An incredible experience that teaches you how to depend on yourself. July 10, 2018

By (Sarah Lawrence College) - abroad from 02/07/2018 to 06/01/2018 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Florence

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I made really good friends in the program and living in Florence gave me the opportunity to travel within Italy as well as Europe. I gain skills in Italian but also life lessons as to how to depend on myself in a foreign country.

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?

there was no wifi in my room and the land lady refused to get it fixed so I was paying for something in my rent that was never received. It was a very frustrating situation.

* Food:

Everywhere in Florence the food is incredible.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Italian men tend to be very disrespectful toward women but otherwise people are friendly.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had multiple health issues while in Florence and the medical care was outstanding in terms of cost as well as addressing my needs.

* Safety:

Even walking home alone at night I felt safe. While it's best to obviously travel in groups, when I did have to travel alone, I felt fine. I would strongly encourage taking trains with friends however, as the Florence train station is often a place where homeless people hang out at night.

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

Florence was a life changing experience and I envy any student who has the opportunity to do the program in the future. The city is beautiful, the food is incredible, and the professors really want you to be successful. The quality of life for university students is excellent. I don't say there was one day where I actually felt bored.

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)

$200 is definitely not a "student budget". I would rate 0 stars if I could because we weren't even spending dollars- it was euros. While I don't regret my trip in the least, it was very expensive and you can easily spend 30 euros a day on food, day trips, going to clubs/ bars.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 300 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? save as much money as you can before hand and keep to a strict budget. limit how much you go out to dinner and clubs. If you go out try to drink before hand rather than at clubs because the drinks are much more expensive. Also, use your student ID to get into museums /sight seeing places because you will often get a discount.

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

The program expected that we use Italian right off the bat even though I was a beginner. It makes sense for intermediate/ advanced but it seemed silly to expect beginners to speak it right away. It was still effective however, to be encouraged to speak it as much as we can.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? advanced Spanish
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • The other students
  • Most of the professors
  • The city
* What could be improved?
  • Screening of land ladies/ lords
  • More organized trips
  • Better orientation of city
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Your time goes by quickly so while visiting other countries and cities, don't forget to also travel throughout Florence as well.

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.