A priceless experience! October 09, 2019

By (Belmont University) - abroad from 01/22/2019 to 05/08/2019 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 a lot about different cultural views and how to acclimate and truly embrace a new lifestyle. I also learned a lot about myself through the process. It was worth every minute and penny. I would go back in a heartbeat and do it all again.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Different learning experience than a typical American University classroom. Classes were not necessarily rigorous, but very hands-on and experiential.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Fantastic on-site program staff. They took care of so many logistics like airport pickup, housing maintenance, etc. They also planned a number of cultural activities and excursions which each ran very smoothly.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The student apartment was centrally located and very spacious and clean.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The school had a lot of opportunities to engage with local culture, like family clubs and community organizations. SAI also hosted lots of activities in and around the city to learn about and become accustomed to local culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

I grew tremendously as a person and global citizen. SAI gave me the perfect blend of independence and support. I was able to immerse in the culture and had freedom to travel often.

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)

Living in Florence on a budget is manageable. Food is relatively inexpensive, and any spending outside of that is completely dependent on the goals and desires of the individual student.

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

Speaking and learning Italian was not mandatory, but classes were readily available. All instructors at Florence University of the Arts are native Italian speakers, but courses (except language courses) are conducted in English. Students were encouraged to practice the language with locals, and there were organized activities like language partners, available.

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? No Italian language
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? Take a class before departure or while on your program. While you're on the program, sign up for a program that gives you a language learning partner, a local family, or something along these lines, to practice the language and learn about the culture with.

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
  • 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?
  • Opportunities to travel
  • Classes were fun and experiential
  • On-site staff were invaluable
* What could be improved?
  • Honestly I have no complaints
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I did more research on my city before going on the program, so I would have had a baseline of knowledge that I could build deeper on after I arrived.

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.'