Prepare for Learning Experience of a Lifetime Past Review

By (Lebanon Valley College) - abroad from 08/28/2014 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?
My life completely changed due to my experience abroad. Once I graduated college, I permanently moved out of my home town, which I would not have done had I not studied abroad. I actually just finished my certification to teach English so that I can move back overseas in a few short months. Through my experience abroad, I learned the true meaning of independence and having patience when things don't go as expected. I am also much more open-minded and aware of what is going on in the world. I keep up with the world news much more than I used to. I am also aware that stories that are reported on in the news can be much more complex and complicated than they are made out to be. I learned that in America we tend to live in our own little bubble and don't know enough about factual world news. I could keep going on and on about how I changed in my time abroad. It wasn't all rainbows and butterflies, but that's what makes you learn more. The entire experience, both the good and the bad, was entirely worth while.

Review Photos

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

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I loved the classes that I had. I found the Italian language course to be challenging and at times frustrating, but that is what is meant to happen when immersing yourself in a new language. My other classes all dealt with learning an aspect of Italian culture. I found this to be so rewarding because I was able to learn a lot about the country I called home for several months.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Any time I needed assistance with changing classes or making sure credits were squared away, Julie was always there to help. She always answered my questions clearly and promptly.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

There were a few things about the apartment that caused problems (namely a broken washer), but that wasn't at fault of the Institute. Whenever I called the landlord about problems with the apartment he would always send someone to fix it. There was also a noisy hostel located underneath our apartment but our landlord would tell us that if the noise got out of hand we could always call him and he would handle it.

* Food:

Authentic Italian food. Need I say more?

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The only reason why I wasn't more integrated with the local culture was the fault of my own. I didn't go to Tandem language exchanges like I wish I would have, nor did I get involved with any extra projects. There was plenty of opportunities to get more involved. If I could go back and do it again, that would definitely be something that I would change.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no health issues while in Italy. I just know that they required you to have a physical and be up to date on your shots before you went over, which I think is a good idea for preventative measures.

* Safety:

They weren't kidding when they said that Italian men are a little much. There were only a few incidents where I felt at unease, but that was because I was by myself. My advice is, especially as a woman, to always travel with someone. This isn't as necessary during the day, but particularly at night.

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

Being in Perugia versus a larger city like Rome or Florence I think was so beneficial. You are more immersed in the language and the culture this way. I've met people who studied in those cities and they can't speak a lick of Italian. Being at an American institute also helped with the immersion. It was my first time out of the US and I did feel some homesickness. However, having the support of other American students who were going through the same thing made the adjustment easier that if I were to have been alone.


* 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 spent too much money while I was in Italy. But again, that was through fault on my own. I spent too much on clothes and items. If I would have stuck with my budget with extra expenses, I definitely think I would have been fine. Living in a smaller city (in comparison to Florence or Rome) definitely made necessities like toiletries and food more affordable.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $120-$200 - higher end for weeks that I was traveling a lot
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? As tempting as it is, don't spend too much money on clothes and other souvenirs! Limit yourself on souvenirs and take lots of pictures instead. Don't skimp on the food though - you are living in a country with some of the best food in the world. Allow yourself to indulge on a delicious meal.


* 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

Especially during the first week/immersion week. I took the intensive course so I had more hours per week of Italian than the regular class. We were not supposed to use English in the classroom either, even to ask a question. Only if we were really stuck could we use English.

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? Intensive Intermediate Italian
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? Go out and speak! Don't be afraid to mess up, Italians will correct you if need be. They appreciate that you are trying. Some people will speak English with you if they know it though, but still try to use Italian. Also, go to Tandem. I didn't and I wish I would have. I think I would have gotten even further on my language skills if I would have gone.

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?
  • Location
  • Food
  • The opportunities for involvement
* What could be improved?
  • Handling of issues with apartments
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I honestly can't think of anything - I asked so many questions before going to Italy that I think I was as prepared as I could have been.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.