An amazing and challenging study abroad experience that I would reccomend. July 04, 2018

By (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign) - abroad from 01/12/2017 to 05/13/2017 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 to be more adapatable, patient, determined, and to figure things out for myself while staying calm. It was absolutely worthwhile.

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.

The academic program was an interesting, dyanmic, and intense mix of scholarly readings, in class lectures, and our of the classroom excursions.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I very much liked and enjoyed being with the large majority of Gustolab Staff.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We lived in one of Rome's nicest neighborhoods with more than adequate living facilities.

* Food:

So give the best summary of the food, I lived on a block with two grocery stores, one specialty market, a bakery, and a fresh food market that operated every morning, seven days a week.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

How well a student feels integrated into the local culture depends on how willing that student is to attend community events, join local organizations, and be alright with at times feeling uncomfortable.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

N/A- I never needed access to healthcare, but for the rare times that a student needed medical attention they promptly received it.

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe while in Rome. Of course no place anywhere in the world is perfect, but if a student uses caution and common sense they will most likely be totally fine.

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)

Rome is unfortunately a bit more expensive, but that is simply a reflection of living in the heart of a major metropolitan city. I was able to live comfortably without outrageous expense.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? i spent approximately 100-150 US dollars per week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try not to eat out as much, and keep a general list of your day to day expenses.


* 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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? 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? Speak as much as you possibly can. It is miles more fun that way.

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?
  • The food
  • The academics
  • The people
* What could be improved?
  • It's difficult to say what could be improved, when the majority of the differences were simply cultural. I think the program could benefit from slightly improved organization.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew to practice my Italian more, as language skills make all the difference.