Raggio di sole Past Review

By (Sarah Lawrence College) - abroad from 09/03/2012 to 05/10/2013 with

Sarah Lawrence in Florence

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I had no idea that love could be oozing out of culture and its people. I really had no idea. I still (admittedly) choke up about the love I felt in every single moment in and out of school. It's really indescribable what this experience meant to me. I was never happier in my life. The culmination of everyone behind the Sarah Lawrence in Florence program is key to its success. Not only did I have some of the best professors (not only because of their intellectual abilities but also because of their humanness), but we were genuinely cared for and loved like a family. There was nothing forced or unnatural about this program; comfort was its foundation. Sure, we were all foreign American students, some from different schools and on different language levels even, but one thing that I know everyone felt was pride. There wasn't one day I walked out of school and didn't feel happy to go home and share what I learned. It was like being an effervescent and unyieldingly curious child again, except this time one had access to both the low and high hanging fruits (everyone faces both) of a world so willing to teach you, love you and shout "bravo" for you. Ti voglio bene, Italia.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the 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


* 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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Take out a specified amount each week and keep to your guns, but take a little extra on field trips. What aunt doesn't want a magnet?


* 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

Italians are the friendliest people around. If they understand you are trying, they have no problem being patient and selflessly helping out without putting any words in your mouth.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Somewhere between intermediate and advanced, definitely
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Speak (and eat) your heart out with your host family over dinner. Let them know how much you appreciate their culture. Because you will, believe me. Also, try and make a really good Italian friend. Soon you'll be invited over for lunch all the time with their family like it's Sunday dinner at Grandma's house.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* 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?
  • Believing in us, lots of encouragement from the professors. So, I would say the professors.
  • The authenticity of the Italian families we live with.
  • The outpouring of love that Italy, its lifestyle, and the Italians have to offer.
* What could be improved?
  • Niente
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't be afraid to take advantage of those rare weekends you're free and travel.

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.'