Sun, Gelato, and Italy Past Review

By (English/Art, Austin College) - abroad from 08/27/2013 to 12/14/2013 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
among other things, I gained the ability to find my limits and surpass them. It was definitely worthwhile, and i can say that my only regret is that i didn't stay longer, and maybe even forever.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Not having a set campus made all the difference with resources, there were no weekend hours for any of the buildings, even the library, and everything closed at 8 at the latest. But that experience was also part of the culture.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had a really nice host family who, lucky enough, taught english and where a great help during my stay! I can't imagine how it would have gone without them!

* Food:

The food is great if you know where to look, there's a lot of tourist traps

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

With the wide dispersal of campus throughout the city, it was impossible not to integrate into the culture

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got sick once during my stay, and the doctor provided by the program was great. The healthcare is such that you can't go to any doctor, only to the one your insurance covers. A regular checkup is free, and the doctor even guided me through the healthcare process, which turned out to be relatively easy and painless (only one phone call).

* Safety:

For the most part you're going to be safe, but, avoid walking alone outside after midnight, as people tend to target the person who looks like a tourist, who's been out having fun, and who's alone, especially women.

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)

what it really comes down to is watching what you spend and managing money well.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? if you don't need it, don't buy it. And save all the personal shopping for the end of the semester, when the amazement of being in a different country wears off.


* 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
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 people, even if you feel like you're saying it wrong.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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?
  • activities that helped students intergrate better with the community
  • Trips that broadened the experience to more than just florence
* What could be improved?
  • quicker answering to emails
  • Having all the important information kept readily in one place
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Just because it's popular, doesn't mean you should do it too! You don't have to see all the sites and do all the things you hear talked about in articles back home, find your own pace and make the experience unique to yourself.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.