Memorable Past Review

By (Psychology And Art, Austin College) - abroad from 01/23/2013 to 05/11/2013 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
There were ups and downs during my trip but all-in-all, it was an amazing experience. I would definitly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about the Renaissance since Florence is where it all started. Also, Florence is pretty central so you can get to most places in Italy for a reasonable price, but traveling to other countries is probably eassier (and cheaper) when you fly out of Rome or Pisa. The people are nice, the food is great, the language is beautiful. I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

FUA has a good program with nice facilities. Some of the teachers were a little hard to understand at times and a couple of my classes weren't nerely has difficult as those from my home school but I still learned quite a bit.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We had one of the nicer apartments with a really great location right behind Piazza della Signoria.

* Food:

I cooked more than I went out. You can find the essentials at the grocery store but don't expect to find everything or want, or it might just be really expensive.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

As a tourist city, you really can go the whole semester without learning any Italian so I had to go out of my way to practice. I took the Service Learning Italian course so I had a few weeks to be around Italian children but other than that, the most interactions I had with the locals was ordering food and grocery shopping.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't need any of the healthcare provided by the program but from what I heard, the doctors were friendly and some spoke English.

* Safety:

If you're being smart, the city is pretty safe. I wouldn't recommend walking around alone at night but just be aware of your surroundings and you'll be fine.

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)

This was definitly an expensive semester but budgeting helps.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try to make a (realistic) budget withing the first couple of weeks after getting a feel for how much stuff costs and then stick to it.


* 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? None
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? None
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? Go to aperitivos. There a good chance that random Italians will just start talking to you but if they don't, they're usually friendly enough that you can start the conversation yourself and they won't mind. Just be sure to let them know you want to practice Italian so they don't speak English the whole time.

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
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Language
  • Location
  • Teachers
* What could be improved?
  • Integration with locals
  • Open hours of school buildings
  • More Italian in classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The school buildings are actually scattered around the city which sounds bad but after you figure out where they are it isn't terrible. The communte to my furthest class was about a 20 minute walk. Definlty figure out where your buildings are before classes start, it's also just a good way to walk around the city and see what's around you.

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!