Surprisingly Clueless February 08, 2016

By (Vocal Performance, Saint Olaf College) - abroad from 09/01/2015 to 12/18/2015 with

IES Abroad: Milan - Study Abroad With IES Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I actually learned a lot about myself. Mainly, I learned that is a waste of time to judge people for being exactly who they are. Example: Why get mad at our Italian teachers for they more relaxed syllabus when that's how they've always done it and it works? Enjoy the new pace and learn as much as you can. Why get frustrated at a new abroad friend for always being late to aperitif if they're always late? Just expect they'll be late a plan accordingly.

Review Photos

IES Abroad: Milan - Study Abroad With IES Abroad Photo IES Abroad: Milan - Study Abroad With IES Abroad Photo IES Abroad: Milan - Study Abroad With IES Abroad Photo IES Abroad: Milan - Study Abroad With IES Abroad Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I loved my professors because they really took the time to help their students adjust to learning in a new culture.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

On-site administration was helpful and thorough when tough situations arose.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I absolutely loved my homestay family. I had my own, personal living space which was comfortable and I enjoyed sharing meals with my family every night.

* Food:

If you're thinking about doing this program, do a homestay, even if it's just for the incredible food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Health issues were addressed fairly well in the program. The only problem I had with their healthcare was that Italian pharmacies do not carry products like a Benadryl or vitamins, so I would really suggest bringing those from home.

* Safety:

My homestay was in a part of town that no one really should go out in late at night. But other than that, I felt safe at school, in my home, and when I was out with friends.

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

I enjoyed this program because it allowed me to study abroad in a foreign country while also giving me time on the weekends to travel.


* 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)

If you would like to travel at all on the weekends, it would not be easy to live on a student budget. I lived on a budget of €150 per week and this allowed me to buy a coffee every morning, occasionally have a snack during the day, and then spend most of my money traveling on the weekends.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? €150 per week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I was best able to budget my money by taking out all of my euros at the beginning of the trip and then dividing them by week. So at the beginning of each week, I would grab my €150 and know that that's what I had for the rest of the week. (I would not recommend this if you live in a place where your money cannot be safe and secure)


* 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
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I had never taken an Italian class before
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? If you are living with a homestay family, I would certainly suggest asking them to only speaking Italian to you. As crazy as this may sound, this will ensure that you really have to work on your Italian when you're outside of school.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* 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?
  • Friends
  • Food
  • History
* What could be improved?
  • Higher security measures to prevent theft between students in the program
  • More group travel opportunities
  • More engaging field trips
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how to leave certain school relationships behind so I could have enjoyed my program more.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'