10/10 Wish I could do it all over again!! March 12, 2017

By (Pennsylvania State University - University Park / Penn State) - abroad from 08/29/2016 to 12/09/2016 with

IES Abroad: Siena - IES Abroad Center

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Hands down worthwhile. I became fluent in the language and gained a passion for international cultures.

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 was able to take classes in both English and Italian on some interesting subjects like Italian political philosophy as well as the black death and its aftermath!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

If Sigrid is still there, she is the absolute best! But all of the IES staff is more than willing to help you with literally any situation, from academics to travel advice

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Paola my host mom was the sweetest woman possible, extremely attentive and caring.

* Food:

Siena has the best pasta imaginable. 10/10 would recommend trying the Pici!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I arrived shortly after the Palio so the Contrada parties were still in full swing and it was a great way to integrate myself into my individual community.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never once felt unsafe in Siena.

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

IES Abroad Siena: Study in Tuscany was such a well run program that made me absolutely fall in love with the city.


* 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)

Italy can be a little pricey but an average lunch at a sit down restaurant was only 7 euros and a dinner only about 12 depending on what you purchased.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I had a host mom so two meals a day were provided for me, but average was about 40 euros a week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you are living with a host family take advantage of their meals!!


* 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

There are not that many english speakers in Siena so I was able to practice a lot!

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
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? I had completed all of the language-speaking courses at Penn State
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? Ordering food is the best way to practice!

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?
  • My Host Mom
  • Our program director/instructures
  • The included excursions
* What could be improved?
  • Variation in class topics
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Just how easy it is to fall in love with Italy!

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!