An exploration of the history, culture and art of Italy Past Review

By (Berea College) - abroad from 08/26/2016 to 12/17/2016 with

Study Abroad Programs in Italy

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience abroad was definitely worthwhile. I think I learned a lot about myself and also about the world around me. I immersed myself in the art and culture of Florence and Italy and gained a greater knowledge and appreciation for its history, lifestyle and art. I loved being able to travel in Europe and experience things which I hadn't before.

Review Photos

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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 classes were not rigorous save for one of them. However, it was nice to not have to spend so much time on studies while abroad. Because of the more relaxed curriculum, I felt I was able to travel more and concentrate on exploring the country of Italy.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartments were adequate but the heating and hot water regularly stopped working and the whole apartment was dingy and unwelcoming.

* Food:

Had to provide all of my food myself, which I loved.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

SRISA did not actively encourage cultural integration so the responsibility fell to the individual. In my case, I found it difficult to integrate with local Italian people but felt very integrated into the Italian lifestyle and culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any health care issues and so am unable to comment about how effectively health care issues were dealt with.

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe in Florence, and never found myself in an unsafe situation. However, I did get pick-pocketed in Paris. I suggest always paying attention to your belongings and securing them in everyway possible.

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

I liked the program, but it was too small. That meant that if you didn't like your fellow classmates and roommates, you had no one to turn to. It was difficult to find and make Italian friends and given the opportunity, I would have stayed with a host family and gone to a school with Italian students as well as other international students. I didn't realize that it would be so difficult to connect in a meaningful way with local Italians and although I had many encounters with local people, making lasting friendships was much harder because our school was solely for American students. I would have appreciated an environment with a greater overlap of cultures and ethnic diversity.


* 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 definitely had to budget and make sure I wasn't overspending, but I managed to do everything I wanted to on the budget I was given including travel and going out to eat.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Around $120 but this varied hugely week to week based on travel. I also spent more at the beginning, before I had settled into a routine.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Budget exactly what you have to spend on both food and personal expenses. Keep a separate account of each of these things to make sure you aren't going over your limit. Also, shop as much as possible at the local markets. The produce is cheaper and better than in the stores.


* 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 had Italian classes but they only taught grammar and completely ignored vocabulary altogether. By the end of the semester I could conjugate in 7 different tenses, but couldn't even string a basic sentence together.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? French 310, but no Italian
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Go to the markets and order everything you need in Italian. People may try to only speak English to you, so if you are a serious language learner, pretend you don't speak English and only use Italian.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The classes
  • The teachers
  • Art emphasis
* What could be improved?
  • Integration with Italian students
  • International students from a wider range of ethnicities
  • Living arrangements
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That it was solely for American students and that the language program was a bit of a joke.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Renaissance Art History

Course Department: Art
Instructor: Tiziana Landra
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course was challenging but well worth it. Each week we met at a church or museum to visit the artworks we studied in person. It was an amazing experience and really helped me connect to the art and culture of Florence both past and present.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Food as Culture

Course Department:
Instructor: Tina Fallani
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was so much fun. We met at the market to buy our ingredients then continued on to Tina's house to make absolutely fabulous meals. I learned a lot about cooking and also had an amazing time talking to Tina who is a wonderful teacher.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Fashion Design and Contruction

Course Department: Fashion
Instructor: Enrica Guidardo
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class covered all the basic elements of fashion. We learned how to design and render fashion garments in 2D, drape and create our own designs in 3D and finally cut and sew our garments together. We also had a fashion show at the end of the year to showcase our work. It was a great course where I learned things that will prove useful for any type of sewing/design work I wish to do in the future.
Credit Transfer Issues: