Best experience of my life. January 26, 2021

By (Susquehanna University) - abroad from 05/15/2019 to 06/22/2019 with

Studio Arts College International (SACI): Florence - SACI in Florence, Summer

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I had never been out of the country before. This was the longest I had ever been away from my parents. I didn't know a single person who I would be going with before I arrived at the airport. Yet, I wasn't scared. I felt so prepared because of SACI and my home school, I was SO excited. It lived up to every expectation and it was the most worthwhile experience of my life. I learned so much... through my courses, through traveling, I learned about myself (I realized I am much more capable of things than I ever thought I could be), about living independently (away from family), about different cultures (my roommates went to college in the US but were originally from other countries), and so much more.

Review Photos

Studio Arts College International (SACI): Florence - SACI in Florence, Summer Photo Studio Arts College International (SACI): Florence - SACI in Florence, Summer Photo Studio Arts College International (SACI): Florence - SACI in Florence, Summer Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

My experience at SACI was SO hands-on and wonderful. I cannot recommend this experience enough. I learned so much about art history, design, Italian culture, and more, by wandering the city and region for inspiration, seeing history and rich culture right before my eyes. My courses were not difficult at all, however I learned so much because I was encouraged to become integrated with the culture and learn from a new perspective.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Program was very communicative, even planned a "group flight" so we didn't have to travel alone if we didn't want to, and greeted us at the airport, arranging taxis to our apartments. Made me feel very safe.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My apartment was RIGHT next to the Duomo. My jaw dropped when I arrived. Not all students are as lucky, though. The place was clean, had a full kitchen including a dishwasher, stove, oven, microwave, fridge and a washer, a nice bathroom and living room. Again, not all students are as lucky though as location and amenities vary. I also didn't know my roommates, location, or anything about the apartment until I arrived. I would have felt better knowing this info, but otherwise no complaints.

* Food:

Italian food is AMAZING. However, note that SACI doesn't have a "campus" like you may be used to. There is no cafeteria, you have to cook yourself in your apartment which means going grocery shopping. Make sure to bring a large re-useable bag because they charge for every plastic bag you use.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

As described before, VERY! To elaborate (in addition to the courses being very integrated with field trips and on-site research), SACI offered planned events with other students to do things like go to dinner, go to a cooking class, see an italian movie, meet with Italian students for "aperitivo", etc.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?


* Safety:

Felt very safe, just look out for pickpockets especially on transportation or when waiting on line somewhere. Didn't happen to me, but I witnessed it happen.

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

There is little to nothing I would change about this program. It was unforgettable as a learning experience, and I will carry it with my through the rest of my life.


* 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)

Easy! I had a set amount I wanted to spend through out my trip. I ended up spending a little more because I wanted to travel while I was there. Just save up and make sure you have a plan because it can be easy to get carried away once your there if you don't.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • Traveling
  • Cultural Integration
  • Hands-on learning
* What could be improved?
  • Equal amenities among apartments
  • More places to gather as a group
  • Food options (getting some sort of cafeteria)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Who I would be living with, where I'd be living, where to go grocery shopping, how to get cell service

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Art History

Course Department:
Instructor: Helen
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was the most memorable experience of my life. Every single class was spent traveling and learning about the very artworks that were stood right in front of us. We went to so many museums (including the Uffizi, Bargello, Academia), churches, towns and cities in the Tuscan region (Siena, Pisa, Lucca, Fiesole), as well as all over the city of Florence (we even climbed the dome!) - all for free (mostly) plus the professor served pretty much as a tour guide, it was AMAZING. We were assigned to keep a "diary"/journal to turn in at the end of the semester. Not only was this a way for me to take notes, but it also allowed me to reflect on my experience and I was even able to have it mailed back to me as a momento of my time abroad in Italy.
Credit Transfer Issues: No! Just make sure you have it all sorted out ahead of time with the Registrar.