Italy was a major confidence booster November 13, 2018

By (Eastern Illinois University) - abroad from 05/12/2018 to 06/01/2018 with

Eastern Illinois University (EIU): Exploration of Italian History, Culture, and Technology

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about myself as a person being abroad. Experiencing the hiccups that being in a non-English speaking country made me a much more confident problem-solver.

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 like the program because it wasn't too rigorous. I felt like I learned a lot just by attending the lectures/ field trips, but only needed a little studying at the very end. I got to spend most of my time enjoying the trip instead of studying.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

FUA was pretty unorganized. It was almost like they were surprised that we were coming.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Apartment wasn't ready when we arrived, so we were set up in a different apartment, forced to move back to the original apartment, which was not equipped with cleaning supplies, sheets, hangers, blankets, or insect repellent. Everything in Italy closes at 3, 4, or 5 pm, so the library wasn't much help for our assignments. Wifi wasn't hooked up, and it's a bit necessary for the way that the course was run.

* Food:

Even the grab-and-go foods were way better than what we have in the states.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

So-so. I feel like if we had a group of Italian students hang out with us even for a day or two, we would have branched out more

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

N/A did not seek/ need health care

* Safety:

During the day: you HAVE to keep yourself guarded and don't accept objects/ physical contact from anybody roaming around (especially touristy areas). As long as you keep your wits about you, you're fine though. At night: surprisingly I felt safer at night because the streets were nearly empty

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

The EIU program is an awesome starting point for someone who is travelling abroad for the very first time like I was. I had never been outside of the lower 48 before. Going with some familiar faces allowed me to feel comfortable taking those first steps in a strange place. Now I feel comfortable enough to go solo.

Finances

* 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)

Since it was only 3 weeks, it was easy & reasonable enough to exclusively eat out and keep left overs, but for a longer length of time I can't say. Be prepared to spend more money than you expect.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100-115
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? When you purchase food, get takeaway no matter what so you can have the container. Save half of it (unless you are that hungry) and eat it over two meals. You can cook your own food, but to make it half decent you have to spend just as much as someone getting only takeout.

Language

* 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

Our professor made us use Italian as often as he could

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? no Italian, 3 years of spanish
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? read everything out loud, especially menus. You'd be surprised how much you can pick up.

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Affordability
  • Location (Florence, Italy)
  • EIU/FUA professors
* What could be improved?
  • FUA's preparation for our arrival
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Italian street signs are not where you expect to see them, and cars take traffic signals as a suggestion.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.