One line is far too short to sum up the magic that is contained in Florence. Past Review

By (Business Administration and Entrepreneurship, Muhlenberg College) - abroad from 01/23/2015 to 05/09/2015 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
While abroad, I not only learned about the culture and people in Florence but I also found out so much about myself. I learned how to be confident and adventurous, when to take risks and when to let things go, to take advantage of every opportunity I can and to live life. I learned how to speak Italian (albeit not super well but better than before), try new foods, talk to people I'd never met before and make lasting friendships in no time.

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 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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Anytime myself or anyone I knew had any issues, the on-site administration responded quickly and efficiently. They were always there to help with problems and also there if you just needed to chat for a little.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was lucky enough to be paired with two AMAZING roommates whom I became very close friends with. Our apartment was beautiful, clean, and cozy. About a 20 minute walk from class (sounds long but when you're walking through Florence it's not bad at all). Had a few problems with our landlady who didn't speak English very well.

* Food:

How could you not love the food in Florence? There is no meal plan associated with SAI but this means you're encouraged to go to the local grocery store or cook dinner with the fresh ingredients you buy from the fruit and veggie stands strewn across the city. Every meal I had, whether cooked at home or out at a restaurant, was delicious.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We were housed in a more residential area of Florence which means we passed locals on the street every day, chatted with people in stores and coffee shops around the city. There were many opportunities, some I regret not doing, that connected students to locals like meetings set up with Italian speaking students trying to learn English.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was lucky to only have a few minor illnesses while studying abroad, mainly a cold or two. The local health system was efficient and very helpful. There are a few English speaking doctors that are available to study abroad students that SAI can help you contact and make appointments with. Also, the pharmacies have pretty much everything you could need and also the pharmacists are trained more than they are in the US so they can give you advice and medicines.

* Safety:

As a young woman, I felt very safe in Florence. As with most cities, it's smart to walk around with friends when it gets dark out and Florence is no different when it comes to this. The buddy system is important when going out for drinks or to a club for some dancing. During the day, I felt comfortable to walk around by myself throughout the whole city.

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)

I was able to travel a lot during my time in Florence so I spent a little more than the average student would on airfare, food and housing in other countries. While in Florence, I found it relatively easy to have a small budget each week as food and groceries were pretty well priced and I did not overindulge on pastries and cappuccinos too much (but still enough to have my fill)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you are an art lover, check if the museums in your city have student passes or other special deals. In Florence I bought a pass for the Uffizi (the largest museum in the city) that allowed me to wait on a separate, shorter line and get in free anytime I wanted. The pass was also good for a few of the other museums around Florence including the Academia which held The David! Getting a pass will save you money if you plan on going to the museums more than once and/or have to go to the museums for classes.


* 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 encouraged us to speak in Italian but didn't force us to. We were able to learn and speak at our own pace. For me, who does not catch on to languages that quickly, this was perfect and by the end of the semester I was able to get by well enough throughout the city to not immediately be seen as a tourist.

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? Intermediate- Spanish
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? Wherever you go and whoever you meet, try to speak Italian! The best way to learn is to practice it in real life. When you go to buy something, try to ask for it in their language instead of English. Most of the time locals appreciate you trying, even if they speak back to you in English.

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Cooking classes- learning to make a full Italian meal with friends
  • Excursions- biking tours, Milan and Parma weekend, weekend in Rome
  • Welcome events- getting the whole program together so we could meet each other.
* What could be improved?
  • Smaller student meet ups for coffee or drinks. The large events were sometimes overwhelming.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It's OK to be homesick! Bring photos, a stuffed animal, or a talisman that reminds you of home and utilize skype, texting and phone calls. It's OK to call your mom or dad and tell them about the amazing croissant you just had or about the trip you just took. They'll love hearing from you as much as you love hearing from them.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

History of the Italian Renaissance

Course Department: History
Instructor: Professor Mazzanti
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The class was amazing. As a student who does not usually like history, the class was engaging and made me enthusiastic about the material we were learning, mainly because we were learning about the city of Florence that was all around us. Made use of the city by going on walking tours and to museums to show us different buildings and pieces of art. We had a few papers to write and two big exams (midterm and final) but nothing too difficult that I couldn't manage it along with travel and explorations on my own through the city.
Credit Transfer Issues: No issue transferring credit to home institution at all