Firenze Past Review

By (Benedictine College) - abroad from 09/01/2011 to 11/25/2011 with

Benedictine College: Florence - Semester Program in Florence, Italy

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Other than educational experiences I was able to learn a lot about myself and grew a confidence in myself I hadn't had before studying abroad. I went to Italy without any close friends and only knowing a handful of my classmates there. Being able to break out of my shell and become friends with people I wouldn't have organically at Benedictine was amazing. I also became incredibly independent while being there (something my Mom still talks about today). Navigating the streets and maps in a foreign language. Being able to travel with a group and learning to compromise and work together. Not having a phone for three months was freeing.Interacting with people that don't speak your language and being able to appreciate the small things this world has to offer. The whole experience was just so worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Our teachers were exceptional and being able to not only learn about the history of the places and things in the classroom we were able to go out into the city and see them firsthand.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Villa, the staff at the Villa, Jen, and Pietro were all fabulous and everything we could have asked for in hosts. They truly felt like family while we were living in Florence.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I will never forget the views of Florence we had from our villa and the staff was outstanding and always made us feel like we were home.

* Food:

Outstanding, and they were very accommodating to my dietary requests.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Being able to live a little outside of Florence made me feel like I actually lived in Italy and not just being a tourist, and speaking to the staff at the Villa hearing about their lives in Italy and getting to speak Italian with them helped immensely.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe in Florence, unless there was a soccer game going on those got a little intense :)

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

I had the most amazing time in Florence and met some of the greatest people I will ever meet. I was able to travel Europe and see and experience things people can only dream of doing. Getting to go with such a small group was rewarding as well as we got to know each other on a unique level.


* 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 get by without spending a lot of money each week. With the Villa providing almost all of your meals there was no need to spend it on food outside of the Villa. Traveling is also reasonably priced if you kept your eyes out on flights and hostels.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? That depended on if I traveled during the weekend but probably average of 50euros if there was no traveling.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I made a coin jar and put any leftover change I had in the jar. I was also a waitress and saved a lot my tips for the trip.


* 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

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Highschool spanish, and two semesters of French
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 talk with the staff at the Villa, ask questions. Always always ask how to say something in Italian "Come si dice" was heard and used frequently.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* 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?
  • food
  • friends
  • history
* What could be improved?
  • I cant think of anything
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Nothing, a maybe a few more Italian words..and a better understanding of the bus system that first day would have saved us hours of not wondering around looking for our Villa. :)

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.