The Experience of a Lifetime!! December 18, 2014

By (Hospitality and Restaurant Administration, Missouri State University) - abroad from 12/27/2014 to 05/17/2014 with

SAI Programs: Florence - Florence University of the Arts

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained insight into how the world actually is versus what we read about on the internet or see on TV. It's even more wonderful than we could imagine and this experience will stick with me for the rest of my life.

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.

FUA offers beautiful academic facilities, interesting courses, and friendly professors who are extremely knowledgeable in their fields.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

SAI has a great team of staff that are always available to help and answer questions. They truly help to make your experience abroad the best it possibly can be.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

SAI placed me in a very nice apartment located near the historic city center of Florence.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Florence is a very safe city in general. My advice is treat it just like any other city in terms of safety. If you are going to walk anywhere at night, then travel in groups.

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

Finances

* 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)

Groceries are very cheap if you shop in the local markets.

Language

* 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

SAI regularly encouraged us to practice our Italian with the Florentine locals. They appreciate it when a visitor tries to speak their own language and will even help you.

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? Intermediate
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? As soon as you learn something new in your Italian class, go out into the city and practice it with a local. They are more than willing to help you get comfortable with their language and further your fluency.

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

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Host Family
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Great staff
  • Life-changing experience
  • Student freedom
* What could be improved?
  • Faster staff communication
  • Better organization on optional trips
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I would have known just how awful jetlag can really be. Going from America to Europe and vice-versa takes a tole on 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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'