An Unforgettable Semester Past Review

By (American/United States Studies/Civilization., The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 01/06/2014 to 04/25/2014 with

Arcadia: ISI Perugia - The Umbra Institute

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
From this semester, I learned to be more independent and get out my comfort zone. It was absolutely worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Classes were only four days a week, which allowed for travel either throughout Italy or elsewhere. The courses at Umbra are stimulating, but also understanding that most students are pretty much focused on getting to the weekend and traveling or really just living in a foreign country during the semester. The teachers were fantastic, approachable, and all really knew what they were doing. Also, there are great opportunities for field trips within courses, whether day trips or weekend trips.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Everyone at Umbra was super helpful and always willing to help.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartments come with at least one bathroom and a washer. There aren't dryers, which is typical for Italian student apartments. If you absolutely need a dryer, there's a laundromat by the University for Foreigners, which is an easy walk for most from their apartments.

* Food:

Food in Perugia is amazing. One should definitely try to branch out and eat out every once in a while. It's also pretty affordable and easy to balance grocery shopping and eating out.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I think since Perugia is smaller and filled with students it isn't too hard to find a niche within the local culture. I found the more I tried to speak Italian and adapt to the social norms, the easier I was received.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't personally need any healthcare services, but I know of people who did and the Umbra staff was very helpful in regards of appointments and directions to see the doctor.

* Safety:

I felt pretty safe in Perugia. For the most part, as long as you're aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your stuff, you should be just fine, which is advice that I'd consider important for any city living. Umbra also brought a Perugian police officer, who gave us tons of important tips and precautions.

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'd probably budget for around $100/week. Probably more if you plan on traveling that weekend.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50/week, not including travel (train tickets, hostels, etc.)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Have an idea of what type of traveling you want to do before you go and maybe research some itineraries ahead of time to get a ballpark of travel costs. Also think about how much you're going to want to eat out and go out; groceries aren't too expensive at the COOP, especially if you stick to more Italian generic brands instead of the US brands that are sold over there.


* 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

Umbra offers many opportunities to use Italian in Perugia; particularly with tandems every other week, which allow for American students to speak with local Italian students. The time speaking English vs. Italian is pretty balanced and American students have the opportunity to learn more colloquial Italian.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
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? Intermediate Italian
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 go out and try to speak as much Italian as possible. People will just happy to see you try and will correct you if you make any mistakes.

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
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 people I met
  • Perugia
  • the places I got to see
* What could be improved?
  • better apartment manuals
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? To have a greater vision of what I want from a semester abroad before I'm there.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
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.