It exceeded my expectations-- which were pretty high Past Review

By (Environmental Studies and Economics, Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/29/2014 to 12/12/2014 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?
Being immersed in a language and culture was incredible. I loved being able to constantly practice the language and be slightly outside of my comfort zone.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was always clear and willing to help if there were issues. There was a mix of both English and Italian native speakers, so language was never a barrier either.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartments were well-kept and in a great location.

* Food:

Food was why I came to Perugia! Every meal I ate on the actual program was fantastic, and the experience of eating was enriched because I was studying the food. For meals that were not sponsored, I liked being able to cook for myself.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I really liked Perugia because unlike Florence or Rome, the city had few tourists and many students. I loved having the University for Foreigners close by, and I attended all of their "tandems" (opportunities for practicing Italian.) I liked living in the city as opposed to on a closed campus, and I enjoyed buying my groceries and performing other daily tasks that allowed to immerse myself in the culture. I did spend most of my time with the American students, however; maybe if I had lived with international or Italian students I could have immersed myself even more fully.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had an issue with healthcare, but it was addressed during orientation and I know a few students who became ill and were treated immediately.

* Safety:

I always felt safe in Perugia. During orientation, a local police officer gave a speech on safety, and stressed that Italy is rife with pickpocketers. I was always careful, and never had an issue with this or any other issues of 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)

I am very good at managing money, and I had been saving to study abroad for awhile so finances were not as much of an issue for me.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent about $1500-$2000 the entire semester, including travel in Europe.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save before you go, and don't be too stingy when you are there. Who knows when you will be back!


* 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

Learning Italian was my favorite part of the program. I attended both Umbra Tandems and the University for Foreigners Tandems. I attended office hours every week with my Italian professor, and frequented the local bookstore to read books in Italian.

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? I hadn't studied Italian formally, but I taught myself 101.
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Tandems were awesome! Office hours were great. Just reading signs and nutrition facts, and labels. There's nothing like being fully immersed.

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?
  • field trips & workshops
  • location (especially for learning Italian)
  • History of Food class
* What could be improved?
  • Business of Wine course
  • more non-American students (or planned integration with other schools)
  • bigger size
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The Business of Wine course was not executed exactly as it was advertised. I have spoken with the director, however, and I know other students and I have given this feedback, so I think he is working to improve this issue.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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:

History and Culture of Food

Course Department:
Instructor: Simon Young
Instruction Language:
Comments: This course was worth the entire study abroad experience. Simon is an incredibly engaging and witty professor. He is passionate about his subject, and really wants his students to make the most out of their experience in Italy. (He will also do everything in his power to make this happen.) The field trips and extra workshops were well planned and tied in seamlessly to what we studied in class.
Credit Transfer Issues: