Once in a lifetime opportunity! Past Review

By (Mount Holyoke College) - abroad from 01/21/2016 to 05/13/2016 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I improved my Italian. I was able to meet Americans from around the country AND local Italians.

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.

Not all too rigorous. The classes were pretty easy but very unique. Having art history classes in front of the art itself was really amazing experience. Also have Italian classes every day was really helpful especially with living with a host family.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Great! super helpful and always there for any questions.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I did a host family. It was one of the best decisions I made. You really get to understand a different culture and learn the language. There might have been minor issues but nothing that big. The program was really good at following up after the first 2 weeks and then throughout the program to make sure that we were ok with the families.

* Food:

Amazing! How could it not be

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

They had us do language partners which was really helpful and allowed students to meet locals and other Italians. I wish there had been more of this or had assigned us 1:1 partners, rather than groups.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

When I was sick (cold or stomach bug), the host family was great and I was able to receive care if need be through the school.

* Safety:

felt very safe in Siena.

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

I made some really great friendships and had some really amazing experiences. If I could go back and redo it I would do it all over again!


* 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 managed pretty well and only had problem with money at the very end of the program (last 2 weeks). Lunches could be cheap depending on what you bought but would recommend that if you want to travel (especially for spring break) have enough cash. I started with a budget of $4,000 for 5 months and ended up spending $3,000 but that was only cause I didn't go anywhere for spring break so I saved money.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I would round it out to be about $50 (if I didn't go away on weekends)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Use Airbnb (and split the cost with other students), take the train (make sure you can refund your ticket incase of train strike), Ryan Air/EasyJet (life savers for flights - no need to spend $ on expensive flights if its an hour flight), Travel early in the winter months (Feb-March) because its off-season so prices are cheaper!! (April gets busy and expensive), make plans in advance if you want to travel to other countries (spring break or long weekend) saves you money and prices are lower.


* 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 used Italian a lot but there were plenty of students you came in with no knowledge of it and learned really quickly. (BUT would recommend taking at least 1 semester of Italian before going - it really helps!)

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? Intro. 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? Take a Italian class before coming (just to know the basics). Use it when you can! Use it with the family

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

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?
  • Travel
  • Italian classes
  • People
* What could be improved?
  • Location of Host Families
  • Italian Partner Program
  • No evening classes (especially on Thursdays)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The right amount of money to bring, and what to pack (I ultimately ended up over packing the wrong clothes)