Horrid July 25, 2019

By (University of South Florida) - abroad from 06/17/2019 to 08/02/2019 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I have worked in Italy before. Now I know that Italian culture is actually what I learned in the past and not isolated. Things go very slow, it is next to impossible to get anyone to do anything, expect a fight if you apply pressure to have things done and expect a retaliation at the first possible moment in the future. Read the book "Italian Ways".

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The instructors USF sends for the science courses are the worst. They are more interested in their own free vacations than on their ability to teach. The classes FUA provides are essentially a joke. Wine tasting? Hiking around town? Students will also be given mandatory shifts to work for free in the money making shops that the school runs to sell services to the public.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

If I could give a zero, I would. FUA administration will only act if you make a lot of noise & back them into a corner. Then, they will come out clawing so they can be right at any cost. Don't expect the leadership to be anything but like that of a profitable company feeding off teenagers. They put in the least effort possible.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My housing was disgusting. Again, deserving of zero stars. Semen stains on furniture from last tennants. All the dirt from last tennants. It looked like a mold bomb exploded in the bathroom. Broken appliances, no racks in the oven, etc... The Housing Student Life office actually argued that the apt was "clean to their standards." They crammed 6 girls into my apartment. It was horrible. When I complained about noise, the administration then turned on me.

* Food:

Americans will find the food in Italy bland after the 2nd week of gorging on prosciutto & gelato. Food in Italy has zero salt & nearly zero spices. Very expensive

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Florence is 100% a tourist town. Imagine tourists coming to Downtown Orlando for 8 weeks & thinking that they are learning real American culture. There are more people in Florence that speak English than Italian. Everything is catered to the tourists - everything

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had the flu and I could see a doctor. However two other girls had serious problems requiring the emergency room. On both occassions, an FUA student life advisor went with each girl. The reports from both girls is that the Student Life person DID NOT want to be there, complained about being there, made the girls feel bad about being there & made the situation worse for them. One girl even started crying and this only made the student life person mad and she started yelling at the girl. The 1st girl had an allergic reaction to food & broke out in hives all over her body. The student life adv avoided going to ER until I insisted repeatedly. The 2nd girl broke her foot and nobody from student life would even help her locate a wheelchair or anything at all. Mind you, zero classroom buildings have elevators, but all have long stairs.

* Safety:

It is safe, if you don't go looking for trouble

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I would not choose FUA. Perhaps I would give another credible University in Florence, because there are credible Universities I. Florence, but FUA is not. Don't let the "U" in the name fool you. It is a business and nothing but a business for making money from study abroad adolescents.

Finances

* 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)

Costs are more like 100 euro per day for food, drinks, necessities. It is very expensive because Florence is a tourist town & you are a captive audience

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 700 euro
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Find the 1euro stores as soon as you unpack. Buy everything you can there. Conad & Carefour are grocery stores, but anything other than food will have crazy high prices. Use the 1 euro store

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Renting a bike & riding
  • Art/Architecture
  • Cheap trips through travel agencies
* What could be improved?
  • Use a credible University to host USF classes
  • More housing oversight by USF
  • Better roomate matching
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That I would be given a bedroom the size if a jail cell and crammed into an apartment with 5 other girls.

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.