Siena: Once Won't Feel Like Enough Past Review

By (Modern Language and Culture, Kennesaw State University) for

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The Siena program was a once and a lifetime experience. I learned more in the few weeks that I was there than I did in the several semesters of Italian language/culture courses that I took at my home university. I can't wait to go back someday.

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload was very reasonable. We had classes in the morning and then in the afternoon with a break in the middle for lunch and a little bit of exploring. We usually had homework, but not so much that we were unable to enjoy the city. The classes themselves were very interactive which I enjoyed. There was an emphasis on speaking as well as reading and grammar, so that we were given the opportunity to practice what we were learning. We had a few small writing assignments and a test at the end of the semester.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program administration was very helpful. They were knowledgeable and friendly. They did an amazing job introducing us to the city, and were always open to answering any questions that we might have.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The time I spent with my house mother was invaluable. She was very welcoming. I didn't feel uncomfortable at any point staying in her home. Our conversations over dinner were a great way for me to practice my Italian, and staying with someone from the city made me feel more connected to the culture.

* Food:

Our host families provided our breakfast and dinners, although as long as we gave our host families advance notice, we were able to dine out. It was Italy. The food was never disappointing. I would recommend exploring and trying different restaurants. The open atmospheres of the restaurants in the Campo are nice, but usually tend to be more expensive. The Kopa Kabana is a good spot to stop for gelato.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We were there while the city was preparing for the Palio. I would have liked to have stayed for it, but was unable to. I would definitely recommend anyone that was interested in this program look into trying to stay over in order to attend. However, we were able to view several events and traditions that lead up to the Palio. It was fascinating to learn about the history of the event and to see how it has been preserved through the years.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

While I would suggest always using good judgment when traveling (being aware of your surroundings, traveling with a friend, etc.), I never had a moment when I felt that my safety was at risk in Siena. Regarding health issues, due to the change in environment, I battled my allergies for most of the trip, so carrying allergy medicine might not be a bad idea. However, there are several pharmacies in Siena, and if you ask, someone from the school is more than happy to go with you and help translate any symptoms you might have to a pharmacist. Medicine in Italy tends to be more affordable than in the States.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

We were constantly surrounded by the Italian language. Our professors and the staff spoke Italian, and the majority spoke English as well. We received weekly instruction in Italian language/grammar and culture (weekends were available for travel). We stayed with Italian host families. Most of the locals we met were very friendly, and willing to speak with us. However, if needed, English was available. Bilingual student liaisons were available to help with transitioning into the Italian culture.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Small classes
  • Friendly and knowledgeable staff
  • Host families
* What could be improved?
  • More reliable internet connections.