The best decision I have ever made in my life! Past Review

By (Journalism., The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 05/30/2013 to 07/12/2013 with

Arcadia: ISI Perugia - The Umbra Institute Summer

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
A magical, unreal experience of

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.

The educational aspect of the program was absolutely fantastic. The teachers were the most gifted, engaging, and helpful I've ever experienced, and I learned so much while having fun.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

The food was awesome, but it's easy to be extremely unhealthy!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Perugia was a perfect city to integrate into the culture. There are many foreigners that coalesce with the locals, and we were accepted by both in the community.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no personal experience, but I believe it was readily accessible.

* Safety:

The administrators were very concerned for our safety. Perugia was also safe, but the best thing to do is never be alone. Ever. If you do this, you'll never feel scared or threatened.

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)

To really enjoy my experience abroad, I decided to be pretty liberal with my expenses (which were funded by a loan). Others cooked quite a bit to save on food costs, but I tried to spend the most time out of my apartment as I could, and travel on the weekends as much as possible.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Very rough estimate: $350
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save buying souvenirs, etc until the end of the program. You may decide you'd rather spend your money on other things, which friends and family usually understand...don't promise gifts!


* 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

This was the best language program I can imagine.

How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Upper-division. I had taken 15 hours.
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? Don't ever be ashamed of trying. Find locals who would like to practice English (they're usually very eager), and do language exchange. Don't give up and try in English - it'll be tempting, but try to convey what you're saying in whatever way you can.

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?
  • The staff and other students in my program
  • The environment of the city
  • A wholesome introduction to the culture
* What could be improved?
  • There were some activities that became monotonous, for example several city tours that were incredibly similar.
  • Some of the staff (excluding teachers) were disorganized, and weren't incredibly helpful with tips for getting around, etc.
  • There was a culture portion of the class that was rather dry.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Never hold back, do and see absolutely everything you can, and take care of yourself physically. It's easy to get consumed in your surroundings and become accident prone.