Best decision I have ever made Past Review

By (Marywood University) - abroad from 01/06/2016 to 04/30/2016 with

International Studies Institute / ISI Florence

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Studying abroad at ISI Florence was one of the most amazing and fulfilling experiences of my life. Living in Italy for four months was more than just learning in a foreign country. It gave me so much knowledge and confidence that I now feel the sky is the limit. When I think back to when I was considering studying abroad in Florence, I can almost laugh at myself wondering if it would be worth it or if I could handle being away in a foreign country for so long. As soon as I stepped foot in Florence, I knew my decision was the best I had ever made. It was my home, and I was no longer afraid. It’s amazing to think that it was real and I was given the opportunities I had because I realize that very few people have the opportunity to study abroad. I am eternally grateful for the time I spent studying abroad. I learned to appreciate where I was, but more importantly where I came from. Studying abroad teaches you that there is not always one way of doing something, but there are many ways. This is one of the things that I realized while being immersed in a culture that was different from my own. It made me appreciate things about other cultures as well as my own. I truly appreciated the food, and more relaxed way of life that comes with Italian culture. Learning the language was another thing that gave me more passion and excitement during my time there. I have always enjoyed learning new languages, but it’s so much more fulfilling when it’s all around you every time you step out of your apartment. I also learned that stepping outside of your comfort zone can be one of the scariest, but most rewarding things you can do for yourself. At times I got lost, or looked like a complete tourist. I had to figure out many things I had never done before like navigating cities I had never been in. In fact, I not only had to opportunity to visit cities within Italy, but I was also able to travel to five other countries including Spain, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. All of these places were exciting and unique, and each of them gave me a taste of another culture. Some of these opportunities were encouraged and directed by my school which was extremely helpful and comforting. Since I am in interior architecture major, Florence was overflowing with opportunities to learn that were relevant to my major. Every day I was surrounded by buildings that I may have only ever came across in a textbook or on the internet. This truly enriched my learning experience because it is one thing to learn by hearing or reading, but to experience something first hand is like nothing else in the world. The relationships I made in Florence will stay with me forever, and knowing that I have made these connections across the globe I realize that it will only benefit my future career in architecture. I have nothing but good things to say about all the people who helped me during my time abroad, whether it was school related or not. My professors, staff, and administrators were always there to help with any questions I might have had. I also felt they were very approachable and really made me feel welcome. I also had the opportunity to meet amazing professors, and was part of an architecture workshop with Dutch students from TU Delft and Italian students from the University of Florence. This experience was challenging, and also fulfilling. It gave me another perspective of how architecture schools from two other countries tackle a project, and was an amazing teamwork and communication exercise. These are very important skills to have as an architect or any professional. If I could take everything I learned while studying abroad and sum it up into one fraise, it would be: believe you can achieve. Anything is possible, even living in a foreign country for four months. If I imagine all the things I learned simply from stepping out of my comfort zone literally and figuratively, then I can only imagine what other possibilities await me in the future. There is always more and more to learn and discover, and this experience taught me to never stop learning and improving myself.

Review Photos

International Studies Institute / ISI Florence Photo International Studies Institute / ISI Florence Photo International Studies Institute / ISI Florence Photo International Studies Institute / ISI Florence Photo International Studies Institute / ISI Florence Photo

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.

* 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

I would absolutely study abroad again with ISI Florence. Florence is a beautiful incredible city, and ISI was always extremely kind and helpful. They made the process smooth enjoyable for students.


* 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)


* 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

The Florence Experience II with Serena was awesome and challenging! I became passionate about Italian just by taking the course. I also believe the outside trips and speaking with Italians was extremely helpful and a fulfilling educational experience!

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
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? Use it as much as you can especially when ordering food and just generally with other people. even try to encourage your friends to try to practice it with you. It will enhance your experience. Even try to practice with a local! Messing up is the only way to learn.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

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

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?
  • field trips
  • immersion with locals
  • opportunities to be involved more
* What could be improved?
  • housing arrangements
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The only thing I wish I knew was the living arrangements before going. This may be something that is out of their control, but it would have helped ease the stress of settling in.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.