Comfortable Cultural Immersion January 29, 2018

By (Haverford College) - abroad from 08/28/2017 to 12/08/2017 with

IES Abroad: Siena - IES Abroad Center

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was absolutely worthwhile. The cultural immersion aspect was not as difficult as I thought it would be. I did not experience culture shock in a major way

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.

The classes were not rigorous, but mostly they were very interesting and fun

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Absolutely wonderful

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Homestay is the better option in my opinion!

* Food:

It's Italy. You eat lot's of carbs but it's the best food you have ever tasted

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

This is dependent on how much you want to immerse yourself. If you do, there are many opportunities.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Siena is incredibly safe

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

I loved the people I was with. I think I could have been happy at any program, however I am incredibly grateful for the people I met while in Siena

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)

It is very expensive to do anything

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 200 (depending on travel)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Bring as many clothes as you can. Try not to buy too many things there

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
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? College level French, surprisingly helpful for an Italian program
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? You have to speak and screw up to be comfortable with the language. Don't be afraid to fail!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
* 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?
  • Host Family
  • Other students
  • IES faculty
* What could be improved?
  • More host families with children
  • the expense
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? To go in with a mindset that I have to save money

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.