Middlebury Abroad in Florence. June 29, 2022

By (Luso-Hispanic Studies, Italian, Education, Middlebury College) - abroad from 02/14/2022 to 06/30/2022 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Florence

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Definitely worthwhile and experienced a worldly perspective on my racial identity. Loved witnessing a European approach to life and worldly problems, and the Italian approach to education. Could not fancy one as better or worse than the US but I am grateful for the overall experience.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Professors were great, work is particularly demanding though. If your expecting an experience where you just eat pasta and travel all the time might want to reconsider. Sure, you will have plenty opportunity to travel and explore but often at the expense of your GPA. The rigor is comparable to that of the middlebury campus in vermont, just with more Italian so keep that in mind when applying. Not a lot of flexibility with the advanced track, but with through a rigorous email and debate process it is possible. If you manage your work well you will be fine.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Administration was kind and a great shoulder to lean on with any and all issues. Felt comfortable with the staff and all my many personal issues were taken care of. Some people had mixed reviews, just be patient and kind and you will be fine.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Host mom Rita was an Absolute Angel . Beautiful home, amazing food, excellent support system. Only speaks Italian but when in Rome, or in this case Florence, that was a luxury.

* Food:

Host mom took care to hand craft every meal with fresh, local, and organic ingredients, and most importantly love. Rarely had the same dish twice but all were winners in my humble opinion. If your lodging is not a homestay, you’re in luck: it’s Florence! No meal was a bad meal but would recommend eating outside of the touristy areas.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The local eateries were great experiences to have local exchanges in the language, the course that a did take at the host university was a culture shock to my private liberal arts bubble in a good way, and my host mom was the reigning queen of a traditional esperienza Fiorentina.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Safe to say that health care is not readily available. Regardless of the fact that this experience took place during COVID, there is no excuse for the lack of available resources and offices. Spent 5 hours touring the city for a general health physician who would see me, even after scheduling two appointments and desperately putting down a deposit I had no luck. Keep in mind this was after already registering for three telehealth appointments; two of which never showed up, another could not serve my needs. Fortunately enough it was not a grace illness. However, I did have a friend who had to take a forty minute bus during class for a serious condition. My advice: don’t get sick abroad.

* Safety:

Although petty theft and crime are possible with all international travel, never once felt threatened by any immediate danger. That being said, be aware of cat calling.**

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

I will be doing two middlebury abroad programs in the future: one in Puerto Rico and one in Brazil. I am an avid language student and I would like the full languages abroad experience.


* 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)

Depending on the week and meal plan you have it can get a little dicey. Document the first week or two of your expenses then make a mental note of what you can work on and where you can cut back so you can save more money for travel and God forbid last minute health expenses. A lot of the students are privileged with money access though, don’t be discouraged. You can have a fun time even on a budget!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I want to say I spent <5.000 abroad. That was for food, flights, lodging abroad, nights out, and other daily expenses. I spent more than I expected but could have been more spending conscious. My advice is if you have the money then spend it.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Book your flights in advance, travel light, and be willing to go with the flow and have longer layover flights if you would like to travel to many destinations on a student budget.


* 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

Highly encouraged.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
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? 252
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? Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, use the wrong verb, and pyour knowledge with the locals. A lot of them are excited to hear foreigners still trying to learn their language. Drink coffee at the bar, and try to eat out whenever possible as opposed to ordering food in.

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

  • 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?
  • HOST MOM!!
  • The Italian Language
  • Tuscan Terrain, historic city, and general panorama
* What could be improved?
  • Academic track
  • Healthcare system
  • Description of the program features: more elaborative.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That I would be paying out of pocket for my home stay originally.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: Italian
Instructor: Professor Donahue-Grimaldi
Instruction Language: Italian
Comments: Excellent experience and opened my awareness for translating texts and how previously translated texts are received in the language of arrival as opposed to where they stand in the departing language. Since there were only 6 students in the class, participation was widely encouraged and easily accessible. Was challenging but equally enjoyable and rewarding.
Credit Transfer Issues: N/a - Middlebury Student.
Course Name/Rating:

Letteratura e Società

Course Department: Italian
Instructor: Professore Mancini
Instruction Language: Italian
Comments: Very informative and refreshing to experience a history course from the perspective of another world culture. Mancini was a phenomenal lecturer and with four students in the course we were well taken care of. Field trips were great, relevant, and his knowledge of the material was astounding.
Credit Transfer Issues: NA - Middlebury Student
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: Italian
Instructor: Professore Tacchi
Instruction Language: Italian
Comments: Challenging, grading was firm but notes were incredibly insightful. No field trips and was taken by remote modality. Participation was not as prominent with the bigger group of students but all student work was recognized.
Credit Transfer Issues: