An exciting and wonderful time Past Review

By (Benedictine College) - abroad from 09/01/2006 to 11/30/2006 with

Benedictine College: Florence - Semester Program in Florence, Italy

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained knowledge, self-confidence, and independence, as well as a greater appreciation for the arts and Italian culture.

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

Beautiful site and friendly, courteous staff; I did go during the first semester this was hosted, so things were a little bit less organized than I would expect for an established program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The accommodations in the room were simple but I couldn't have asked for better. Love the quiet, lovely location in the Settignano hillside. Beautiful church conveniently attached to the home.

* Food:

I liked the prosciutto sandwiches and daily Nutella. I only subtract one point because there wasn't a wide variety.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Many students never really spoke with locals outside of the instructors. I was shy and I didn't have as many conversations as in retrospect, I wish I had. Whoever introduced us to the Communion and Liberation people made a great move though.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

No health issues.

* Safety:

Florence was an extremely safe, welcoming city. Many of the students were afraid to go anywhere by themselves, which I believe was not a well-founded fear, at least at the time. I did visit places by myself and found that to be one of the most rewarding parts of the trip, helping me become more independent, self-confident and have a greater appreciation of my surroundings.

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)

I was very poor and self-financing all of my expenses, but thanks to low administrative costs in 2006, found that the cost was mostly manageable on my budget.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Very minimal--generally under $75/week, unless I made side trips to other areas of Italy/Europe.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Work as hard as you can before your semester abroad so you have as much money as possible for this trip! Expenses were generally low, but you'll need that money to see as many places in Italy as possible. In retrospect, it helped that I only bought a handful of inexpensive souveniers and didn't eat out very much.


* 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? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Latin II (high school)
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? Start ahead of time--watch movies and listen to music extensively.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* 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?
  • Location
  • Easy access to museums and transit to other areas of Italy
  • Instructors
* What could be improved?
  • Organization
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew the language course was so hard. I am not a language person naturally and would start practicing a year ahead of time! I wish I knew more Italian ahead of time so I could have tried practicing more with the locals.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Florence culture

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Loved the tours of art museums and local landmarks explaining in person the cultural significance and history.
Credit Transfer Issues: