Absolutely the most enjoyable experience of my life! Past Review

By (University of South Florida) - abroad from 05/15/2013 to 06/22/2014 with

University of South Florida: Florence - Florence University of the Arts

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that I can survive on my own without much help in a foreign country that speaks a language that I knew very little about. I'd say that's pretty impressive. The experience was definitely worthwhile

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.

Absolutely amazing. The classes were fun and engaging.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartment was great. There were a lot of mosquitoes though. Keep all doors and windows closed at night and buy those plug-ins to keep the bugs away and you'll be fine.

* Food:

If you mean taste the food was delicious! It took a little time to get used to going to the market to get supplies, but it became easy after a while.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I mean I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb, but as far as integration goes, you can't do much better than being thrown into the middle of Florence, Italy.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Not Applicable

* Safety:

I felt safe. I recommend having a wallet that you can strap over your shoulder for added security instead of just carrying it around in your pocket. You can hide it underneath your shirt.

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)

Money wasn't really one of my prime concerns. I had about $2k to spend in my bank account when I left. I probably spend around $1000 total on food, trips, and souvenirs over the 6 week period so it was kinda expensive. Again though, I wasn't too concerned about money, I just wanted to experience everything I could and I regret absolutely nothing.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Food and small expenses were probably about $100 a week. That being said, I don't really know how to cook so I went to restaurants frequently. If you know how to cook you can save more money than I did.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Knowing how to cook is a great advantage to saving money because restaurants can be pretty expensive. That's probably the best advice I can give.


* 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

The best way to immerse yourself in the culture is to attempt to learn the language. I took an Italian 1 course while I was there and it was loads of fun. I was very timid about trying to speak to people, but it was very helpful.

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? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? nothing really
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? For extreme beginners, try not to worry too much about conjugations while speaking (writing is another story, pay very close attention to conjugations while writing because then you will be able to read Italian signs!). Sometimes it is better to just know some key words and phrases that people will understand even if you don't say them perfectly right.

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?
  • Exploring Florence with friends (also the gelato, lots and lots of gelato)
  • Going on trips to different cities in Italy, including Pisa, Rome, Venice, Pompeii, Mt. Vesuvius, and more!
  • Going to the museums, most notably the Boboli Gardens! It is so beautiful in there.
* What could be improved?
  • Not sure..
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how to use the train system ahead of time.

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 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!