There is no way I could possibly sum up this experience in one line... Past Review

By (ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE/LETTERS., Presbyterian College) - abroad from 01/06/2012 to 04/27/2012 with

Umbra Institute: Perugia - Direct Enrollment in Semester, Summer or Academic Year Programs

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about Italy and Europe in general. I would say that I gained a lot of knowledge about the world in general by stepping outside of my bubble and gaining a new perspective. In addition, I learned a lot about of myself: my character, my strengths and weaknesses, etc. Words cannot express how beneficial study abroad was to various aspects of my life.

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.

Classes were much easier than the ones at my home institute, which allowed me to get more involved with other activities and to travel in my free time. The courses were pretty interesting, and all of the professors were great. Italian was required for all students, which was extremely helpful as I found myself speaking the language on a daily basis with literally no prior knowledge of it.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Extremely helpful staff and administration! They were great about responding to emails and answering all of my questions prior to departure, and they held many events to help all students get acquainted with their new homes in Italy. I had one major incident during my travels abroad, and the staff was extremely helpful and accomadating; I would not have been able recover from this incident if it wasn't for their help and aid.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

Can't beat Italian food!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

One of the best parts of this experience was getting to meet a diverse group of people from all around the globe. There are several universities nearby for international students, so it was very easy to make friends with students from all around the world. It was really cool to not only become friends with American students from different backgrounds, but from students of different nationalities as well. The locals were also very friendly, and we quickly began to know and recognize our neighbors in Perugia.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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)

This all comes down to personal preferene. For me, I was willing to spend my money on travel; however, I did have a strict budget. Knowing that I wanted to travel as much as possible (and travel costs add up when you figure in food, train tickets, plane tickets, hostels, etc) I made major cut backs in other areas: I cooked a lot of pasta (very cheap at the local stores) instead of going out to eat, I did not do much shopping or buy many souvenirs, etc. Overall, I think I got a lot out of my study abroad experience on a very tight budget.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Figure out your priorities early on: do you want to spend more many traveling? Tasting the best foods? Buying souvenirs for home? Going out on the weekends? Decide what you think will make you the happiest (do not let your friends influence you), and make yourself a monthly/weekly budget and stick to it!


* 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? None
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? No Italian prior to departure
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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
* 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Ease of travel
  • The people I met: American students, international students, faculty & stuff, locals, etc.
  • The FOOD!!
* What could be improved?
  • Offer a bigger variety of classes?
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Honestly, I wish I would have taken the time to be a more global citizen. I wish I would have shown interest in more than just my own environment and setting. I wish that I would have learned more about the history and background of the countries which I visited. And I wish I would have known some Italian!