The best decision I've ever made! Past Review

By (Media Studies, University of San Francisco) - abroad from 08/25/2014 to 12/12/2014 with

Fairfield University: Florence - Semester or Year in Italy

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about myself as a person and as a traveler during my time abroad. I've always wanted to go to Italy so this was the perfect opportunity to. I also became much more independent. Definitely a worthwhile experience! I encourage all students to study abroad, if they can.

Personal Information

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.

I took 5 classes and while I had a busy schedule, they weren't too difficult. I was pretty busy with homework, projects, and a couple essays but the classes were super manageable and all of my professors were knowledgable and approachable.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program administration was extremely helpful. I had two of the program assistants living in my apartment building so if we had any questions, we could always ask them. The program assistants would always send out emails to us about fun things going on in Florence, optional trips, and opportunities in the city-center.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My roommates and I really lucked out with our apartment. We were right across the street from the Duomo and we had the largest apartment in the building. It was more than enough space for three girls.

* Food:

The food in Florence, let alone Italy, is extremely fresh and healthy. There are tons of open markets to buy produce at, and really most of your groceries. If you want a more traditional grocery store, there are Conad's all around the city-center.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I think the program could've done a better job about having us meet locals and get more of an authentic feel for Florence BUT you can do this on your own too. Try new places, talk to people, visit museums and talk to locals in their shops, etc.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I ended up getting sick about mid-semester and was able to visit a doctor (he was english-speaking) close to my apartment. He prescribed me antibiotics and I was feeling better in no time.

* Safety:

I personally always felt safe in Florence, but I think that has a lot to do with being from a big city and knowing to always be aware. Some students weren't so lucky and they had their phones stolen at the bars.

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 spent about 200 euro every 1.5/2 weeks, sometimes really depends on where you do your shopping and what your travel plans are. I would save as much as you can before you decide to study abroad.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Each week, I spent about 20-30 euros on food. I tried not to do any personal shopping unless it was something I really loved.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I'd save as much as you can before going abroad. $5,000 was enough for me to do grocery shopping, personal shopping, go out and travel (on a budget) for 4.5 months.


* 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 were required to take a beginners Italian course and this was beyond helpful for me. I already knew some Italian before going abroad so the beginner course was a refresher for me.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intermediate
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? Get an app to learn some basic Italian phrases, doesn't matter if you're a beginner or fluent - they really appreciate when you speak the language.

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?
  • People/Students that I met
  • Culture
  • Food
* What could be improved?
  • Included trips
  • Meeting more locals
  • Expenses
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that I knew more about how expensive the whole process of studying abroad was and if there were scholarship opportunities for study abroad students.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.