Left My Heart in Perugia Past Review

By (The College of William and Mary) - abroad from 01/03/2019 to 04/27/2019 with

Arcadia: ISI Perugia - The Umbra Institute

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Vale la pena means "worth it" in Italian and that's how I describe my time here. I gained a better appreciation of my own culture as an Italian-American as well as a better understanding of how to live in a liminal or transitional space.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Umbra staff is absolutely wonderful and really try their best to make your time in Perugia comfortable, safe, and enjoyable.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Perugia is a small university town that is very used to welcoming students of all different backgrounds and integrating them into the life of the city and Umbra really helps with that process through leading cultural exchanges, intensive language weeks, and other various programs.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt very safe walking around Perugia at all hours really because the city center is a safe and pretty quiet place. There are some pockets of crime further outside the historical center but I felt very safe throughout my time here.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I absolutely adored my time at the Umbra Institute in Perugia. From the staff, to classes, to extracurriculars, to the city itself. I felt challenged in my courses as well as my language but not overwhelmed and felt nothing but support from the staff members.


* 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)

It's very easy to stay within budget when in Perugia. There are lots of free/cheap activities and Umbra has great discounts with local restaurants, gyms, and pools. The expenses really come from class expenses, the course fees tend to be a little expensive, and personal travel on the weekends.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 150 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try to keep track of your money, even the little spending can add up and it's better to know where it's going. Also try to grocery shop the Italian way; instead of stocking up at the beginning of the week with a huge load go twice or three times a week to pick up a few things as you need them.


* 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

The very first week at Umbra is Intensive Italian Language week where we learn (or are refreshed) on "survival" Italian and then taken out about town to practice it. They take classes to the grocery store, the local cafes, and on the public transportation so we get acclimated to the actual city and speaking Italian within it. We also have a Solo Italiano challenge halfway through the semester.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
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? 250
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? Try watching movies or TV shows with subtitles, practice reading Italian news and magazine articles and lookup words you don't know (don't just translate the whole thing), and listen to Italian music.

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The people (staff, faculty, students, locals)
  • The city
  • The classes
* What could be improved?
  • Course fees a little expensive
  • Some friction with some professors
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It will be colder than you think in winter -- bring that winter jacket and those socks!

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 Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.