The Experience of a Lifetime Past Review

By (PSYCHOLOGY., University of Massachusetts Amherst) - abroad from 01/05/2012 to 04/27/2012 with

CISabroad (Center for International Studies): Semester in Perugia

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about myself, including how to adapt to new situations and solve problems. I gained language skills. I debunked my own myths about Italian culture. It was the most worthwhile experience I've ever had.

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.

I took Intermediate Italian II, Contemporary Italy, Roman Civ, and completed an academic internship teaching English at a local public high school. My classes were wonderful, and I felt sufficiently challenged.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff was incredible. They were extremely friendly and helpful. I felt very comfortable around them, and I could ask them anything. CIS also had a representative in Rome, Romina, and she was always available if we had any issues. She also worked hard to form relationships with us, and would come to Perugia frequently. She was great.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I absolutely loved my apartment. It was beautiful and we had Italian neighbors. The school was great with helping us if we had problems, but I can't remember any. We were a little cold at night, but nothing a sweatshirt couldn't fix.

* Food:

The food was of course delicious. I would recommend limiting meals out, though. It does get expensive. My four roommates and I would switch off each night during the week and cook dinner for the rest of the apartment. For the other two nights, we would either eat leftovers or go out. This saved us a lot of money, and created wonderful memories. Fresh fruits and vegetables are everywhere.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I lived with other Americans, but this didn't take away from my experience in any way. It was actually a nice balance. Between my internship and other experiences, I felt very integrated throughout the semester. The school did a great job organizing activities for us that included Italian students. You just have to take initiative and go meet people.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Other than a few colds, I didn't get sick while abroad. However, one of my roommates had an infection and one of the staff members personally accompanied her to the doctor to translate. The pharmacy had any meds you would need.

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe in any way. Of course, take the normal precautions you would take in any city and use your common sense.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 100 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Again, cooking meals and switching off saved us a lot of money. If you want to travel often, be prepared to pay. You can get discount flights, but still have to pay to take the train to the airport, for example. Allow for unexpected expenses throughout the semester.


* 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

We spoke solely Italian in class, and my professor was very strict about that rule. But it dramatically increased my fluency.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intermediate I
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? Don't be afraid to practice! Almost everyone in the town was very accommodating.

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Academics
  • Staff/Program activities
  • Travel
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing I can think of
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had been less anxious...everything worked out beautifully.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!