night. But all in all, I loved it!

* Food:

ITALIAN FOOD GALORE! Perhaps it's in part due to the fact that Perugia is not as tourist-ridden as larger cities like, say, Rome, but I found the food here to be awesome. I had a favorite spot for gelato, for cheap 1 euro pizza on my broke days, and made friends with a barista (Carmen at Caffe del Banco) who Youtubed how to make an iced coffee after the first time I asked (iced drinks are hard to come by for some reason...). The service is sweet and the taste is authentic.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I admit I spent a good deal of time with the fellow Americans on my program, and could have done a better job of truly integrating. The times I got to interact best with locals was when I ventured out on my own and chatted at cafes and such. I highly recommend students to interact with Italians as much as they can; I heard amazing stories from students more familiar with the Italian language who befriended the entire crew at a bar, and who would go everyday to chat and do their homework. If you put yourself out there, you will be well-received!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

N/A did not use health services

* Safety:

I found Perugia to be quite safe. Granted, I hardly ever walked home alone late at night, and took certain precautions such as never carry my passport around, kept my shutters closed when not in the apartment (burglars have been known to slip into unshuttered apartments), and kept my bag close to my side and away from the streets.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 120-160 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Balance cooking and eating out. Save up in advance or set aside each week to help with travel expenses to other places; travel costs add up quick, especially in bigger cities like Rome and Florence.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No
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? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 0

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Perugia
  • Time to travel (go to Assisi!!)
* What could be improved?
  • Notification of rooming before arrival
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That I would fall in love with Perugia and with Italy. And that it's not possible to visit every place you think you want to see before arriving (e.g. Rome, Venice, Florence) and also visit every country you think you want to visit while abroad (e.g. Spain, Greece, etc.) and also visit every smaller town you realize you want to visit after arriving and learning about them (e.g. Spoleto, Spello, Assisi, Cinque Terre, etc.) on a college budget and on a student schedule. Doing so wouldn't allow for true immersion into Perugia anyway!

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.