Game Changer Past Review

By (Hospitality Administration, University of Kentucky) - abroad from 09/01/2015 to 12/16/2015 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 a lot about another culture and how the people in Italy live. I learned to just jump into activities and traveling, and to trust myself enough to feel comfortable in those situations. The one thing I wish I would have done is volunteer.

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.

It was nice to have all of my classes taught by an Italian professor. Even though they taught in English, I feel like I learned more about their culture through class. Several of my classes had field trips to various parts in Italy, which I absolutely loved. The intensity wasn't as hard as I was expecting, however I learned enough outside of the classroom to cover for that.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Everyone working with SAI was WONDERFUL! They were always able to be contacted and welcomed students into their office for random stop bys. I never felt like I was forgotten about.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartment was older, however it had a lot of character. It had its problems, but nothing major when looked at in the big picture. I will never forget my Italian home.

* Food:

The school offered a meal plan at the student restaurant (which I worked at sometimes). The food was great and affordable from the student restaurant. Of course there were plenty of other options to eat from if desired.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

SAI and the FUA offered several opportunities to immerse oneself as much as one wanted. There were field trips, volunteer opportunities, and plenty of extracurricular activities offered.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

SAI went over this during orientation and were always available if something were to happen.

* Safety:

Florence is a very safe city as long as one is using common sense. It is of course a popular city, so being aware of your surroundings is obviously necessary.

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

I would absolutely do this again if I could. I would even go for a year. You do not realize how much you change throughout your time abroad.


* 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)

If I would have stuck to my budget, it would have worked out great. I ended up spending more money on traveling than originally planned.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I budgeted 100 euro on food a week. It was pretty easy to live minimally if you know how to cook and pack the right clothes
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I would advise to not spend a ton of money on food in the beginning. Don't think that you are on vacation for four months (AKA DON'T BUY GELATO EVERY DAY).


* 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

It was encouraged to take Italian since I was visiting their country. Italians are very friendly and loved the attempt of speaking their language.

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? Never took 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? Just jump into it. You'll never get better unless you try! Most of the time the native people will appreciate you trying to fit in. Make sure to practice everyday because it is easy to lose.

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?
  • The coordinators
  • location of my apartment
  • the weekly newsletters
* What could be improved?
  • Some people did not have the best apartments
  • recieving transcripts
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I would have known that it is hard to make local friends. You really have to put yourself out there to talk with Italians. I also wish I would have planned for more traveling.