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By (University of Kentucky) - abroad from 09/01/2015 to 12/18/2015 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about different ways that cultures present hospitality and how people view tourism. I learned a lot about the Italian culture that I think is important to incorporate in American culture. As my Italian professor told us, we have to work to find the best ingredients to develop the best glass of wine, just as we have to use the parts of each culture to develop the best life style.

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? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

As a hospitality and tourism major, studying abroad was one of the best things I could have done for myself. I learned so much from living in a different culture. Each culture has their own variation of hospitality and each person experiences tourism in a different way. All of the classes I took abroad transferred back as credit to my home university, so I was not behind at all. Since I was taught by Italian teachers (in English) I learned about hospitality concepts differently than I would have in the states, which gives me an advantage in my career options.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

SAI was so helpful during my entire semester abroad. They helped integrate us into the Italian culture with weekly emails about certain recipes, events happening, and other fun information. They also provided fun activities such as cooking classes or excursions to places that I would not have visited on my own.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I love all of my random roommates. I lived with five other girls from all across the United States. While we had our disagreements from time to time, I owe a lot of my positive experiences to those wonderful women. We had a great apartment that we stayed at in Florence. It was centrally located and was very spacious. While it was older than what I was use to in America, it had so much character.

* Food:

I paid for all of my food while abroad (unless SAI included certain meals during a trip). However, I do not regret any purchase made on food because everything tasted great, even when I cooked! Going to the market to buy food was one of my highlights during each week.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I did meet some very cool local restaurant owners (shows how much I ate out) that were very open to sharing about their culture and even helping me with my Italian homework sometimes. If I could change one about my abroad experience, I would have volunteered.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The only experience I had with healthcare was buying medicine for the common cold. During the orientation for the program, they did address what to do if we were sick and needed emergency help. They also provided the contact information for a doctor that spoke English and was available for appointments.

* Safety:

I very felt unsafe in Florence. Of course it is a city, so you have to be smart. I had a purse that was hard to pick pocket and it was also in front of me. During the day I had no problem walking by myself, however during the night I was always sure to have a friend with me. If you would not do it at home, then don't do it abroad.

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

They were always there when I needed them and helped me as soon as I got off the plane.


* 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 probably could have spent $50 a week on food if I lived minimally. However my budget skills were lacking.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I probably spent around $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You do not have to buy gelato everyday. It will be there all semester. I promise. I budgeted by only keeping the amount of euros I wanted to spend during the week in my purse. Once they were gone I could not spend any more.


* 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

My professor was very encouraging. He took us on two or three field trips where we were able to try and communicate with locals. I think the locals appreciated our attempts to learn their 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? I never took an Italian class before arriving in Italy.
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? Just do it. Even if you know you will sound silly the locals do not mind. I had several people try and help me when I spoke broken Italian. The more you use it the better you will become. Practicing with your roommates is helpful too.

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?
  • Airport Pickup
  • Weekly emails on events/recipes
  • Cooking classes
* What could be improved?
  • Integration with locals
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I did not plan on traveling to as many different countries as I did, but I am glad I did it.

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.