It was challenging. January 22, 2019

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 09/10/2018 to 12/19/2018 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Ferrara

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was worthwhile only because I learned so much about myself and how to deal with sadness/homesickness/isolation/anxiety. I've never felt those feelings in such depth until this experience and now I think I have a better way to live my life going forward by only choosing things that will make me happy.

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 academics in Ferrara were nothing compared to what I get at middlebury. The university class that I took was completely lecture based and very boring. There was no opportunity for the students to engage with the material in an interesting way. The Middlebury sponsored class was wonderful because Teresa Quarta is a lovely woman. I would highly recommend that Middlebury continues to use her to teach the class.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Middlebury study abroad agents in Vermont are wonderful and were so helpful, especially Alessandra Capossela. I found that the administration in the host country was quite crappy, specifically the director. In Ferrara we were quite separated from the sede, but they kept us just engaged enough that we didn't really have a whole lot of freedom, specifically during orientation, but not engaged enough that we were provided with fun activities and ways to engage with ferrara.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My apartment cost much more than our guardian angel's and she was living in the city center. Additionally, I had two roommates who were not at all interested in me and treated me like a child. I would highly recommend people in the future to find a living situation when they get there or somehow find a host family.

* Food:

Ferrara has great food and I enjoyed cooking for myself. I do have dietary issues here in the US (gluten and dairy free) but there I was mostly able to eat gluten. It would have been very challenging with these constraints.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I had some very nice interactions with local people but I did not make any friends or have any long term relationships with italians besides in my internship. There are no clubs or communal activities at the university or in the town which made it impossible to meet people.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any experience with health care. I did find my acid reflux medicine in the pharmacy but it caused me a bit of stress.

* Safety:

I generally felt quite safe there, even walking at night but I tried to do it as little as possible. The biking is insane and seems like accidents could be common but I didn't have any issues.

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

I would not choose italy because I think that it wasn't for me. I love outdoor activities and being active with friends and there was very little of that in Ferrara especially. i also would probably pick a program with a little more structure since that is how i thrive.


* 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? Around 100 euros per week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? No


* 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

Generally we were encouraged but there was nobody in Ferrara making us do it. Luckily our group was really active in doing it so that gave us something to get out 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 252
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 another middlebury student who is committed to speaking the language with you! That was no Doubt the best practice because it is a LOT easier to talk to another american than it is to talk to an italian

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
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?
  • I liked walking on the path next to the city walls
  • living with another middlebury student
  • Teresa Quarta
* What could be improved?
  • Give more to the students especially in ferrara- more experiences/excursions/dinners/anything
  • LESS ORIENTATION- 3 weeks of nothing is way too long
  • Have internships settled before we get there?
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That i would be sitting around for 3 weeks at the beginning with nothing but a 30 minute orientation activity every day

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

La Sociologia dell'Arte

Course Department:
Instructor: Maria Antoinetta Trasforini
Instruction Language: Italian
Comments: No relevant field trips... teacher was knowledgable but as I learned quickly about the italian school system, professors often base their syllabi off of friends that they have in the field and not off of the most interesting and relevant materials.
Credit Transfer Issues: