I didn't want to come back. Past Review

By (History, religion, Hope College) for

IES Abroad: Study Rome - Language & Area Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes yes yes. I was able to move past the "tourist" phase by spending so much time in one city. I felt like I really got to invest myself in a people group. I went as a history/religion double major and came back even more confident that I had chosen the right path. It was just a wonderful experience overall.

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.

Honestly, I'm not sure how I got the grades that I did in some of the classes. I got a B in a class that I did well in, but he seemed to grade on how much he liked each student, which wasn't right. The workload was small. I had to memorize a lot of dates for Ancient Rome--something that is not done in college academics, so in that way, I felt that I wasn't learning much. My Monotheisms professor, Chris Alteiri, was not an adequate professor. He simply liked to hear himself talk and it was incredibly hard to follow his thought process/lectures.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Most of the staff was very helpful and supportive. They knew our names as we came, which made me feel welcome and like I wasn't going to slip through the cracks. If I needed anything I knew that if IES couldn't provide the help directly, they would find someone who could help me. I loved having Friday off and the location was great.The academics weren't that phenomenal, but I wasn't really going to spend a lot of time studying anyways. The size could have been a bit smaller, but it wasn't unreasonable at all. A lot of us felt that it would have been nice if the field trip was closer to the beginning of the semester because we all met new people, but we didn't have a chance to get to know them after the field trip because there wasn't much time left.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was housed in Trastevere--I loved the street I was on and the neighborhood I was in. It wasn't the tourist area, but I felt like I was in the heart of the Roman Rome. The apartment itself was kind of a disappointment. It was drastically below many others in comfort and hospitality. We had a couch, but it was cheap, stained, and broken. We lacked many kitchen utensils and all of our pots were broken. I understand that each apartment is different, but there should be some level of standard quality that needs to be met.

* Food:

Eat at I Suppli on Via San Francesco a Ripa. It is cheap, always full of Romans, and So delicious.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I took a cooking class which was fun, but highly unorganized. I also went on the Pompeii/Amalfi IES trip, which was phenomenal.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Italy. I heard a lot of cautionary/horror tales of people being pickpocketed, but I had no problems with it. I would occasionally walk places by myself at night and even then I didn't feel too threatened. Just be aware of your surroundings. I got a nasty sinus infection--IES sent me to a health care place that spoke English. The doctor was so kind and personable. I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was. I had to get a flu vaccine before I left and maybe a hepatitis (I can't remember the secnd one).

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


* 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? There are a lot of expenses right away (permit to stay, monthly bus pass, etc.). I wish someone had told me you can get a student pass, but you have to ask for it. Also, remember the conversion rates!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Italian 101
Language acquisition improvement?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

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  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

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  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Remember to be conscious of the exchange rate. Travel within Italy--all arts of Italy are beautiful and different in their own way, you don't have to leave the country to feel like you are traveling. Don't go with a group of friends, even though it's terrifying to go alone.