Incredibile! Past Review

By (History Of Art And Architecture, Sarah Lawrence College) - abroad from 01/17/2014 to 05/16/2014 with

Sarah Lawrence in Florence

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was an amazing experience, I would never have gotten to see so much of Italy otherwise and I definitely want to go back there and live there again someday. I also made some new friends that I wouldn't have met otherwise.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Art restoration was great and I'm so glad I took it! Overall it's an academically challenging program - I would say it could be either easier or harder than an average semester at SLC depending on what you take, but most likely harder especially factoring in all the weekend traveling. It was a little difficult not having access to an English language library beyond what was in the SLC building but the program is very accommodating about purchasing books for conference if you ask them to.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Cristina, Paola and Irene are amazing and go so far above and beyond to make the program special for each person. They get to know you and what you're interested in and find ways for you to pursue those interests in a Florentine context. Cristina found out I was studying book conservation so she arranged a visit for me and my restoration class to the laboratory of the Biblioteca Nazionale - it was such a cool experience and it was so thoughtful of her. They do a lot of little things like that to really personalize the experience.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my host family! They were incredibly welcoming and it was great to come home to dinner with them every night.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

At the beginning it felt like I was barely in Florence because of all the weekend trips, but near the end of the semester I was home more and got to go out and get to know the city a little bit better. I mostly just hung out with people from the SLC program, though.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I thought Florence was pretty safe as cities go. The buses stop running kind of early but I never had a problem getting home at night.

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)

Tuition and plane tickets aside, once I got there the only real expense I had each week was lunch every day and other than that I just spent money on fun stuff.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 40-60 euro
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You can drink the tap water so there's no need to buy bottled water like Italians do - I asked my host mom about it and she says she just likes the taste better! There are lots of places near school where you can get lunch for 2-4 euro or you can always go to the grocery school and buy cheap stuff for a picnic.


* 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? Intermediate 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 was in an Italian class before I went but even if you're not you can always watch Italian movies! And even if you don't speak any Italian before you get there everyone I knew picked up the basics pretty well.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • The traveling
  • Exploring Florence during classes
  • how small and friendly it was
* What could be improved?
  • less frantic pace
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It's not so difficult to budget living in Florence but it's a lot harder to budget if you're planning on traveling on your own during weekends or breaks - it's worth it but money really goes quicker than you expect!