Cultural Experiences February 14, 2017

By (Tulane University) - abroad from 08/22/2016 to 12/16/2016 with

IES Abroad: Study Rome - Language & Area Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I was nervous, like many other students, before I went abroad. When selecting a college, a big thing to me was choosing a university where many students studied abroad. I was so enthusiastic about all of it until about a week before I left. I started to panic about what I would miss at school, if I had made a mistake going abroad, what if I had no friends abroad, what if I actually hadn't been learning Italian, what if I actually hated pasta? I won't say that all of my fears immediately vanished, but over the course of the semester, I had an absurdly overwhelming positive experience that I wouldn't trade for any frat party, any experience in America, any semester. I saw things I never knew existed, things that everyone knows exist; I met people who were kind, people who were mean, people who taught me things about myself, people who taught me things about the world, people I forgot in a second, people I will never forget. The only way to get this feeling and to get these experiences is to take the plunge yourself. Trust yourself, trust your desires, get away from the things you know and out of your comfort zone. You'll thank me and yourself later.

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.

Great, enthusiastic, brilliant professors from local universities.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

Italy is my wildest food dreams come true.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Italians are some of the kindest, most welcoming/accepting people out there.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Had good access to healthcare when I became ill with bronchitis, however, was under a lot of pressure because we only get 2 absences from class and the process to be excused was very stressful.

* Safety:

Never once felt in danger.

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)

Food is very reasonably priced, student discounts!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Get an international student card!

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? Intermediate
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? Italian 3000
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? Live in an apartment and only speak Italian; don't reply in English if spoken to in English by Italians who recognize your accent; ask them to practice

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • organized activities
  • interaction with Italians
  • housing location
* What could be improved?
  • absence policy
  • apartment vetting
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Pack less! Don't be scared to speak Italian! Take advantage of every opportunity!

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'