La citta' eterna August 15, 2016

By (George Washington University) - abroad from 02/01/2016 to 05/20/2016 with

IES Abroad: Study Rome - Language & Area Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The best part of a semester abroad is the opportunity to truly live in another country. During my semester in Rome, I truly felt like I was immersed in the culture and the country. One unique component of this was the chance to live with an Italian roommate. My roommate Lorenzo helped us with everything from the language to getting around the city while avoiding the crowds if possible. I soon realized that making espresso in our little kitchen and getting fresh vegetables at the market was much more of a Roman experience that just being able to walk by the Colosseum or the Vatican everyday (though that was nice too). IES not only encouraged us to reach out to the locals, but gave us the chance to live among them and like them. Getting this taste of the real Italian lifestyle beyond the big monuments and movie stereotypes was absolutely worthwhile. I hope to visit many more countries, but getting a chance to truly live in another country is an experience unlike any I have ever had and probably will ever have again.

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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Remember that 4 months is a long time. Don't spend all your money in your first week, especially if you plan on travelling outside your home city.

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? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
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? Make friends with the locals (if there is an option to live with a native in any form, take it). Try to do everything you possibly can, from ordering at a restaurant to getting around the grocery store, exclusively in the native language. Immersion only works if you don't default to English when its easier. The locals will understand and often help you with the language if you put the effort in.

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?
  • Unique travel experiences
  • Excellent language immersion
* What could be improved?
  • More academic rigor
  • More options for classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that I really understood how quickly it would go by. I expected to be able to see all of Rome and travel throughout Italy and the rest of Europe, but due to time and money restrictions, I had to cut a few places out of the my plans.

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!