If you can do it, do it. Past Review

By (Benedictine College) - abroad from 01/27/2016 to 04/14/2016 with

Benedictine College: Florence - Semester Program in Florence, Italy

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
There is no other experience or opportunity like it. Spending three months in a beautiful country, a beautiful culture, building beautiful friendships, creating beautiful memories. I experienced beauty on a daily basis. Every day, I went to bed thinking “What a day.” I lived in Villa Morghen with a dedicated and loving staff and amongst fellow students who became close friends, who by the end felt like family. It is almost impossible trying an attempt at “saying it all” but suffice it with three main points I experienced while abroad. The first is that I encountered beauty everywhere. The more I encountered the obvious beauty of Italy, the more I noticed the subtle beauty of everyday life. The next was my encounter with union: being in a new culture opened my mind to new ideas I quickly learned to love, and being in a villa amongst my peers widened my friend group with people I wouldn’t have ever met otherwise, and reminded me of the importance of union amongst ourselves and God alike. Finally, Italy taught me to live. All of those experiences everyday awoke me in all the best of ways. If I were to only give one piece of advice about studying abroad in Italy, it is to never simply go and return saying “that was fun.” Come back with it. Learn from those encounters and experiences. Return with the mindset that you will never stop discovering, adventuring, encountering, loving, or living. I miss Italy every day, but in a way, I still have much of it with me.

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.

There was one Italian professor who I found to be very unprofessional and disorganized, but besides that I loved all of the rest of the professors and learned a great deal.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

It's Tuscany...

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Villa Morghen is gorgeous. I couldn't ask for a more authentic place to live for three months. Only slight downside is it being a half hour bus ride from Florence, but having an entire Villa to ourselves made it worth it.

* Food:

The food varied on how good it was, but overall it's miles better than the cafeteria food we get back in Kansas.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Probably the biggest downside to being in the villa just with our group--we weren't forced to speak Italian besides class or ordering a cappuccino. For full immersion you need to go into Florence alone and try to engage with locals (who don't speak English) as best and as often as you can.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had any health issues nor did anyone else really, so I can't really say. One student had an accident while abroad however but he seemed to be treated swiftly.

* Safety:

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)

Most of our expenses were paid for, so any spending we did was essentially personal luxuries.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? On necessities less than 20 Euros a week. Luxuries such as cappuccinos and espresso shots is another story.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Think to yourself "how much can I spend?" and make a quick budget for yourself for the entire abroad experience as well as weekly budgets. It won't take too long to figure out how much you need to spend on gifts, food, etc.


* 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

You definitely can get by never using the language, but there is definitely ample opportunity to learn it on your own, you just need a little personal motivation to do so.

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
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? French II.
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? I learned the most by simply looking up how to say things such as ordering food on Google translate and put it into practice on the streets of Florence.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* 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?
  • First a foremost: being in Italy and experiencing Italy for three months.
  • Second: the experience with my fellow students. It was extremely personal and I made many lasting friendships while abroad with people from my school I never had met before.
  • The fact I was able to buy a bottle of good scotch for only 26 Euro.
* What could be improved?
  • Ways to figure out how to immerse the students more. It's so easy to be lazy and not try to learn Italian while you are there.
  • Better food and keep it authentic Italian. We are American but we'll get our American food when we're back in the states.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Nothing truly. I don't mean that in a vain way, but simply that I went into this program knowing I didn't know what to expect, and going into this program with an open mind is exactly the mindset you need. Don't have expectations. Only make it a goal to make the most out of your visit.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'