Come to SSLA. It's the best study abroad program for Italy. Past Review

By (Geology, Carleton College) for

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It, like all my experiences, just added to my learning about life and the world.

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.

I am taking completely different classes than what I am used to. The art classes I have taken seem to be a fair amount of work and I have enjoyed doing the work for them. The art history class has many excursions to give a more hands on experience and has a weekly quiz so you know what you should be focusing on. The Italian language and culture classes have been essential in getting acclamated to the country. They have all had enough work to consider it a legitimate class but not too much that you can't take time to travel around the country.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They are all very helpful though it is somewhat expensive. It is comforting to see how connected the school is with the host families. There were times when it was a little disorganized, but part of it is the unpredictability of the Italian way rather than the fault of the administrators.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I am treated very well and have almost no complaints. The one thing is it is kind of far from the city center and dealing with the bus system is very exasperating, but it can't really be helped.

* Food:

The food is terrific pretty much anywhere. I do think it would be hard for people with celiac disease or gluten allergies, though.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We took a trip to a castle and stayed overnight. In the morning we had a pasta making demonstration. It was the best weekend so far.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Siena is a pretty safe city. I would just not recommend being alone late 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 20€ for lunch I would buy for the week and maybe eating out once.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Trying to visit other countries can be really expensive. Always check with Ryanair.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I lived with a host family that only spoke Italian and it was necessary to have at least a basic knowledge to get by in the city. At the school it was not necessary except in Italian class. There are also language partners available for those who really want to improve. I went in knowing no Italian and was able to make myself understood, and my Italian has developed rapidly since I arrived.

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

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Everything
* What could be improved?
  • A little more organization
  • Cost less
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? A small school person looking for a city they can really get to know and becoming friends with people with similar interests that they would never have met otherwise.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Book Art

Course Department: Fine Arts
Instructor: Jennifer Storey
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class is fantastic. It is a small class so it's easy to stay on track. It is very peaceful and you learn how to actually make books which is very nifty.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Art and Life of the Ancient Etruscans

Course Department: Art History
Instructor: Dr. Alexandra Carpino
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The teacher is very knowledgeable of the Etruscans and it is very nice being able to see the pieces you are studying. You also get to learn about an ancient culture and people besides learning the artistic aspect.
Credit Transfer Issues:
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Course Department: Fine Arts
Instructor: Jackie
Instruction Language: English
Comments: You learn a lot about what makes a good photograph and how to use manual, film cameras and a darkroom. It is also a small class so you can get enough attention from the teacher.
Credit Transfer Issues: