The Best Four Months of My Life Past Review

By (The College of William and Mary) - abroad from 01/09/2012 to 05/05/2012 with

SAI Study Abroad: Rome - John Cabot University (JCU)

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I feel like it will take months before I realize how much I have truly changed and benefitted from this experience. At this time, I can definitely say that I gained a greater sense of independence, confidence, and international competence. I have been completely invigorated by four months of travel and culture, and I have gained a deeper desire to travel the world. I learned a lot both in and out of the classroom- as an art history major, I definitely deepened my appreciation and love for art, in addition to the international relevance of the subject. I have also learned the importance of a global perspective. I have wanted to study abroad for years and it was truly a dream come true.

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.

Classes at John Cabot are extremely easy. I truly feel like I learned a lot, but I was not at all challenged. One of my favorite things was taking on site classes- it is so beneficial and stimulating to learn about paintings and monuments you are actually standing in front of! (This was especially exciting for me because I am an art history major and nothing compares to seeing original works.)

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

SAI definitely has it together! They were very helpful both before departure and while I was abroad. They also had lots of fun excursions and activities that added cultural depth and excitement to my experience!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My apartment was small and rather cramped, but the location was excellent! The process seemed to be give and take- some students were further away from campus but had nicer apartments; I loved our location and therefore the actual apartment was not that big of a deal.

* Food:

Italian food is so incredible! All the food provided at SAI events was absolutely delicious, fresh, and wonderful. The welcome lunch at an Italian farm is especially delectable. Outside of SAI, all the local restaurants are incredible- you really cannot beat authentic Italian food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I speak a little bit of Italian which was definitely helpful, but I was not proficient enough to carry on a proper conversation with a local. This was my biggest barrier in immersing myself in the culture and though I was slightly hindered by the language, I feel like I did my best to integrate into and appreciate the culture in other ways.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I personally did not have any health issues so I cannot say for sure, but one of my roommates had an issue and she was quickly and properly cared for.

* Safety:

In my opinion, a large part of staying safe is being responsible and using common sense. Rome is a big city but as long as I was alert and conscious of my environment I felt quite safe.

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


* 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)

There is so much to do, see, and eat in Italy that I did not want to miss out on anything. I spent more than I had planned and I had trouble sticking to my budget, but in my eyes it was completely worth it.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Book weekend trips in advance- planning well will save money!


* 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

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • Living in Rome
  • The extra events and excursions
  • The accessibility and friendliness of the staff
* What could be improved?
  • Roommate compatibility/selection
  • Apartment quality
  • Length of program (too short)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Pack light and appreciate every single moment- I knew it would fly by but the experience goes by quicker than I could have anticipated.