Eye-opening, not what I expected, but better! Past Review

By (Marywood University) - abroad from 01/08/2015 to 05/02/2015 with

International Studies Institute / ISI Florence

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned more about myself and what I want to do in the future. Very worthwhile to be able to see more of the world!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Overall the education was great. They pushed us, however they knew we were here to experience the country as well.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was very helpful in some regards. Academics wise, very helpful, approachable, and considerate. However in the beginning of my stay the housing staff was in my opinion rude and didn't take our concerns seriously. These concerns were about no heat, mold and a gas-like smell.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

This one is a tough one. I loved where I was able to live while I studied abroad in Florence. However, there were multiple problems with the apartment (including water leaks, mold, a gas-like smell and broken heater). When we told administration about these problems they brushed them off as if they were not serious. Being in a new country I was uncomfortable in my living conditions and knowing that these problems were being brushed off when they could have been serious problems was disturbing. I was offended and uncomfortable living in a potentially dangerous apartment. We did not have the number of our landlord so we had to go through the school. Which is fine and I think a good way to go about it. But when we get told to not disrupt the staff on the weekends for problems in our house then there is no one to turn to. I felt isolated and scared at times that no one was there to help. Once again, I loved where I was able to live, however when there were problems with the house (which can be expected) I was not met with understanding, I was met with the sense that my concerns were a burden.

* Food:

Absolutely loved the food. Had to buy and prepare it myself, loved it!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Towards the end of my stay I felt more integrated. Not knowing the language so well was the barrier. But I felt comfortable in the city.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not need/use healthcare while I was in Italy. However it was nice to know I had it if I needed to use it

* Safety:

Being a woman, I took precaution as I would here in the states as well. I felt safe in Florence. Just always be alert and when possible walk with your friends. I would avoid walking alone if you are a woman.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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 on the budget I set for myself, which included traveling on the weekends, this is what really drove up the price per week.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 150E
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You DONT have to travel every weekend. Some people will, but dont feel the need to. Learn about the city you are living in and you can find fun cheap things to do in that city. Day trips are a great way to save some money and still see many places. Staying overnight with travel companies is where the prices wen way up. And in regards to food....buy what you will eat, try to avoid foods you can get in the states, eat as clean as possible.


* 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

Field trips and activities in class encouraged us to use the language often!

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? In Italian: none. In spanish: III
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? Speak the language in your house, get in the habit of using it as much as possible. Watch Italian tv!! Go out to restaurants and practice ordering in Italian

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

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

  • 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?
  • Being able to travel easily
  • the food!
  • all the new experiences!
* What could be improved?
  • Paying for books that were not used in class
  • communication between landlord and tenent
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How much my site visit fees for each class were!! Those should be present next to each class when we have to choose. I knew I was going to have to pay, but I would have like to know the specifics sooner and not choose the most expensive classes as I was shocked with the bill.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: Architecture
Instructor: Franco Pisani, and Neil
Instruction Language: Italian, Spoke English
Comments: Great teachers and knew so much about the material. Went on great field trips. Only sometimes was studio time slow, meaning we could have worked from home.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Art of Florence

Course Department: Fine Arts
Instructor: Francesca Marini
Instruction Language: Italian, spoke English
Comments: We took many field trips, one every week. However she would try to lecture on the side walk or in a crowded piazza. It was a very difficult place to learn and hear what she was saying. The material we learned in class was great and the structure of the lessons and tests is comprehensive and works well. Trying the listen to the teacher in a busy street and take notes while standing up was the most difficult part.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

The Art of Boun Fresco

Course Department: Fine Arts
Instructor: Tiziano
Instruction Language: Italian
Comments: Great class, loved learning the technique and working with the materials. It was hard to understand the professor at times but he learned English and we learned more Italian. He expected us to remember details about certain painting techniques and learning about them all in 4 months was confusing, he would get mad if you said the wrong answer and this made students afraid to answer the questions. (granted some of the students did not invest alot of time in his class, as they thought it was just a painting class)
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Italian 101

Course Department: Language
Instructor: Carlo Lorini
Instruction Language: Italian
Comments: He was great at teaching us this new language and always made sure to ask if we had questions. He was always able to meet with us during office hours and offer extra help. Great teacher!
Credit Transfer Issues: No problems!