Amazing Summer Studying Abroad in Siena October 29, 2017

By (University of Washington) - abroad from 06/08/2017 to 07/27/2017 with

IES Abroad: Siena - IES Abroad Center

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I studied abroad the Summer of 2017. IES Siena was amazing - the program coordinators were wonderful, available often and always very helpful. I lived in an apartment with one US roommate and one IES Resident Assistant (we were the only apartment with a live-in RA). The RA was amazing, gave great advice - from the best restaurants in the city to fun day trips away from Siena - and is one of many great friends I made during my time in Siena. The program itself is the perfect combination between classes/schoolwork and culture. You’re in class for a couple hours each day, but have no class on Fridays. As such, you’re given time to explore Siena and visit different cities in Italy. The program really seemed to understand that while you were obviously in Italy to take classes, part of being there was also to learn a new language and culture, so they gave you plenty of time outside of class to do so. The profs were also wonderful. They were all italians who were fluent in english, and genuinely enjoyed teaching us not only about classwork, but also about their culture. The profs were a great resource for language/culture questions, and even helped us to find odd things within the city - such as bug bite ointment for mosquito bites, and vanilla and brown sugar to bake cookies. Something to keep in mind is that the number of students in the actual program was fairly small - there were only about 12 of us during summer term. Regarding the city of Siena, the city is relatively small compared to Rome or Florence, but the plus side is that it is incredibly safe and the people are some of the most friendly and open I have met during my travels. Because it’s a smaller city, fewer people speak english than in larger Italian cities, which was actually something I came to love as it gave me a chance to practice my Italian. It was a bit intimidating at first (I spoke no Italian before coming to Siena) but I was amazed by how quickly I was able to pick up and learn basic words/phrases to get around on a daily basis. Siena also has a very unique history and culture, which is amazing to learn about and get to be a part of. As a whole, I can’t say enough good things about IES Siena, and I highly recommend it to anyone thinking of studying abroad there!

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* 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

Finances

* 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)

Language

* 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? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
How many hours per day did you use the 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?
  • Students, locals, city, program coordinators
* What could be improved?
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had more time in Siena!