Sunsets & Pasta Past Review

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

Arcadia: Perugia - Umbra Institute

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Living in Perugia, I gained a lot of appreciation for the Italian culture. I learned a lot about myself and how I interact with novel experiences. It was definitely challenging learning how to live in a culture that you are very unfamiliar with. But ultimately, living in a new culture made me look at my own culture in a very different way. It was definitely 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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Although my apartment was lacking in several ways, the view from the living room window was absolutely wonderful! The location was great as it was only a five minute walk to the school and the main piazza.

* Food:

It is hard to find variety but obviously Italy is going to have fantastic food!!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I feel like I never felt truly integrated in the culture. I definitely started to feel more comfortable (a lot of this had to do with actually learning Italian), but I didn't interact with locals. Umbra Institute offered Tandem, a language exchange program, and I have friends who participated in that more than I did and ended up with several Italian friends. Even though I didn't feel completely integrated by the end of the semester, I definitely felt less like I was intruding on the culture and more like I was slowly becoming a part of the culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I personally never had any health issues while I was abroad, but my roommate was sick at one point. The Umbra staff wrote what to say in Italian to the pharmacy to get the appropriate medication.

* Safety:

Perugia feels pretty safe overall, and it's definitely much safer than a bigger city like Rome. But it still felt much more comfortable to travel in group or pairs. Even though it feels safe, just to be sure, don't walk home alone at night!

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

Finances

* 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)

Language

* 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

There was a language exchange program that was offered every other week which was really encouraged. Using the language was definitely encouraged but there weren't many structured opportunities (unless the Tandems are your thing). I actually had the best experiences speaking Italian with people in shops. If they know you are a student learning Italian, they are really helpful with practicing!

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? Beginner
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? Get to know locals who work in the bars and shops. They will be really helpful if they know you are a student!

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 location (Perugia)
* What could be improved?
  • More opportunities to use the language
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known a little bit more about the Italian culture and language before I had gone.

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.