Experiencing Italy Past Review

By (Elementary Education, Presbyterian College) for

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 myself and gained so much independence with traveling. I was able to become friends with people from all over my own country and from all over this world and I also really learned how truly small the globe is. I already have already had the travel bug my whole life and this experience only made me want to travel more.

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.

The classes were interesting and although there were not a lot of different classes offered, they were offered in various topics. The grading system was not consistent from class to class and varied by professor which is something to be expected in any college. Teaching methods were very different from my home institution because all of my professors were European and Europeans are traditionally more independent learners who are given more freedom in their work. The classes were very reasonable in the amount of work given, as most major assignments were given at the beginning of the semester with end of term due dates. If assignments were put off until the last minute creating a large work load, it was the fault of students not of the professors. The Italian classes did a very good job of spacing out quizzes and tests evenly throughout the semester which was very helpful.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff was absolutely wonderful and willing to help with anything that students needed. Even though there were over 100 students, the staff still knew everyone by name and were very social and approachable.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My apartment was very close to class and the main street in the city. I always felt very safe and very close to anything I needed.

* Food:

My apartment had the facilities to cook so a majority of meals were made there with my roommates and friends. The grocery stores in Italy are not as big as American ones, but the food is fresher which means the quality is better. There were plenty of places to eat out any time we wanted to and eating out you could spend as little or as much as you wanted to.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The events that the program put on like Tandem and Pizza Nights were great. Also the field trips that the classes had were a lot of fun and relevant to the classes.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never had any personal experiences with seeing a doctor, but accessing any pharmacy was very simple. The staff can go with you if you need them or can write down in Italian exactly what you need and a pharmacist can provide you with what you need. The town I lived in was very safe and I never felt like I was in danger. But also, I never walked around at night by myself and always was very observant and conscious of my surroundings. Like anywhere, I think you just have to be careful and make wise decisions.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? The amount I spent varied because sometimes I would go out to eat and sometimes I wouldn't. Also, the amount of money spent changed based on when I traveled and when I shopped. Cooking in your apartment with friends can be really cost efficient.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I was aware of just about everything I spent money on.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? none.
Language acquisition improvement?

The town was small so most locals that were not students did not speak much English. The school was very helpful with language acquisition starting from day one when there was an entire week devoted to an intensive Italian language week. The week taught us basics about apartment living, grocery shopping, train riding, etc. It was very helpful. The school also provided a program called "Tandem" often for Italian students and English students to practice their language skills with each other.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

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

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I would definitely encourage anyone to attend the Umbra Institute's study abroad program in Perugia. I had a once in a lifetime experience and loved it. It is a truly unique place. I am glad I didn't study in a city like Rome or Florence that is constantly flocked with tourists and I couldn't be happier. The town has so much character.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Elementary Italian

Course Department: Italian 101
Instructor: Alessandra
Instruction Language: English/Italian
Comments: Alessandra was a wonderful teacher. I had her during the regular semester and during the intensive language week and she was great. I think that she really cared about her students and was very knowledgeable.
Credit Transfer Issues: No, this class is an elective credit at my home institution because my school does not offer Italian.
Course Name/Rating:

Human Devleopment in Culture

Course Department: Psychology
Instructor: Naiomh O'Connor
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was very interesting, but I found it a little scattered. I wish that the class had not been so much of an overview of so many different types of Psychology, it was a lot to take in during a very short amount of time. She was such a sweet person and cared so much about all of her students. It is a challenging class with very few assignments that count for a lot of your grade, but it is worthwhile and interesting.
Credit Transfer Issues: No problems.
Course Name/Rating:

Contemporary Italy: Culture and Society

Course Department: SOIT 360
Instructor: Antonella Valoroso
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Very enjoyable course that covered a lot of information that was useful. The only wish I have is that there was some sort of consistent grading rubric for her class. Over all, she is very knowledgeable about everything she taught about. I would definitely recommend this class.
Credit Transfer Issues: No problems.
Course Name/Rating:

The History and Culture of Food in Italy

Course Department:
Instructor: Simon Young
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was so wonderful. I enjoyed Simon probably even more than I enjoyed the content of the class. He cared so much about all of his students and was willing to do anything to help them.
Credit Transfer Issues: No problems.