Living in Italy's Green Heart: The City of Perugia Past Review

By (Comparative Literature, University of Massachusetts Amherst) for

CISabroad (Center for International Studies): Semester in Perugia

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Absolutely! It has changed me in so many ways, but everything has changed for the better. I went abroad being a little awkward and socially very shy, but I have come back a new outgoing person who isn't afraid anymore. I'm so confident in myself that I just feel like a whole new person. I went abroad for the first time in my life, alone, to a school that didn't speak English. If I can do that, well, I can do just about anything. My abroad experience has made me re-think my career choices and has made me really understand my love for foreign languages. I really hope to someday move back to Italy once I'm fluent and get a job.

Review Photos

CISabroad (Center for International Studies): Perugia - Semester in Perugia Photo CISabroad (Center for International Studies): Perugia - Semester in Perugia Photo CISabroad (Center for International Studies): Perugia - Semester in Perugia Photo CISabroad (Center for International Studies): Perugia - Semester in Perugia Photo CISabroad (Center for International Studies): Perugia - Semester in Perugia Photo

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: The Umbra Institute, L'Universita per Stranieri di Perugia
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.

My workload was not that tough because I went to L'Universita per Stranieri and most of it was just learning the Italian language so I went out and talked to people for most of my homework. This school system was definitely more relaxed than educational systems in the United States.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration at the Umbra Institute was great, always there to help you if you had a question. The problem was with L'Universita per Stranieri and The Umbra Institute communicating properly. During exam times, I would feel very confused because we weren't explained anything and I almost actually missed taking my final exam because the communication between the two programs is very, very poor.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in an apartment with another American girl in my program, but we lived on a very sketchy street and I didn't feel safe. I went to the Umbra therapist and told her I was having these problems and she moved me out right away and into an apartment with two local students. The next neighborhood I lived in was much better.

* Food:

I am a vegetarian, so I found it hard to live in Italy without eating meat. I ate a lot of pasta, pizza, and paninis. My advice is to go to the Asian supermarkets located around town, they usually have tofu or at least some sort of asian noodle. There is also a macrobiotic store where you pay 5euro for a membership and then you can shop there all the time. It's a little expensive, but if you are vegan or vegetarian, it is worth it. There is also a restaurant inside of the supermercato.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My program took an excursion to Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri and Naples, a.k.a. The Almafi Coast. It was a 300 euro trip, but it was included in my CIS tuition! It was great, we saw the ruins in Pompeii, saw the blue Grotto in Capri, and ate at the pizzaria in Naples that invented the magherita pizza. It was an awesome trip overall.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never needed to use any of the healthcare system while I was there, but my friend sprained her ankle while we were there and they fixed her up and gave her crutches in no time. I felt safe for the majority of the time in Perugia, except on the street I was first living on, Corso Girabaldi. It was just full of sketchy people, definitely not a road to walk alone at night. But I felt safe for the most part in Perugia, it has that small town feel.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

All of my classes were taught in Italian with students from all over the globe who didn't necessarily speak English, so I was forced to speak it in class. I got a job at a bar where I also had to use the language. I lived with two Italian girls for half of my stay in Italy and they also didn't speak much English at all. I went to Perugia is hopes of gaining and very good handle on the Italian language and I really did learn a lot while I was there.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Go and do is the best advice I can give. This program is for everyone, especially those in a college town now, because Perugia really does have that college town feel that makes you feel at home. I say Go and Do because you may be shy at first, or nervous upon arrival. You may not know many people and everything is new. But, the semester is only 4 months long, and although that sounds like a lot, it's not, and it flies by. Don't regret anything, but be safe. Live your life to the fullest and live with an explorer's attitude.