Extreme growth in a personal way Past Review

By (Fine Arts, Studio Arts, Baylor University) - abroad from 02/02/2015 to 05/15/2015 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much! About the world, about people, about myself- I don't think everything I learned would be able to fit in the expanse of this box. Yes it was worthwhile. Even with the hiccups and the problems, I would do this all over again. If I wasn't graduating in december, I probably would. I am already thinking of ways to get myself back to italy as soon as possible. I am considering maybe an internship of some kind. I could also see myself potentially living there.

Review Photos

SAI Programs: Florence - Apicius International Culinary School of Hospitality Photo SAI Programs: Florence - Apicius International Culinary School of Hospitality Photo SAI Programs: Florence - Apicius International Culinary School of Hospitality Photo SAI Programs: Florence - Apicius International Culinary School of Hospitality Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

As an art student, I felt the rigor of the art classes academically was not as difficult as the art classes in my home university. In Italy, they took much more into account creativity and your own expression, whereas in the states they are more focused on design, and concepts about the art form itself.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were helpful at times. They were pretty knowledgable about the program, although not many people had done it with my major before.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I enjoyed the living arrangements, my apartment was on the quieter side of the city which was nice, and the apartment was very authentically Italian.

* Food:

I didn't use the school "resident kitchen" or anything, they had a kind of residence hall place you could get a meal plan for. But I mainly cooked and went out to places. But the food in the country itself is excellent, of course.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I wish I had learned more Italian upon leaving, but other than that it was fine. I also wish I would have done a volunteer program that would have got me interacting with more locals, but I thought the classes were going to be really hard, so I didn't want to constrain my time.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

No health issues arose.

* Safety:

I felt Florence was very safe. Just as long as you don't stick out immediately like a tourist, you'll blend better. As in don't dress like an american, don't shout things in english, etc because you'll get looked at as a target. Don't walk around alone too late at night (after like 11) if you are a female and if you must, only walk in lit areas. SAI provided us with cab numbers, so we would call a cab if we wanted to go somewhere late. So definitely call cabs- there is a discount for females after such a time (I think 11:30pm) you just have to ask for it. Also, don't respond to cat-callers. If you are a female know that you WILL get cat-called just on principle. Don't look at them, talk to them or engage with them and they will stop. Same thing with street salesmen (i.e. selfie sticks, umbrellas, knock off purses, sunglasses) do not engage with them. Just look down and keep walking. Always wear a cross body bag and keep your hand on it, never let it out of your reach because unfortunately pick pocketing is a very real problem. My roommate had her purse pickpocketed twice with her wallet stolen twice, and another time her entire purse was stolen with hundreds of euros still inside- and that was while we were inside a restaurant. So always keep it on you and in your sight.

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


* 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)

It was easy to live on about 80 per week or less on a regular school week. The only things me and my roommates would buy were groceries. In talking about like a 3 day weekend or you want to go somewhere, obviously that will be more expensive. Train tickets are cheap if you do a day trip. But factor in sleeping arrangements, food, and travel if you do more than one day somewhere.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? It was fairly easy to live on about 80 per week or less. Groceries are actually very very cheap in italy, which is great because we would cook all the time. And once you find the cheap panini places, those become places you go to all the time
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook frequently but certainly go out on the weekends to sample local fare.


* 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

It wasn't mandatory for me to take an Italian class, but it might have been helpful. I had done the beginners level of Rosetta Stone before leaving.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
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? Well I had 4 years of French in the states, so that helped with the Latin base that Italian also is. But I only had a beginners knowledge from rosetta stone.
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? Talk to shop owners! They will often speak to you to help you practice.

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

  • International Students
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?
  • The classes were very fun, and I was able to learn things I would never have in the States
  • They gave us time to travel, and certainly lots of opportunities to, which i appreciated
  • It was very authentic
* What could be improved?
  • The more academic sided classes could be more structured, because american students are used to more structured classes
  • The transcripts could be sent in faster (although that most likely is the fault of the government mailing system not the program itself)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That it will change you. I am not the same person I was before I left. Also you are going to miss it immensely upon flying home. You will be left with an insatiable desire to travel- wanderlust as it is called is a real feeling. Home will feel different for a while- I am personally still adjusting back and its been 3 weeks. Also, people will have changed while you are gone. The world keeps changing even after you are gone. Things may look the same but you have been gone for a whole semester, things will be different. But you are different too, for the better.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!