All roads lead to Rome, or at least they should! August 07, 2015

By (Fashion Merchandising Management, Product Development, Business, SUNY - Fashion Institute of Technology) - abroad from 01/20/2015 to 05/12/2015 with

The American University of Rome: Rome - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was one of the most worthwhile experiences I have had in my life thus far. I learned so much; not only about myself, but about life in general. Its ups and downs, growth, friendship, and most of all, the beauty of the world that extends beyond your own hometown.

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.

The courses that I was enrolled in were definitely challenging, but also very interesting. I took mainly business courses, and their program is strong and provides for excellent education in every subject matter. We also did many exciting excursions in most of my classes to get out into the wonderful city of Rome or even beyond Rome into different regions such as Umbria.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Over the time I was there, I got to know administration well - especially the Student Life staff. Edgar always provided help when needed, Chiara and Kathy were enthusiastic about every single thing AUR had to offer, Stefano (the Dean) was exceptional in providing me with any help or solving any issue. Of course I cannot forget Vittorio - who brightened every day! I could go on about every single person in administration and not just Student Life, but that would definitely exceed this limit.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My apartment was beautiful! It had just been redone before we moved in. I lived with 5 other girls and it was great. Very spacious, clean, and they provided what I needed. Also- Cleaning service every week. What a bonus!

* Food:

What's not to love about the food? It's ITALY!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It is hard to be completely integrated with local culture, as an American coming for only 5 months. But the truth is, you're as integrated as you try to be. So by putting in the effort to meet locals, learn the language, and go to any events or places out in the city- your level of integration is up to you!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The healthcare in Italy (although very different from American healthcare) was good at times, and bad at others. However, the home program is there to help when needed. There is a doctor on campus, but unfortunately he does not have good hours and there is a bit of a language barrier. (As expected.)

* Safety:

Overall I felt safe, just be smart, and be aware of your surroundings.

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

Finances

* 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)

It is not easy, but that is what comes with the territory of being a student. You just need to learn to budget, spend money on the important things, but still have fun. Italy is not extremely expensive so just try to make the most of your money.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Each week, I probably spent about $25 on groceries, $30 on dining out, and maybe $20 on other activities. So around $75. But that is the high end- I would try to cook at home a lot, which would in turn save me a lot of money!
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook at home, buy as much as you can from local markets, book hostels and trips in advance, and just plan ahead!

Language

* 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

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? 100
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Learn what you can before you go. Invest in apps that help you learn. While there, practice every day, try to speak in Italian to your professors when allowed, and try to talk to locals out and about in Italian. It helps tremendously just to do it!

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

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Location
  • Students/Staff
  • Food
* What could be improved?
  • Language Barrier between Professor & Student
  • Campus Doctor hours
  • an even more intense italian language class
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Do not overpack take lots of pictures (but still take time to appreciate everything with your own view and not just the lens) talk to everyone, and most of all - stay as long as possible!