vivere per viaggiare! September 05, 2023

By (Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs, Saint Mary's College of California) - abroad from 08/26/2022 to 05/11/2023 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
A lot of introspection and learning about myself in different ways; the benefits of taking risks and trying new things and being open to all that life has to offer

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Professors were so friendly and helpful, and really understood the balance Study Abroad students need in continuing academic rigor and in taking the time to travel and be enriched in local culture!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My housing experience was perfect in location, but my roommates and I had our share of housing issues: door not accepting our keys, Wifi outages, discovering our kitchen didn't have an oven, etc. However, this was simply due to the age of the buildings, and whenever a problem arose, SAI came to the rescue.

* Food:

Where to even begin? The best pasta and olive oil and cheese I've ever had in my life. Phenomenal

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

As an introvert, it was a little scary to put myself out there in a new culture but by the end of the program I had just as many Italian friends as I did American.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got sick a few times while abroad and even had a hospital visit (erring on the side of caution, not an emergency) and SAI paid for my taxi, sent a liaison to stay with me the whole time and translate with the doctors, and overall made my experience feel comfortable and not scary.

* Safety:

I felt so safe in Florence and I walked everywhere all throughout the day and night. Some of my friends did get pickpocketed or even robbed, but I always just stayed alert and kept my valuables well protected on me, and I did not have a problem.

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

No complaints, no regrets, only good times and good memories!


* 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)

Honestly it depends how you want to live—some friends took trips out of the country every week and ate out every night, and others stayed in Florence the whole time. I cooked my own food probably 5 times a week and tried to do some travel, so I was probably somewhere in the middle

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? BUDGET! Even if it's rough, even if it changes month to month. Have some sort of idea of what you're spending on clothes, food, travel and miscellaneous


* 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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Continuing Italian
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? I learned a lot by speaking to those who had a good/fluent grasp on the language, way more than I did with a textbook in class.

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

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Academics
  • Meeting other students
  • Travel and activities
* What could be improved?
  • I honestly can't think of any
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Some of the minutiae regarding credit transfers now that I'm back from studying abroad

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.'