Difficult but worth it. Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 02/14/2017 to 07/02/2017 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Ferrara

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My Italian skills improved a lot! I also became much more independent.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

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?

My one big criticism was that the wi-fi in my Middlebury-reccomended apartment rarely worked. This made studying in my apartment extremely difficult, and the lack of ready wi-fi access was frustrating and, at times, extremely stressful. My Italian skills were not strong enough for me to successfully convey the gravity of the situation to my landlord, and I was not able to lobby him for improved wi-fi. I wish Middlebury had been more instrumental in helping me advocate for myself. I brought the wi-fi problem to the attention of Middlebury's housing coordinator in Italy, and although she was sympathetic, she told me to talk with my landlord on my own. No other help, support, or solutions were offered.

* Food:

Middlebury had no involvement in my food budget; I shopped and cooked for myself.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was very, very lucky to have wonderful Italian roommates who helped me adjust to life in Ferrara! Had it not been for my roommates, I would have felt very isolated and lost. Middlebury had very little involvement in my integration into the local culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Be careful biking in Ferrara! Rules of the road are not clear (and very seldom followed).

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

Middlebury's Language Pledge is difficult, but it really helped me improve my Italian. Had I not held myself to the pledge of speaking only in Italian, I would not have improved my language skills as much as I did.


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 100 euros/week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try as much as possible to cut down on your food expenses! Although it's fun to eat out, I had to resist temptation and limit my restaurant visits to save money.


* 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

Middlebury's Language Pledge is strict—no English is to be spoken at all for the duration of the program.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
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? Italian 200-level course
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Force yourself to speak it (even if you're self-conscious) at every possible opportunity.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* 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?
  • Language Pledge
  • Location
  • Local professors
* What could be improved?
  • Organization of program
  • Middlebury in-country support
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Middlebury is rather hands-off; after the initial orientation phase, you will have to be very independent.

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!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Storia dell'arte moderna

Course Department: Studi Umanistici
Instructor: Francesca Cappelletti
Instruction Language: Italian
Comments: The course material was dense and often challenging, but Dott.ssa Cappelletti was an interesting, engaging, and passionate lecturer. She was also very approachable and was very willing to take time to answer student questions. Required extra-curricular lectures didn't always seem pertinent to the course material, but for the most part, they were interesting. Students were assessed by a single, cumulative oral exam at the end of the semester that was conducted in Italian.
Credit Transfer Issues: No credit transfer issues.
Course Name/Rating:

Storia della musica rinascimentale

Course Department: Studi Umanistici
Instructor: Paolo Fabbri
Instruction Language: Italian
Comments: The subject matter was dense and could get a bit technical, but the professor was a good lecturer. Furthermore, he was extremely knowledgable and passionate about his subject, which made even the drier course material interesting. Students were assessed by a single, cumulative oral exam at the end of the semester (conducted in Italian).
Credit Transfer Issues: No credit transfer issues.
Course Name/Rating:

Neorealismo italiano

Course Department: Middlebury Schools in Italy (Middlebury-sponsored course)
Instructor: Teresa Quarta
Instruction Language: Italian
Comments: This course was relatively challenging, but equally interesting and informative. Prof.ssa Quarta was an engaging, knowledgeable, and approchable instructor. The class was taught in a more "American" style compared to other courses I took in Ferrara—instead of taking a single, oral exam at the end of the semester, students handed in weekly essays; completed weekly, graded grammar worksheets; took a mid-term exam; and, at the end of the semester, completed a in-depth research project that included a paper and accompanying presentation.
Credit Transfer Issues: No credit transfer issues.