Just Perugian Around Past Review

By (Business/Corporate Communications., Trinity University) - abroad from 08/28/2014 to 12/12/2014 with

Arcadia: ISI Perugia - The Umbra Institute

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I absolutely think studying abroad was worthwhile. Not only did I make friends that I will have for the rest of my life, but I learned a lot about who I am, my travel style, my comfort zone, etc. I learned that to gain the most of an experience abroad, you really need to use the resources available to you. The people working at the Umbra Institute are so knowledgeable and they truly love Perugia. Talk to them about how to make the most of your experience, and you won't leave with any regrets!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The resources at the Umbra Institute are fantastic. Our teachers were really well educated in their fields and the entire staff can help you with anything from finding a book and writing a paper to surviving daily life in Italy.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Arcadia is not much present in Perugia. They have a representative in Rome, but really you'll be dealing with the people at the Umbra Institute 90% of the time.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The Umbra Institute puts on a language exchange just for people at the school, which is much more intimate than some of the others around town. Through those meetings, I got really close with a few locals!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The greatest thing about Italy is that the pharmacists behind the counters are RNs and can diagnose symptoms and prescribe medication. Cat, the librarian at the Umbra Institute, would write up phrases in Italian to help make sure the pharmacist knew what I needed. If necessary, she or another member of the staff would take you to the pharmacist or an actual doctor/dentist's office.

* Safety:

Perugia, I felt, was incredibly safe. The bar where you will most likely go called Dempsey's has never had a theft because Andreas, the owner and bartender, knows everyone that comes in and out of the bar. Just be sure to walk in pairs at night to air on the side of caution.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

You can definitely live on a student's budget abroad. My roommates and I split most of our living costs so I'd say we never spent more than 30 euros each per week, which includes going out, meals, etc. What costs a lot is traveling.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 30 euros.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Take all of your money out of the bank as soon as possible. If you're looking to get a debit card before going abroad, go with Bank of America because they pair with BNL a bank in Piazza Italia that does not charge for withdrawals. Still, the conversion rate on each exchange is ridiculous. If you can, take all of your money out at once so you're not losing $10 a week on exchange fees. Also, track your expenses for the first month. Keep all your receipts. You can use that first month to accurately predict your next months' budgets.


* 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

My Italian class didn't end up being super helpful, but the Institute itself really pushed us to go out, meet locals, and speak Italian wherever and whenever we could.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I've only ever had privates, so I'm not sure how that would translate.
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? Go find your favorite shops, introduce yourself to the patrons there, explain that you are a student, and then only communicate in Italian with them. They will help you. My favorites are Anneta at Latteria Antica, Alessandro at Il Parma, and Christiano the Pasta Man on Via Carporali. They know you are a student, so they will help you through any rough spots.

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!
  • Tandem
  • Blockbusters and Bestsellers
* What could be improved?
  • Living situations
  • Italian course offerings
  • Classroom environment (the desks/AC)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? 1. PACK LESS. Everyone will tell you that Italians dress really nicely, which is partly true. However, the Italian teens look like they stepped straight out of a Brandy Melville catalogue, since that is one of the main stores in the center. Don't bother buying new things to fit in before you go. Wear what you are comfortable in, and only take those things! You can buy the rest there! 2. DON'T wait until the last moment or until your parents visit to be a tourist in your own town. Take the first two weeks and use every day to explore. The Institute has museum passes. Go to those first so you can tell your friends and parents which ones are worthwhile. Go down every little cranny. Find the local dives. All that jazz. 3. Use InPerugia.com before you go and while you are there! It'll tell you when Trottamundo Cafe is doing BBQ Appertivo, where Mercoledi Rock is (a huge concert/party for college kids), and when language exchanges are. 4. GO to every language exchange. Just do it. 5. Use the people at the Umbra Institute. I wish I knew how helpful everyone at the Umbra Institute is. I was afraid to ask for help in the beginning, but towards the middle I began to reach out and I wish I had earlier. You don't have to do this on your own. 6. Finally, try to branch out on your own when you can. It's okay to travel by yourself. Make sure that you do what YOU want, and don't let lack of interest from others keep you from making the most of this time.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!