Go South Past Review

By (European Cultural Studies, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/21/2015 to 05/16/2015 with

Siena School for Liberal Arts: Siena - Semester & Summer Programs

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
if I were studying art, Siena School could've been a good option, but for sustainability it was a sham. I learned to trust myself more and not take anyone too seriously. Essentially, I learned to be more self-reliant and independent.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

the sustainability program was fairly poor in educational value. the italian classes were incorrectly structured. there should've been an advanced class instead of a beginner and an intermediate/advance mix. creative writing was fantastic.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

it was alright. but when someone needed to be contacted or when assistance was needed for doctors visits or if changes were made, information was distributed last minute and help was not always available.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

i lived in the center, which was fantastic. but not having a choice to live with a host family was unfortunate. the house and my room were a bit dirty.

* Food:

my host family has an extremely unhealthy lifestyle and unfortunately, i had to partake in it. we ate yellow saucy rice every night. breakfast was often a rotten fruit.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

siena is a very closed-off city, socially. it's easy to get along with italian students from the south, but from siena, it is a rarity.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

i had almost no help going to the doctor. other students were sick and asked for help, also with no guidance and misinformation.

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? ~$20
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? go grocery shopping for lunches


* 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

everything we did was in english.

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? Italian 105
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? go to the south and make friends with Italians who don't speak any english

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?
  • creative writing teacher, Jeff
  • sustainability field trips
* What could be improved?
  • teaching
  • organization
  • host family selection process
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? there would be no farm to work on, the internship component would start only in late march/there wouldn't be time to really volunteer, the academics would be weak

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.'