Studying Abroad in Florence, Italy!! Past Review

By (Business: Hospitality Management, Salem State College) for

SAI Study Abroad: Florence - Apicius International Culinary School of Hospitality

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Honestly, there seems like there was more negative than positive, however this experience was the most positive experience I have ever encountered. I learned so much about myself and was always pushing myself which was a great outcome. This was one of the hardest things I have ever done but I do not regret studying abroad it all. The places you will see will be life changing and bring a whole new perspective to your life. I gained a lot from my time being here and learned to appreciate everything. I strongly feel everyone should do this at some point in their life, whether is for a month for 4, you will learn a lot about yourself and others. Studying abroad is literally LIFE CHANGING!!

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.

The workload was very manageable. The teachers are very passionate about what they teach, which makes the experience even more enjoyable. My Italian course was all in Italian, he does not speak any English which was very different then how it would be done in the States. Most of my courses didn't have constant homework but work that needed to be worked for the final.Most of them would have a midterm, final project/paper, and final. Also, you need a C letter grade to pass the course.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I really feel like I had no relationship with SAI. I did do some inclusive day trips with the program but it just felt like I was on a tour guide. I felt like they could have given better tips before arriving to Italy and keep more in touch. Many other programs had more benefits like food vouchers that is included or weekend trips that were included and more.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Our apartment was very small for 7 girls. We didn't have a working oven, no drying rack,and no heat in the winter. I was glad to bring sheets and a couple little blankets, and slippers are a must. The location was amazing the best part. Close to all the main popular bars and clubs. We did have to be very quite for the neighbors, they would get upset about everything. For example the sounds of our boots on the stairwell was one that we got complaints about.

* Food:

Best part about studying abroad in Italy was the FOOD!!! There is a million great restaurants and great typical cuisine. The quality is out of this world. Fresh pasta, fresh herbs, fresh products make the quality that much better. If studying abroad here you must go to the outside market, you will get great fresh food and at amazing prices. One of my favorite restaurants is Acqua al Due you must try the balsamic Florentine steak. It is so tender you can cut it with a spoon. One of the best meals ever. The gelato is amazing here in Florence as well. Overall, Florence is the perfect place for great food and great quality.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I have learned a lot and met a lot of different people while studying abroad. The cultural experiences were the best, especially being able to travel so much and really experience other cultures other than Italian.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The program really did not help me however, the health insurance was great since I felt like I was always at the doctors. I strongly advice bring vitamins and bring medicine from home you might not think you will need it but trust me just bring it. The doctor was nice and great. Your safety is fine here but just be prepared to get lots of cold while studying abroad.

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


* 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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

In Florence it was very hard because a lot of Italians spoke English. I did try to use it to the best of my knowledge. It was nice to try to blend in and at least try to speak their language the locals did appreciate the effort. The language program was intense and difficult. The professor's are not suppose to speak English and some can't speak any English.Also the textbook/workbooks are all in Italian, the program really wanted to submerge the students completely in Italian. Great idea but made it harder to understand basic lessons.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Had great course selection
  • Location
  • Optional excursions
* What could be improved?
  • More inclusive benefits
  • Communicate with the students and see how their experience is going
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This program has great people working for SAI however, you just need to establish a relationship with them. It was a reasonable program and overall very happy that I decided to study abroad. If you want to do things on your own, I think this is a great program, they are there is you need them but your also able to be on your own.