Unforgettable opportunity to experience Italian life January 16, 2019

By (University of Illinois - Chicago) - abroad from 09/03/2018 to 12/03/2018 with

IES Abroad: Siena - IES Abroad Center

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I became more aware of international issues and politics while learning business tactics for the food and wine industry. I also became more confident in myself, and my ability to be independent in new situations.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

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?

I ended up with a Sinus infection while abroad, and one of the RAs went with me to the doctor's office. Other than a long wait, I had no issues, and the doctor prescribed me antibiotics that got rid of the infection quickly. Also, because of the wait and quick diagnosis, he was kind enough to waive any fee. So overall, a great experience.

* Safety:

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

I loved learning about international business and economics while focusing on a subject I love life food. The people I met were incredible, and my time in Siena was beyond amazing.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent about $20-30 on groceries weekly, but would splurge on nice meals when I wanted to. A meal out in a restaurant would cost anywhere from $10-20, depending on what you ordered.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook for yourself! It's so much cheaper than buying food constantly. Also, shop the markets, you can get so many fresh veggies and other products for a lot less than the grocery stores.

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

I choose not to take a language class because it was optional after the first week of survival classes, so I was not encouraged to speak it constantly. But I did on my own, and practiced at stores, restaurants, and markets

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? None for 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? Speak it to people! Even if cashiers or waiters respond back in English, keep pushing to speak Italian with them, and ask for correction in pronunciation and grammar.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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 classes
  • The people
  • The food
* What could be improved?
  • Cooking classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't overpack. I knew this, but I still feel like I was unprepared for packing back up when it was time to leave.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.