Difficult, nerve wracking, exciting, amazing, all at the same time! Past Review

By (Psychology, Gustavus Adolphus College) - abroad from 01/27/2015 to 05/16/2015 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 gained a lot of insight about myself, more than I thought I would. While studying abroad, you become much more independent and have opportunities to be on your own and to learn more about yourself than you would staying at home.

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.

In general, courses and course work are very easy when compared to course work from home school. Teachers are very friendly and personable, and make it known that you can come to them with any questions or concerns. Courses do a great job in integrating students into Italian culture (walking in the markets, field trips). The reason for 3 stars due to the fact I had a couple of classes in which the teachers were not well prepared for class lectures, and did not structure classes lessons well.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Always available and emailed back promptly. If ever I had any questions or needed to go into the office, someone was always there and provided me with proper info.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living arrangements were awesome. I heard horror stories from other people who studied abroad, but my apartment seemed like a palace compared to their stories. Great location, all of the necessities were available, if ever we had a problem, someone was there within the day or next day to fix it. It's nice to room with other Americans in that it makes the first couple of weeks abroad more comfortable. Had trouble with wifi at first, but that was to be expected.

* Food:

Food in Italy was great in general. Possible to get meal plan through SAI, but I did not.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

SAI has apartments all over Florence, Italy, and they are located in the same apartment buildings as actual Florence residents. This definitely makes a person feel culturally integrated. I wish they provided students with opportunities to meet with Italian college students and to become more integrated with the local people.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any experiences with healthcare or any health problems, but SAI provided us with a lot of information about if ever something were to happen, and I felt safe knowing all of their information they had given and knowing that they were available.

* Safety:

Florence is like any other city. Don't walk alone at night, and don't put yourself in any stupid situations where you might find yourself in danger. I felt very safe in Florence.

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)

Overall, I managed fairly easily.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Budget, budget, budget! Plan on spending more than you think. There are going to be things you want to buy and trips you want to go on that you don't think about before you leave.


* 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

All my teachers encouraged us to try to speak what little Italian we know among locals.

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
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Don't be afraid to make a fool of yourself trying to speak another language. Locals will appreciate it, and it's such a rewarding experience communicating with someone else in another language, no matter how short the conversation was.

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?
  • The roommates I was paired with
  • The opportunities they provided us to travel, cook, etc
  • The reliability
* What could be improved?
  • More activites to integrate with local culture
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The program plays whatever role you want it to in your experience abroad. Take advantage of all the awesome trips and activities they offer, because you might never have an opportunity like that again!

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.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Italian Language Beginning 1

Course Department: Italian Studies and Linguistics
Instructor: Antonella Salvia
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Antonella was an amazing teacher. She assigned just the right amount of homework where it wasn't overwhelming but it definitely helped me grasp the foundations of Italian. She made participating in class fun, and made the class feel comfortable and like a welcoming place to learn and engage oneself. This was my favorite class while I was abroad.
Credit Transfer Issues: No issues.