Voyage in Venice Past Review

By (Romance Language, Truman State University) - abroad from 06/23/2014 to 07/18/2014 with

College Consortium for International Studies (CCIS): Venice - Istituto Venezia

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned about providing for myself (no help from friends or parents) in a foreign country through language barriers, currency differences, and cultural differences. Learning to navigate a city so different from mine (boats, no cars, lots of travel by foot) was a challenge at first but I grew to appreciate the differences. I feel like I have become braver after navigating airports in foreign countries by myself. Although I went for school, the trip was relaxing, which was good for me after a long school year. I also loved getting to know people from other countries. I made friends from Malaysia, Austria, Israel, France, Japan, and other countries. Learning about their cultures and contrasting them with my own was fascinating. I was amazed by how we were all able to be friends despite coming from such diverse backgrounds.

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 learned a lot in a short amount of time. I had lots of fun in class and time flew--it felt shorter than four hours. I enjoyed meeting other students from all over the world. Teachers were friendly and fun. There was little homework, so the class was not overwhelmingly rigorous.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Although the school facility was small, it was still a comfortable environment. The administrators were helpful in assigning levels and arranging educational tours around Venice to learn about history and architecture in addition to language.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was assigned to live with an Italian couple. They were very accomodating--I got my own bedroom, bathroom, and keys. Talking to them helped me improve my Italian. I wish I had gotten more chances to speak with them (they were on vacation for a week and we usually didn't eat meals together). Overall it was a good experience--I was nervous about living with a family but it became more comfortable and they told me I was welcome back in the future.

* Food:

I found that to eat high-quality food, you must be willing to pay more than 10 euros for a meal. Otherwise it was like eating fast food, which wasn't bad. Restaurants, cafes, and to-go food stores were on every corner of the city. Supermarkets were a good way to buy a lot of food for good prices.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Aside from my host family and teachers, I didn't meet many other Italians. Rather, because the school was international, I got to meet students from all over the world and learn about their cultures. I got to know Italian culture through exploring the city, walking to class, and eating the food, but the overall experience was more multicultural. I did experience Italian culture by watching World Cup matches in cafes, which was interesting and fun!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

n/a-I didn't not have experience with health care while I was there. No additional vaccines were needed.

* Safety:

The city felt very safe. Most of the shops closed down early, around 8 or 9 p.m., so I thought it was best to be back home by then. I was terrified of being pickpocketed for a long time, especially in the crowded tourist areas, but I eventually relaxed. The only time I felt nervous was when I stayed out late and walked back home, although I was fine. For the best safety, I recommend taking the water taxi's night line during the late hours to avoid walking long distances at night, especially if you're alone. Admittedly I was surprised not to see many police officers around the city. I only saw them in a few larger plazas.

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 took out a loan to cover travel costs. Money was never a huge issue and I had enough to spend on personal things like train tickets and souvenirs. Food in restaurants was pretty expensive but prices in supermarkets were decent. One of the most expensive things was transportation (water taxi tickets), so I recommend buying a month-long pass for extended stays. It saves money in the long run.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? ~$100-150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Buy a month-long ticket for the water taxi. Bring a water bottle that you can fill up at taps to prevent having to buy bottled water all the time (Venice tap water is safe to drink). Buy plane tickets through


* 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

The school was an immersion school full of people with different native languages, so we had to use the language in class. Sometimes we also spoke Italian outside of class because we were all learning it and could speak it at a decent level. However, most of the other students spoke some amount of English so we sometimes spoke English outside of class.

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 Italian II
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 speak English with other students if you can avoid it, talk to your host family, participate in class, don't be afraid of messing up (it happens), try to think in the language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • classes/teachers
  • the city and its attractiones
  • meeting students from around the world
* What could be improved?
  • more help getting to school the first day (I got lost)
  • more information on how grades transfer
  • a little more speaking practice in class
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I'd known how much English-speaking there would be. Even shopkeepers in Venice would address me in English before I'd even said a word. Even the teachers would use English as a reference language to translate a word that we didn't understand sometimes. I also wish I had been less paranoid about things like pickpocketing, because the experience was more enjoyable once I stopped living in constant fear.

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!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Intensive Italian Language- level 4

Course Department:
Instruction Language: Italian
Comments: I felt like I was based on the appropriate level based on my ability. The teachers were very fun and helpful. I loved the environment, which was fairly informal so it wasn't stressful. The teachers knew how to teach a lesson well, often starting with an introductory activity to transition into a grammar lesson. CCIS students were assessed with a test at the end of the four-week period.
Credit Transfer Issues: