Vino, Pasta, Pizza, Nutella and Italian. Past Review

By (Bachelors Degree Social Work, University of Portland) - abroad from 01/23/2012 to 05/10/2012 with

IES Abroad: Siena - IES Abroad Center

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that I am capable of being 100% independent, that I can travel well, that I get stressed too easily and am actually better at learning a language than I thought. There were difficult periods that came up during my time abroad but overall it was completely worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

Obviously the food in Italy was amazing and I'm so glad I was able to cook my own dishes in my apartment.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I myself took initiative to become integrated in the Italian culture, but IES did not prepare us themselves for the integration. They had few and poor programs aimed at immersing us in Italy.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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)

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 100-200 euros per week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Budget budget budget. If you don't budget each week you can easily spent tons of money daily. The food and fashion while abroad is a huge temptation..


* 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

I used my Italian daily but most students hardly spoke any outside the classroom and we were not encouraged to do so.

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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Italian 103- third term beginner Italian.
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? Use it at much as possible, order things in restaurants and stores and when greeting strangers so that you can naturally improve through daily use. If you only speak the language within the classroom then you will never become comfortable using it in conversation.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The language intensity in my Italian class.
  • The town itself-it was small so I could easily immerse myself in the culture
  • The food and friends!
* What could be improved?
  • The support we receive in the program
  • The field trips/studies included.
  • Orientation.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That you won't necessarily become friends with everyone on your program and their always be conflict, stress and obstacles that occur while living far away from home with 30 strangers.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Italian Art and Patronage: Comparing Siena to Florence.

Course Department: AH
Instructor: Sylvia Giorgi
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Sylvia was by far my favorite professor at IES. She was engaging, knowledgable and well-organized and taught us everything we need to know about assessing a painting and it's time period: romanesque, middle aged, gothic, renaissance...
Credit Transfer Issues: No I did not.