I learned a lot of italian but don't have any desire to return to Florence. April 17, 2018

By (Georgetown University) - abroad from 09/06/2017 to 12/20/2017 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Florence

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about the more realistic aspects of Italian culture (relatively poor living, familial infighting, etc.). It was worthwhile, though would not live with a host family or stay in Florence again.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

My italian certainly improved, though I would not say I learned a ton in my course at Middlebury's Sede. My professor seemed to be teaching a very simplistic version of Italian/Tuscan history. My courses at UniFi were better, though the entire experience was quite stressful.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I would have preferred the program be a bit more flexible overall. The mandatory tutor sessions and class trips were frustrating at times.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was pretty much a disaster. Discussed with on-site administrators.

* Food:

The food from my home was fine. Far from italian cooking but at least there was enough for myself and the other student(s) living there.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I never felt like I was integrated with Florence. All of my Italian friends were from other parts of Italy. Florence never felt exactly happy to have Americans there, even if I spoke Italian and was ethnically Italian.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Some warning on the mosquito abundance would have been appreciated.

* Safety:

Never felt safety concerns.

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

No, I would stay away from Florence, even if it meant not being quite as immersed in Italian.

Finances

* 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? if i traveled, possibly 250 euros. If i didnt, as low as 25 or 50 euros.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Use the bike sharing program. Stay in hostels. Use sky scanner for cheap flights.

Language

* 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

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? A 200 level Italian elective.
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? Watch Italian language television and movies.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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?
  • Language Learning
  • Opportunity to attend UniFi
  • --
* What could be improved?
  • Course offerings at Middlebury Sede
  • organization of UniFi
  • Integration into Florence as a city
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that my host family was insane.

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 Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.