Rewarding Abroad Experience Past Review

By (George Washington University) - abroad from 01/18/2016 to 05/06/2016 with

IES Abroad: Siena - IES Abroad Center

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to rely on myself more and to stay calm in stressful situations. I think I became a more knowledgable and understanding person. It was definitely worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

My Italian language class was incredible and tremendously improved my language skills. The other classes could have been improved because there wasn't much opportunity for class discussion.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Our apartment was in the middle of Siena right next to Piazza del Campo. It was an unbelievable location.

* Food:

You cannot beat true tuscan food. The locals pride themselves on preparing fresh, delicious food with the best ingredients.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was hard to not stick out as an American but people tended to be extremely friendly.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I went to the doctor twice during the program with a staff member from the program. I wouldn't have been able to go without her because the doctors didn't speak much English. However, the doctors were extremely friendly and didn't charge me for visits either time I went which is unheard of in the US.

* Safety:

Siena is an extremely safe city. I never felt unsafe.

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

I learned more than I could have imagined in Siena at IES. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to live in a city that I had never even heard of before. Siena is my favorite city in Italy now.


* 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 don't travel at all and are frugal with your money Siena isn't too bad price wise because food is pretty cheap. However, be prepared to spend alot on travel expenses if you want to leave Siena during breaks or long weekends.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? It depended on if I was traveling or not but probably less than $100 on groceries a week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try to cook meals during the week so you can save money for travel.


* 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? Third level college 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? Try to speak to people in shops and cafes as much as possible. It helps a lot and the locals are often happy that you are trying to learn their language.

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?
  • Location
  • Language Class
  • Food
* What could be improved?
  • Opportunities to meet students at University of Siena
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I didn't realize just how small the program would be. It felt a little too small at times but I'm glad that it was small so that we could get individualized attention in class.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!