L'Italia, la bella paese Past Review

By (Anthropology and Art History, Trinity 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 think I learned more about myself and ability to be independent than I did about being out of my element culturally. I chose 4 stars because I was able to go out and see places I'd merely dreamed of seeing, and made me truly want to learn a beautiful language and possibly step outside the states again and take a hop across the pond again.

Review Photos

SAI Programs: Florence - Florence University of the Arts Photo SAI Programs: Florence - Florence University of the Arts Photo SAI Programs: Florence - Florence University of the Arts Photo SAI Programs: Florence - Florence University of the Arts Photo

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.

I learned a lot, but there was little expectation in performance. Which I think is both beneficial and detrimental, in that many students might not pay attention to what they're being taught if they aren't held accountable for demonstrating what they should be learning.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I just think the program caters too much to American cultural tendencies. I studied abroad so that I could experience another culture/lifestyle and I don't think I had as much of a difference in comparison to some of my peers who also went abroad. I think we were all made too comfortable...I didn't stop feeling like a tourist until about 2 months in.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My neighborhood was lovely, right next to a locally popular piazza (S. Spirito) so it was nice to be able to be amongst the locals and away from the hustle and bustle of the city center. I had to buy a pillow, pillowcase, and some dishtowels...otherwise most everything was provided.

* Food:

ANYWHERE IN FLORENCE. Specifically Trattoria Anita, very affordable, not touristy, tasty.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There were some cool field trips around Tuscany that allowed us to really see the countryside.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

No health issues, though I strongly urge students to get their meningitis vaccination (even if they had it when they were 13) before they leave...and do not under any circumstances walk home alone at night.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About 50 dollars, but it just depends on your travel plans, how often you eat out, go out, drink, etc.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Have money set aside for emergencies, many of my friends and I too were pickpocketed. It's a rough few weeks waiting on your new credit/debit card to arrive especially if you don't have a cash stash to help you out. I recommend setting aside at least $200 (in cash) in a safe place in your room for such times. It really can happen to you. Do the same for whenever your traveling, the "carry-on" only seems simple enough but sometimes baggage size restrictions change and you end up paying 30 euro to check it instead. So be prepared and pack light.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? N/A
Language acquisition improvement?

I had a required Italian Language course, but all courses were taught in English and all students spoke only English to each other. I only used Italian when at the grocery store, restaurants, and other public commercial venues.

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

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Location
* What could be improved?
  • Immersion
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Use this program if you want to be in a foreign country but not have a truly foreign experience.