My Incredible, Unforgettable, & Priceless Italian Adventure January 11, 2015

By (Marketing., Bentley University) - abroad from 09/01/2014 to 12/18/2014 with

IES Abroad: Milan - Study Abroad With IES Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned more in my four months abroad about myself, from my classes, and from my travels than I have in my whole life prior. I made friends that will last a lifetime in this program and I'm so grateful to have had this experience. I wouldn't trade those four months for anything and if I could I would do it all again in a second!

Review Photos

IES Abroad: Milan - IES Abroad in Milan Photo IES Abroad: Milan - IES Abroad in Milan Photo IES Abroad: Milan - IES Abroad in Milan Photo IES Abroad: Milan - IES Abroad in Milan Photo IES Abroad: Milan - IES Abroad in Milan Photo

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 took some of the most intriguing and real world knowledge classes I've ever taken while I was abroad. Specifically my Social Innovation & Global Sustainability class had such an impact on me that I changed my minor to Earth, Environment, & Global Sustainability.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Since I only took classes at the IES Abroad Center I feel that the registration process could have been completed prior to my arrival in Italy. However, IES does offer amazing opportunities for students to take classes at local universities such as Cattolica, University of Milan, and Bocconi, and registration for these universities almost needed to be completely done once we arrived in Italy.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My apartment was fantastic! I lived with four awesome roommates, three college girls participating in the program with me and our CA (community assistant) who was wonderful. She was about 25 and a native to Milan. She helped us with everything from getting Italian phones to just adjusting to the culture in general. We were centrally located in a great part of Milan, the Brera. The apartment was spacious, clean, and very safe.

* Food:

The food in Milan was amazing. Everyone knows that Italy is famous for their food and it certainly lived up to my expectations.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Sometimes it was hard not being anywhere close to fluent in Italian when ordering lunch for example. It helped to have our Italian Community Assistant when integrating ourselves into the culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never needed to access the healthcare facilities when I was abroad. But we all had access to one of the local university's medical facilities.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Milan once I knew my way around the city well. My advice is always take a cab at night and don't walk alone in the middle of the night back to your apartment or home stay. Also, never leave a purse on the edge of a chair or your pockets unguarded, people did get pick pocketed!

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

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)

I didn't plan out an exact weekly budget, but some of my friends did and it was definitely helpful. Milan is an expensive city but cooking at home can definitely help reduce monetary strains on necessary things like food.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $125
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I would probably make a budget on Excel if I did it again! It's easy to lose track of how much money you're spending especially with the conversion aspects.

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

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? Intermediate 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? It's great to practice the language when you're ordering food, or giving directions to someone.

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?
  • My internship.
  • The classes I took with IES Abroad.
  • My living arrangements.
* What could be improved?
  • The course registration process.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I was so nervous about not planning out all of my weekend trips ahead of time because I didn't have my schedule of classes yet so I couldn't really plan everything out. I wish I knew not to worry about that and that planning trips can happen easily and affordably a day before you go!

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.