Life abroad, opening your mind to the world July 20, 2022

By (Architectural Studies, Middlebury College) - abroad from 09/04/2021 to 06/30/2022 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Florence

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I certainly learned a lot in my courses, though the most valuable takeaway was probably fluency in Italian, not so much the course material. That being said, I think the most valuable gain from the experience were the things I learned about myself, outside of the classroom. Perhaps its a cliche to say you "found yourself" while studying abroad, but I do genuinely believe that putting yourself in new and uncomfortable situations can lead to incredibly positive growth and a more open worldview. After this year in Italy and traveling around Europe I feel much more independent, more outgoing, more confident asking for help and approaching strangers, and more adventurous and open to new experiences.

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.

* 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?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

Florence is the perfect city to experience as a student. It is small but incredibly rich with history and beauty, as well as a vibrant young community and nightlife. The university courses were challenging and it was often incredibly frustrating as a non-full time student to navigate the bureaucracy of UniFi, but in the end it was certainly worth it to be able to say I attended lectures at another institution in a completely different language and with a different academic culture.


* 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)

Was certainly a lot of pressure to go out a lot, not easy to manage on a student budget

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Only that it's worth saving up before you go abroad, I have no regrets about the money I spent but it certainly was not cheap.


* 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? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? IT350
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? Pay attention during lectures and use Italian whenever communicating with a native speaker, even if your Italian is worse than their English.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The independence of not having to live with a host family
  • The freedom to travel on weekends
  • The ability to personalize our course schedule, and especially the addition of art courses in the spring
* What could be improved?
  • Help finding internships/work in Florence
  • Extra curricular options
  • Summer work opportunities
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I don't have any regrets from this past year- I certainly arrived much more naive and innocent than I am now, but it was all part of the journey of studying abroad. Still, I wish I had been less worried about my ability to make friends and fit in in such a foreign environment. These things take time, but if you're willing to put in the work life has a way of making these things happen, often in exciting and unexpected ways.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Stilistica (Autunno)

Course Department: SAB
Instructor: Terrazzi
Instruction Language: Italian
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Arte e Cibo

Course Department: SAB
Instructor: Malaguzzi
Instruction Language: Italian
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Stilistica (Primavera)

Course Department: SAB
Instructor: Tacchi
Instruction Language: Italiano
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: SAB
Instructor: Vossilla
Instruction Language: Italian
Credit Transfer Issues: