My first experience abroad! August 30, 2023

By (Apparel Merchandising, Washington State University) - abroad from 01/24/2023 to 05/10/2023 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The thought of going abroad for the first time can be really scary and intimidating but I promise you it will be worth it. Studying abroad pushed me outside of my comfort zone, provided me with essential life skills, and allowed me to make memories that will last a lifetime.

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.

You will quickly learn that the Italian culture is very different from the America culture - especially in the way Itlaians approach academics. Even though I only had class two days a week, and I spent way less time studying - I learned just as much, if not more at my university in Florence.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The SAI staff was SO helpful. Every question that I had was answered in a timely manner, and they were always making sure we were aware of everything that was going on in Florence. They sent out weekly newsletters that were incredibly helpful and that helped me adapt to the unfamiliar culture.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My apartment was right down the street from the Duomo and was so close to so many things I loved about Florence. The apartment was fully equipped with everything that we needed. It also was really special that we lived right next to an Italian family - made the whole experience even more authentic.

* Food:

The best part of Italy hands down was the food. The best restaurants were often down the less busy streets and far away from the most popular attractions in Florence. Going to the market was also the highlight of the week because all the locals gathered to pick up their fresh ingredients for the day.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

This is something that I wish I would have tried harder to do. It is incredibly easy to be an "American in Florence" and revert back to your American ways. SAI did a really go job with making sure we had options to interact with the local community and it is something that I wish I would have used to my advantage.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

We had an insurance card with SAI and I knew that if I ever needed help SAI would have been there.

* Safety:

Florence is one of the safest cities that I have ever lived in and even when I was walking home at night I felt safe. It is still important to remain aware of your surroundings but overall Florence was very safe.

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

To put it simply: studying abroad changed my life. I learned how to appreciate the small moments, connect with the local community, and most importantly I gained a better understanding of who I was as an individual. Studying abroad truly changed my perspective and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to call Florence my home. Through it all SAI remained a helping hand and the moments and memories made in Florence will be cherished forever.


* 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)

Its really important to save your money before you go so you can live life how you want when you are abroad. Thats what I did and I have never once regretted how much money I spent.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 400
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save your money before and apply for as many scholarships as possible. Studying abroad is not as cheap as they say!!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

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?
  • Exploring a new culture
  • The people I met
  • SAI Viva Activities
* What could be improved?
  • Exit Support / Going back to America
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Just being more candid and honest about how much you are going to spend You should know the language!! (more than duolingo)

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.