A great experience living in Florence Past Review

By (Georgetown University) - abroad from 02/06/2017 to 06/30/2017 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Ferrara

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I greatly improved my language skills. I made some lifelong friends from around the world (and with my host family). It was definitely worthwhile. I miss it!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The courses were fairly rigorous.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Administration was not great. Not very organized. Able to solve some problems, but did not help with others. Did not provide help with connecting with community and finding extra-curricular activities. The program boasts it's full immersion aspect, but we did not feel that we were able to immerse ourselves fully into the society and the culture.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was very satisfied with my personal living arrangements. Others in the program had poor experiences and did not receive much help to change those circumstances.

* Food:

Food in country was great.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Not very integrated. I was integrated in the sense that I lived with a host family, and that was one of the best aspects of the program. I took courses in the university but I found it difficult to connect with students. Middlebury should have given us more opportunities and information about how to connect with other people our same age.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I personally never had any problems with safety, but several people in the program had wallets stolen throughout the semester. Also, Middlebury gave us the safety presentation after we had already been there for several days and after one student's wallet had already been stolen. This information should have been distributed before our arrival.

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

Not sure. Had a great experience in the city and in my courses and with my host family, but not necessarily anything as a direct result of the program.


* 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)

Florence is a fairly cheap city for food.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Select the option to eat with the host family. It will end up saving you money in the end.


* 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

We had a language pledge to speak only Italian.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Post-advanced
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? Live with a host family! And talk to as many people as possible. Be friendly. Just practice practice practice.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Host family
  • Taking courses at the university
* What could be improved?
  • Organization
  • Support from program to get involved with extra-curriculars and meet local students
  • More cultural experiences
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The program does not provide much more than the courses. We had 2 short trips that the program planned, but that was about it. Just know going into it that you will have to find, for yourself, things to get involved with and you will have to plan trips and outings to see things.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'