Italy is like the ex I can't get over. Past Review

By (Benedictine College) - abroad from 01/30/2012 to 04/19/2012 with

Benedictine College: Florence - Semester Program in Florence, Italy

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Was it worthwhile? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Most of my best stories start with, " So this one time when I was studying abroad...." followed by some epic tale of broken plans and making new friends in foreign places. So even if it was just for the stories, I would do it over again! The main things I learned were how to accept my differences while appreciating other cultures, patience with myself and my growing pains, budgeting, and how to collaborate with my peers (especially when planning trips). I learned how to make sure my opinion was heard while still being able to compromise. For example, I had to let go of the small things like doing a different activity than the one I would have preferred. I learned some Italian, which helped me out a lot when I moved to Central America and was surrounded by Spanish speakers. When my friends tell me they are going to Europe, I usually shout at them, " GO TO ITALY! It's beautiful there." Also, no one who has studied abroad in Italy would ever regret gelato, and it is most definitely a worthwhile investment in my superior opinion.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

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?

Great, I remember the laundry being very expensive though!

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Although I loved housing with Benedictine friends, it would have also been fun knowing Italians my age.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any health issues, so I guess it was good to me.

* Safety:

In Florence I felt very safe. While travelling in Rome, a group of us had our bags stolen out of a parked van that was broken into.

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

I have traveled to 9 different countries since I first set foot in Italy, and I have loved each and every one of my experiences. However, Italy is one place I always think of wanting to go back to. The language was a little difficult for me to learn, but by the end of three months I could finally understand what the people next to me on the train were talking about. I remember when the beautiful blah blah blah in the streets started making sense to me. Italy began to be more like a home and less like a tour. I felt like I was finally in love and the clock struck midnight before I could really enjoy it. In a way you could say I was in more or less in love with a country. Italy has everything you would ever want in a beau. It's ridiculously beautiful, charming, intellectual, fun, classy, and it points you toward the Divine. I will treasure all of my memories from my time traveling with friends and the many adventures we had discovering what it is to live in Italy, but more importantly what it is to live.


* 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)

Definitely needed more money than what a typical school semester cost for seeing all the places and trying all the different foods!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? probably evens out to $100 but I would stay in town some weeks and travel greater distances the next week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? split things like shampoo costs with your roommate, you aren't going to go through a huge thing by yourself in one semester. Buy things at the market with someone savvy, never take the first price offered. If you and your roommate both want to buy scarves, try getting a deal together from the vendor. On weekend travels, we would usually spend money at one really good restaurant to experience the wonderful cuisine at any given place and then eat cheap the rest of the weekend.


* 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

Again, it's hard when you are surrounded only by Americans your age.

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? high school Spanish 1 & 2
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? Talk to the staff! Become friends with them and try to use Italian rather than English.

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Learning a foreign language
  • The history
  • The beauty
* What could be improved?
  • Contact with Italians in their 20s
  • optional events or things to do in the evening/nights during the week
  • I think it would be cool to do some mission or service work for the poor, Italy has more than one face- show them.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Budget a bit more money than you think you will want, and keep a journal!

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.