The true definition of a once in a lifetime experience Past Review

By (Muhlenberg College) - abroad from 09/02/2016 to 12/10/2016 with

SAI Study Abroad: Florence - Summer High School Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned about new cultures. I learned that not everyone is as lucky as americans. Italy is an amazing place in which people there have values that american would not even think of. They value time over money in Italy and that is something that i experienced first hand.

Review Photos

SAI Programs: Florence - Summer High School Program Photo SAI Programs: Florence - Summer High School Program Photo SAI Programs: Florence - Summer High School Program Photo SAI Programs: Florence - Summer High School Program Photo

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.

The professors were extremely helpful and caring. They helped me become a better student of florence. They also helped me adjust to the cultural changes around me in florence. The professors helped me gain the most of my experience in Florence

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site administration for my program was fantastic. Regan Wheat and the entire SAI Florence staff are great. They are always available to talk and give advice. They truly are very friendly and willing to help. I got to know Regan and Pietro very well during my time abroad. Regan Wheat is the best program coordinator anyone could ask for.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The living conditions were great for my roommates and me. We were located in the center of florence a block away from the D'uomo. It is a different lifestyle that takes some getting used to. If we ever had a problem they were there to fix it within 24 hours.

* Food:

The food is amazing. It is just so fresh. I food shopped once every 2 or 3 days. I also learned how to cook because there was no dining hall like at US universities. The food in florence is truly a step above the rest.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Florence is a great place that really has a great culture of people. Most people speak english which is very helpful. The culture is surely different but that is what makes it so great. It took some getting used but I feel like after a few weeks in I was integrated in the culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had an healthcare problems fortunately. However, I know people that did and they had no problems.

* Safety:

Florence is a great city. Most of all it is extremely safe. While going out at night I never once felt worried for my safety. I would recommend the buddy system. You can walk anywhere and be safe.

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

SAI was the best program possible. They kept us safe while allowing us to travel the world and experience new countries. Regan Wheat is a role model to me. I look up to someone who handles all those students with such ease.


* 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 would say a 4. This is a tough review because it depends on how much you want to travel. the cost of living in florence is not very high. There are many affordable ways to get everything you need. If you travel though it can get very pricey. It will cost you more money than being at your university in the US.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $4000
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Work the summer before as much as possible. That is what I did and it was tough that summer but I was so thankful when I studied abroad and had money to travel.


* 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

We took an italian class to learn the culture. The problem is learning how italians say certain phrases. In Florence everyone spoke english so italian was not very necessary.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intermediate Italian I
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? There are not many tips. Just make an effort and ask italians who know the culture how to say something. When you are abroad speak italian when you order food. That is a quick way to pickup on it.

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 Staff
  • The location, florence
  • My living location
* What could be improved?
  • Give students great places to eat
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I feel as if I did everything I could to gain the most out of my experience. I would simple tell me to settle in fully to the culture and the people because for 4 months that is your home. The sooner you recognize that the better your time will be.

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.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Islam and Politics

Course Department: Political Science
Instructor: Marco
Instruction Language: English
Comments: It was a challenging class because a lot of ISIS and terrorism attacks were very relevant while i wad abroad. It was also extremely informative and opened my eyes to many realities of the islamic religion.
Credit Transfer Issues: None