A year in Macerata Past Review

By (English, University of Oregon) for

University of Macerata: Macerata - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Was my study abroad experience worthwhile? Yes yes yes and YES! The program was not perfect and I have some beefs with the way the administration was set up, both in Italy and at my university, but I had such an amazing time, met amazing people, saw amazing things... How many people can say they've eaten lunch in the ruins of a Roman emperor's palace, or went to Venice during Carnevale? I don't even know how to describe what I've gained. All I can say is I would recommend studying abroad to anyone, hands down. There are certain things that I think can only be gained by living abroad--acceptance of other cultures, flexibility when things don't go your way (when you travel, everything NEVER goes the way it's planned), etc.

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 quality of the classes varied quite a bit. I liked all the teachers, but some taught in the very traditional Italian manner, lecturing in a monotone voice for the hour and a half class with little or no time to answer questions and no student involvement whatsoever. However, I had some great teachers there, especially my Italian teacher the second semester. She was incredibly patient and pushed me to improve as much as possible without being harsh.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The head administrator was very knowledgeable about the history of the country. However, I felt that he sometimes let his personal feelings get in the way of his job. He always treated me quite well and was warm and welcoming to many students, but he was disrespectful to others he didn't like. He also had a lot of personal issues going on the first semester I was there, when his behavior was the worst, which I have sympathy for but he should have been able to separate his personal life and feelings from his role as an educator.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Unfortunately, all the Italians thought we had the swine flu, so we were unable to live with host families or Italian students the year I was there. However, the apartment I shared with two other girls was quite nice and right outside the city walls, an easy 10 minute walk to the school (uphill but that's impossible to avoid in a hill town, and it's a good workout every morning!). All the cooking ware, bedding, sheets, etc were provided, as well as a washing machine and drying racks.

* Food:

It's Italy--of course the food was great! We had meals out every once in a while, sponsored by the program, and they always involved the full 3 or so course, dessert, and wine. Vegetarian options were not plentiful, especially when we ate as a group because we all at the same thing, so vegetarians were offered usually pasta with plain tomato sauce, salad, and an omelet or a cheese plate. However, it was quite easy to cook vegetarian at home. They have little vegetable shops everywhere. And if you ate out by yourself or grabbed a slice of pizza there are plenty of options, vegetarian or otherwise. Pizzeria del Corso has great pizza and the owner is very friendly, though he'll probably tease you about your Italian.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I wish there had been more opportunities to mingle with the local students, as all our classes were separate. However, we WERE practically the only Americans living in a small city, so those who tried made plenty of Italian friends. All the field trips are amazing, though sometimes listening to the administrator ramble on and on detracted from the experience.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The city is pretty safe, but on occasion girls were followed for a few blocks after coming out of bars. If you're not comfortable, don't be afraid to ask someone to walk you home. I never had that problem and I have experience with martial arts so I never felt uncomfortable walking by myself, even at 3 or 4 in the morning.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

I had no problem because I had studied 2 years of Italian before coming, but although the program doesn't have a language requirement, it was very difficult for students who spoke no Italian on arrival. Very few of the locals spoke English, and often they were unwilling too even if they did.

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

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Be flexible! Not everything goes as planned. Be prepared for grumpy teachers but just know that the experience is still amazing and don't let them get to you! The town is amazing, even if the people aren't always the most friendly (it's a rather reserved town, so it just takes them time to get used to you--try to use your Italian as much as you can and they will quickly warm to you). Try and learn at least a little Italian before you come, as very few of the locals will speak English. Also, this program is not like many others, in that you don't have 3-day weekends every week, classes are sometimes hard, and attendance IS mandatory. If you're planning to study abroad just as a base to travel, this is not the right program. However, if you want to really live in an authentic Italian town and travel on occasion, this is it!