A great experience I was slightly unprepared for Past Review

By (Sarah Lawrence College) - abroad from 09/05/2016 to 12/22/2016 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Florence

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was worthwhile, although I wish I would have known more before I left.

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.

* 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?

Despite my dwindling ability to speak Italian, living in a homestay was helpful in making me feel more integrated into Italian life and culture than I feel I would have, had I chose not to live with a family.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got fairly sick early on, and the Middlebury admin was very helpful in getting me in to see a doctor, even making sure that it would be a doctor who spoke English.

* Safety:

There were not many instances if any in which I did not feel safe in Florence. It is a tourists city, and besides for gypsies and beggars which is a very normal occurrence in Italy, I never felt unsafe.

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

This program really wasn't what I had expected nor what I would have wanted.


* 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)

Because I was living in a homestay my breakfasts and dinners were included in my room and board. This made at the very lest appear as though it was fairly cheap to live in Florence as my only expenses were on small lunches. All in all, I do not think it is an overly expensive city, and it is fairly easy to budget.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 35


* 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 all, even beginning students had to sign a language pledge, in which we were only allowed to speak Italian.

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
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? It had taken Italian in high school, but had never taken Italian at the collegiate level.
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? Easier said than done, but don't be afraid to make mistakes, that's the whole point. My biggest regret was that I never quite built up the confidence necessary to move passed the stage of being embarrassed by making mistakes.

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
  • International Students
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?
  • Being in Italy, Florence is amazing no matter what.
* What could be improved?
  • Communication and transparency on what is to be expected.
  • School trips, connection and a better sense of community would greatly help this program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That I would be a guinea pig in a program that was only just beginning to have beginning students. That there would be a strict language pledge, and that there would only be one other beginning student. In many ways for me this program was truly a disaster, I was able to make the best of it however, and I do not think they will operate this way for future students. All in all, it is not a bad program.

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 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.