Ti amo, Roma June 11, 2018

By (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign) - abroad from 01/18/2018 to 05/12/2018 with

Gustolab International: Rome - Institute for Food Studies Semester and Programs

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how different the world is outside of America. I had been to Europe before, but only by living in another country for an extended period of time can you understand the different cultural nuances. I think this un-American view is important to have because I plan on spending more time out of the states.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I never felt that the courses were too rigorous. In fact, I think I would have had a bigger workload had I elected to stay on campus for the semester. If I ever had a question, professors and staff were always helpful resources.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Gustolab support staff had their work cut out because we were such a large program, but they were consistently helpful and invested in our happiness and well-being throughout the course of this program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Apartments: I LOVED the location. Living in Trastevere was very ideal. I had to spend a good chunk of money re-stocking the apartments with basic necessities--that would be my one complaint.

* Food:

It's Rome--need I say more? Best food you will ever have.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I liked having daily language course because once I learned a little Italian, I felt much more integrated with Roman culture. I think you can pick up on the Italian social customs pretty quickly too. It's all about presenting yourself well.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any relevant experiences, but Gustolab did have a 24-hour emergency and support person, soI was never worried.

* Safety:

Rome is a big city, so you have to mind your belongings just as you would in any other big city. Always hold on tight to your belongings, especially in crowded areas or on public transit.

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

All things considered, I LOVED my time in Rome. It was probably the best four months of my life. I am not infatuated with Italian culture, and Gustolab was the conduit for that.


* 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)

It's expensive, especially food, but I knew I would have to spend money on personal expenses, so no issues here.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? it varied from week to week, on average, maybe a couple hundred dollars.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't feel pressured to buy a whole new wardrobe abroad. Only buy one-of-a-kind things that you love and can afford to fit in your suitcase home.


* 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 classes were taught in English, so it was not crucial. I guess it's up to the student to decide how invested he or she is in the language. Personally, speaking Italian was one of my favorite parts of the program.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? College-level 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? Restaurant vocabulary is the single best thing you can know. Study up on how to order, ask for the check, etc. Italians do restaurant eating a little differently and their meals are not structured like American meals, so do a little research on that.

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?
  • Italian Language
  • Coffee, Wine and Food
  • Rome's cityscape--pastel buildings, "bars", etc.
* What could be improved?
  • Separating students for class
  • A couple more amenities in the school: library, lounge, etc.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how quickly it would go by. Don't blink, it will be over before you know it.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Food & Culture

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course was not overly challenging. During the second half, we got to participate in a wine seminar and cooking-instructional course. I enjoyed working hands-on with food and wine. I think this is the type of course I would not have otherwise been able to take at home, so I was thankful to have the opportunity to take it. They also took us to several different markets, shops and restaurants around Rome--the excursions were one of my favorite parts of this course.
Credit Transfer Issues: Nope--It's pre-approved to UIUC students.
Course Name/Rating:

Layers of Rome

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English
Comments: AWESOME course! Every class was a tour of a different landmark/museum/building/monument around the city. What a great way to start my mornings abroad. Our professor, Eleonora, was the sweetest and super knowledgable.
Credit Transfer Issues: Nope--pre-approved for UIUC students