An unforgettable fall in Siena! January 21, 2019

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

IES Abroad: Siena - IES Abroad Center

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely worthwhile! I have learned a lot about the host community and the local culture, but I also discovered new skills and acquired new tools. My IES program professors and staff helped me to navigate through the courses that helped me to grow a lot academically

Review Photos

IES Abroad: Siena - IES Abroad Center Photo IES Abroad: Siena - IES Abroad Center Photo IES Abroad: Siena - IES Abroad Center Photo IES Abroad: Siena - IES Abroad Center Photo IES Abroad: Siena - IES Abroad Center Photo

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.

Classes were great, the only issue is that since it is a small program options for certain majors (like Political Science) are limited. However, you can take classes at the local university with the supervision of the IES coordinator, which I considered a great option.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Awesome administration, they have an individual approach to every student. We were not just a mass of college students, rather they knew every student by name and school.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing is great, I just wish that the rooming assignment was done based on life style and habits rather than by program length.

* Food:

+5 stars!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt one more Sienese! Definitely a great place to live at.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was injured before the program started and I had the chance to have physiotherapy covered partially by the insurance provider.

* Safety:

The safest place you can be at. People know each other (like the families especially) and it is not an urban place necessarily so you can walk at night knowing you will be safe.

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

I actually thought of going back to Siena for another semester. Hopefully I can go back for a grad school course. It has all what I was looking for in a program and way more!

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)

I was able to live under the expected budget that I had, however when it came to trips I was not able to plan the exact amount I was going to spend. I recommend students plan a budget for traveling as soon as they get to the country and choose the places they want to visit rather than depending on the money that is "left"after traveling. I know it is the time of our lives and we want to experience the world but you do not want to get at the end of the year and ask your family to wire you extra money so that you can buy your groceries. Set a list of priorities when it comes to expenses!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 40 to 55 Euro total each week, not counting trips.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Get a side job on campus before you go abroad to save money just for train tickets and food if you plan to travel. It is nice to have like another wallet for traveling expenses. I also recommend using coupons and asking locals about the best options before spending money. Tourists and exchange students can be seen as a good target to sell the most expensive products, so work smarter than harder and ask your local coordinator or RA for advice.

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 learned way more Italian that I thought I was able to! Thanks to IES I reached my goals and achieved more than expected.

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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? A beginners course.
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Do not stay to hang out with your fellow American classmates only, try to make friends in places of the host community where you can get out of your comfort zone and be forced to speak the language. If you really want to learn you have to get used to making mistakes at the beginning to finally be fluent. If you are afraid of making mistakes, then you'll never learn. Do not worry, there are people who love meeting exchange students and have a cultural exchange by practicing the language. IES Siena had activities like Karaoke, movie nights and others to practice Italian, and I can say that this program can teach you more than what you can imagine.

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

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The size of it
  • the focus of the classes
  • field trips
* What could be improved?
  • housing arrangements (roommates)
  • N/A
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Not bringing a ton of things with me. You will end up buying some clothes or souvenirs to go back home and having the essential is necessary. Most airlines have the 23 kg policy, which does not allow us to bring a lot.

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 Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.