Le mie avventure Italiane (My Italian Adventures) Past Review

By (Speech-Language Pathology, Ithaca College) - 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 a lot not only about myself, but about other cultures. It was definitely worthwhile and I am extremely happy that I was able to study abroad. I became more independent and a bit more secure with who I am. I wasn't insecure before I went to Italy, but after this past semester, I know who I am. I was able to learn a lot about different cultures and be able to look at things from different perspectives. It was just an amazing experience that I will remember and hold onto forever.

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 feel like I learned a lot in a couple of my classes, but in others I didn't get as much out of it as I had hoped. I also felt like the only class that really challenged me was my Italian class, so as far as academic rigor/intensity, I didn't really feel like it was super intense, which was nice while I was abroad.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I felt like more could have been done once I arrived in Siena. I felt like I was left on my own the first couple of days. They could have maybe told us where a grocery store was or their favorite places to go. Once we all got settled in and were more comfortable there, the administration was better. They helped me out with the volunteering I did and any other questions I had.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

While I did have an Italian roommate, I didn't see her very much. I didn't get a chance to interact with her and get to know more about the Italian culture. However, some of the locals were very nice and were very patient with me while I tried to speak Italian.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I don't think I really felt unsafe that much in Siena. We usually tried to make sure that we didn't walk home alone that often, which is something I would advise future students to do. Just be aware of your surroundings and be smart.

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? around $80-100


* 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 just taken a beginner Italian course the semester before I left
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? Don't be afraid to speak the language. Don't take the easy route and speak English with someone just because they can. Challenge yourself and work on your language skills each day. Even with your professors and administrators - they are more than happy to help you out and are always excited to speak their native language. They know you're learning the language, so they are extremely patient with you.

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
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 city itself
  • My Italian professor
  • The culture
* What could be improved?
  • Some of the professors/classes
  • Better organization for arrival
  • More organization with cultural trips
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had gotten a little bit more involved in the culture and the community. I also wish that I had taken the opportunity to really practice my Italian and improve even more than I did.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Black Death and its Aftermath

Course Department: History
Instructor: Giovanni Mazinni
Instruction Language: English
Comments: It was completely different than what I was expecting. I thought I was going to learn about the Black Death and the history of it, but there was really only one class period where we talked about the Black Death. I was confused every class with what I was learning and why it was being taught. Our teacher also spoke very slow, so it was extremely hard to pay attention and understand what he was trying to get across.
Credit Transfer Issues: I don't think I had any problems transferring credits.