Florence: An Unforgettable Journey! Past Review

By (Environmental Science., Western Washington University) for

SAI Study Abroad: Florence - Florence University of the Arts (FUA)

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I loved it! I met so many amazing people and learned a lot about Italy and about myself. I have decided upon completing this program that I want to look into careers that incorporate travel and tourism. It is no question that this experience changed my life.

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.

Classes in Italy were generally easier than classes at my home university. This program is very strict on its attendance policy, so a chunk of your grade comes from just going to class. However, there are many art classes and they are usually quite time-intensive as they are project based.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I had issues with receiving the wrong information from the program. For instance, I filled out visa application because they sent all of these notices saying we should do that ASAP, only to find out that I filled it out too soon and I had to go through the entire process a second time. They were very helpful with answering any questions I had, however, and they would always respond quickly to emails.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Everything we needed was already in the apartment. We did buy a few things over the semester as we needed them (such as a baking pan) but sheets and all basic cookware were provided. Our apartment was well located and huge - I think we lucked out, as Italian apartments go.

* Food:

It's Italian. It's good. :)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There were so many awesome trips! I went to Switzerland and Munich and Venice through the school. Both trips were amazing! There were also activities such as visiting a coffee factory and a vineyard outside Florence that I highly reccommend. Trips through my program included a 3-day adventure in southern Tuscany which I enjoyed because it took us off the beaten path, and day trips to Pisa and Lucca, Siena, and islands off the coast. They were all pretty well organized and interesting experiences.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

No real issues except you want to watch out for pickpockets as a general rule. The men in Italy are incredibly aggressive, but just ignore it.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Most people spoke English as Florence is a touristy city. I did not pick up Italian as well as I had hoped because I did not use it very often.

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?
  • Meeting lifelong friends
  • My courses
* What could be improved?
  • More opportunities to meet locals
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This program caters to students who want to learn about Italy and the Tuscan region. I reccommend anybody interested in the arts, architecture, hospitality, and culinary arts to go on this program - there are so many wonderful course options!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Landscape and Architecture Photography

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I learned so much from this course! I was fairly new to digital photography, as were many of my classmates, but our professor started with the basics. We all grew as photographers and as photojournalists. If you want an interesting photography course, I highly reccommend this one - you will learn to see and photograph the world in your own unique way.
Credit Transfer Issues: