Great Roman Term! January 21, 2019

By (Occidental College) - abroad from 09/03/2018 to 12/13/2018 with

IES Abroad: Study Rome - Language & Area Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I've become interculturally competent in a way that I certainly was not before, I've learned a fair degree in a language I could barely say "hello" in, and I've gained an international outlook through relationships with the people I met in Rome.

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 admittedly less rigorous than those I was accustomed to at my US university, but were nevertheless enjoyable, interesting, and took advantage of the program’s location to incorporate excursions to relevant sites around Rome and Italy.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Staff was competent and approachable.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing was provided in the cost, as well as spacious, regularly cleaned, and well located.

* Food:

I received a food budget from my home university. The food I ate was extremely good in terms of quality, but of course others' experiences may vary depending on what exactly they chose to eat. The program itself does not provide food unless you live in a homestay.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program housed many of its students, including those of us in my apartment, with local Italian students. This was probably the best part of the program. In making friends with my Italian roommate, I was exposed to a host of cultural events, attitudes, and quirks that would be otherwise inaccessible. Additionally, it really helped my Italian skills. I went to a lot of cultural and social events where I was the only American, a great experience!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

One of my roommates had diabetes, but in the first weeks of the program much of his insulin was accidentally destroyed. The program had already provided us with a variety of resources to contact local, English speaking health authorities which were available around the clock, so we were able to find a new place to get insulin and the health crisis was averted. Also, I did not have to get any vaccines for the program.

* Safety:

The housing is all located in fairly safe areas of the city, but there are some areas of Rome that can be somewhat dangerous. I personally did not have any major safety incidents, but of course some prudence is always good.

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

My time with IES Abroad in Rome was undoubtedly a life changing experience! I had the opportunity to enrich myself with an engaging and relevant academic curriculum and also participate in numerous cultural experiences. These experiences include those orchestrated by the IES program as well as things I did independently with both the American and Italian friends I met through the program.

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)

My school gave me a stipend which accounted for all of my food expenses. Food in general is slightly cheaper, but it is certainly possible to run out of funds eating out every night.

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

Italian classes were provided at various levels of proficiency, and students were encouraged to speak to Italians in their own 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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
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? Study hard, speak a lot, and try to get to know Italians.

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?
  • Living with local students
  • Getting to know staff and professors
  • Onsite learning with various class trips around Rome and Italy
* What could be improved?
  • Classes could be more challenging
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Outside of tourist areas, card readers are much less common than in the US. I should've brought more in cash! Also, contrary to what some might say, crime as a whole is quite rare in Italy. Though vigilance is of course required, especially in areas where international travelers are targeted, most Italian streets are safer than American ones.

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!