Italy: The Home of Madonna con Bambino, As Well As My Heart August 30, 2022

By (History, Spanish, Art, Berea College) - abroad from 05/26/2022 to 06/23/2022 with

KIIS: Italy - Experience Italy, Summer Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I think I've come to a really neat understanding of just how vast history is. We viewed art, architecture, and ruins that date back millennia. It's incredible to see how young you are in comparison to some of that stuff. It was really eye-opening and humbling. I also found it very nice to escape from the US for awhile... I loved the customs and culture of Italy, and I think it's always a good thing to learn about other people and their ways of life. Everybody should take advantage of opportunities like that :)

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.

Very thorough work and lots of materials to cover, art projects were definitely rigorous, but very enjoyable overall.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Liddells were very well-informed, prepared, and excited to be with us. I really enjoyed learning from them, but my opinion was definitely tarnished as a result of COVID handling. I know they weren't entirely prepared for the big outbreak, but I wish they would've been more compassionate towards us instead of making us feel like burdens. It was really disheartening. Dr. Cavender was also very informative but sometimes seemed to be on the trip more for pleasure than for educating excited students. I didn't have class with her, but I did observe her a lot and noticed that. Kevin Gardner was fantastic, so gracious and helpful, I don't think I would've been as happy with the trip if he hadn't been with us.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Each and every hotel and the villa were outstanding. Excellent service, kind staff, very welcoming. A huge shoutout to our Siena and Rome accommodations where they graciously housed quarantined students--they really went above and beyond what would've been comfortable, so I really appreciate their willingness to assist us.

* Food:

Always a 10/10 in terms of food, only hiccup was with quarantine where they said we had to order takeout or have our friends bring us food... I wish the instructors would've been more willing to do a big grocery trip to bring us healthy food instead of relying on students to do it for us in between their excursions.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Very much integrated, I liked how much free time we had because it allowed us to go to places that intrigued us and reminded us of home a bit, so it felt like being integrated with a new community

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

In terms of our hotels and their assistance with COVID, 10/10, but I have to bring the average down due to the aforementioned reasons with the instructors and our health. Also, I want to make note that Erik did not inform the Rome hotel beforehand that 17 COVID + students were going to be rooming with them, he waited until we were standing outside on the street, very weak from lack of exercise and fresh air. I'm so grateful the hotel accepted us at the last minute because I don't know what would've happened otherwise. We could've been denied rooms until we were negative, and then what would we have done?

* Safety:

I felt perfectly safe everywhere we went, but I would definitely advise keeping your things inside a bag against your body at all times. I kept my phone in the tote anytime I wasn't using it, and I kept my bag at my feet when dining. Just be aware of your surroundings and travel with a buddy :)

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

I can't express with words just how amazing Italy was. I really don't think the English vocabulary can handle my intense emotions. I loved every lesson, every excursion, every assignment, everything.


* 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 think I was averaging around $120 per week, and I felt like that was reasonable. I was eating the free breakfast at the hotel each morning (amazing stuff), going to the grocery store for an inexpensive lunch, then going out for dinner usually. My little group kept things rather inexpensive, so we'd usually choose dinner options that in total would cost maybe $15 total. I found it very affordable, and gelato each day was a 100% worthwhile expense. Souvenirs are harder to gauge since everyone's taste is different, but I think I was sitting pretty well :)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I would say I averaged $120 to $150 per week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Go to the grocery store for inexpensive lunch options! It can be much healthier, more cost-effective, and just as tasty!


* 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

Our instructors always tried teaching us words and phrases and they spoke the language around us quite a bit.

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? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 103
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? Duolingo is definitely a good tool, and perhaps an English to dictionary

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Excursions!
  • The freedom to wander
  • The variety of locations
* What could be improved?
  • Better preparedness for COVID
  • training for instructors on how to be more compassionate towards recovering students
  • ^^that's about it
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It's good to get lost sometimes; let your heart guide you (but keep your phone close just in case)

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!