Mandy Terbrueggen - 2014 Program Participant

Pitti Palace in Florence, Italy

Pitti Palace in Florence

What inspired you to apply for an international program? 

I had a strong desire to travel and wanted to do it in a setting where I could meet other people who shared the same enthusiasm of exploring the world as me.

Why did you choose your specific program? 

I decided to study abroad right after I graduated from college to add a unique characteristic to my resume, so I choose a month long program in Florence!

What did you like about Florence? 

Florence is an amazing city! Not too big that it is overwhelming and not too small that you get bored, but a perfect size with many things to do, see, and learn.

What surprised you most about Italy?

There was not one thing that surprised me most, everyday and every new place I went even if I was just walking down a back street in Florence it was always amazing and beautiful! 

Duomo, Milan, Italy

Duomo in Milan!

What makes ISA’s Florence program unique? 

The people who worked for ISA were very nice and attentive. They made you feel welcomed and comfortable in a new country.

In what ways did the ISA staff help you throughout your program?

The staff office was always open if you had questions, concerns, or wanted to sign up for a group trip. They did their best to assist you in anything you needed.

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently? 

I wish I would of done a whole semester in Florence and taken more courses at the university.

What was the hardest part about studying abroad?

The hardest part about studying abroad was buying foods from the market. I have a gluten allergy so I had to learn what to look for in Italian on the labels. Ended up turning out fine because Italy has a large selection of gluten free products. 

How difficult was it to communicate with locals?

It was not as difficult as I thought to communicate with the locals. I picked up the basics and a lot of Italians I interacted with daily knew the basics, if not more, of English. 

Describe a day in the life of your program. 

I took one course for the month I was there which was in the afternoons. I would go for a run and explore the city in the mornings or go to museums or gardens. Then I would go to class in the afternoons and on the weekends I would travel to a different city in Italy.

Leaning Tower of Pisa


What was your favorite thing to do outside the normal day-to-day schedule of your program? 

My favorite activity was to simply walk around Florence and go down new streets everyday learning as much as I could about the culture and atmosphere!

What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like about it?

I lived in a three bedroom, two bath apartment with five other girls. I really liked that I had five roommates, we bonded quickly and did a lot of things together.

How has studying abroad in Florence impacted you? 

I feel it has made me more open to new things, people, and experiences.

What is one thing you wish you would have known before studying abroad in Italy?

One thing I wish I would of known before studying abroad in Italy would be to have learned more about the culture and style of Florence and Italians in general. 

If you could study abroad again, where would you go?

If I could study abroad again I would love to go back to Italy and stay longer, or my second choice would be Ireland because I have Irish heritage. 

What do you feel the biggest benefit of studying abroad is?

The biggest benefit of studying abroad was getting to learn about a new culture in the best way possible, being immersed in it. 

Would you recommend ISA to other students?

Yes, I would absolutely recommend ISA to other students.